Fraternity, My Indecisive Ass, and Activity Tiers

Spurred by old and new friends he met last quarter and during the summer, the Foolish Bubbul has half-heartedly embarked on the journey to join a frat. But now that he has been to all the rush events and received a bid, his commitment to the road ahead gets tested and his resolve starts to waver. Let’s help him make a decision.

I don’t like indecisiveness. I feel like I’m floating around without a solid opinion, worried about trivial things that wouldn’t matter in the big picture, and constantly consulting others for advice and approval… I hate every part of it. But as a more introspective person I realized that I can learn a lot about myself from moments that make me indecisive.

One of the first things I tend to do when I struggle to make a decision is to create a pro cons list. Charles Darwin famously created one of these before he decided to propose to his cousin, and they were happily married 6 months later with 10 kids on the way. So let’s do that.

Decision at hand: whether or not to accept the bid and start the pledging process for this frat.

Background Info:

  • Fraternities are selective groups of male students who get together and focus on forming bonds, having fun (especially with alcohol), and raising money for community service. It goes without saying that different fraternities could have very different cultures, depending on the leaders of each frat and what new members they decide to let in.
  • The recruitment process starts with events that everyone can go to, then the frat conducts interviews with a subset of people that went, and gives out bids (invitation to start pledging) to a subset of that. Once you sign the bid, the pledging process begins.
  • The pledging process is 6 weeks long, which roughly takes 3-5 hours a week, and consists of learning the history and pledging to the values of the frat, attending bonding events with the actives and my class, and even some menial random work. The pledging director leads all of these activities, and you could still be dropped from the process if he so decides.

Pros of committing to the pledging process 

  • I will definitely get closer to people in the frat
  • Will gain a network of people all across the nation who are also in the frat
  • Will be invited to go to parties and have friends to do stuff with over the weekend
  • If I don’t do it I will never have the opportunity to join Greek life again
  • Gets me out of my comfort zone
  • Trains my social skill

Cons of pledging

  • Will take up time (roughly 3-5 hours a week)
  • I have slight imposter syndrome in respect to this
  • Will definitely end up drinking more alcohol compared to if I don’t pledge
  • Grandparents will definitely not approve
  • Kind of awkward to tell friends about this decision

The next step to do this is to create split personalities and rebuttal each bullet point that I just created. But before I do that, I need to reassess the things I care about and what kind of person I want to be so my rebuttals can be based on those.

I am generally a pretty conflict-avoidant person, so I’m often very eager to take on lots of things and have a tendency to say yes more than I say no. Because of that, I need to take extra care that important decisions I make are for the benefit of myself, and not other people. The worst possible thing I could do, and I have done this quite often, is commit to something that I know I don’t want to, but did so because of others. But this is tricky, because things I don’t want to do can be beneficial to me, so I just have to take a step back and look at this decision from a wider angle.

My top priority is of course my physical and mental health. Second is my bond with family and close friends. And then probably my dreams and aspirations. My goals are kind of varied and change a lot, but currently it’s finishing up all my side projects, getting back into wrestling, training for my last ICPC competition this year, and working on my social anxiety.

And now for the rebuttal process.

Ok it seems like my two people have come to an agreement to list out all the things that I’m doing right now, and then go from there. So here:

Things I really like doing:

  • learning wrestling or BJJ
  • working on my personal projects
  • reading and writing more

Things that I want to do:

  • classes and tutoring
  • ICPC
  • improv
  • getting stronger
  • that project I’m leading in the hardware club
  • dancing I guess, but it can be socially exhausting too

Things I’m kind of ok with doing and ok with not doing:

  • research meeting
  • other activities of the hardware club
  • pledging for this frat? it goes here because I’m so indecisive about it right?
  • watching anime, youtube, or Netflix

Hm. It seems like I’m not nearly spending enough time doing things I really like doing. I’m spending most of my time in the bottom 2 categories. That’s kind of alarming. 

After these 6 weeks I won’t have to worry about my time commitment to the frat as much anymore. And the social connections and experiences to gain could be pretty valuable. It should be fine as long as I keep this a low priority thing in my list of things to do?

Well, thanks for coming to the panel. It seems like I reached my decision, which is to spend less time on the lower tier activities that I actually don’t enjoy as much as the upper ones. Let’s say, less than half of all time should be spent on those. If I catch myself spending more than half of my free time doing low tier activities, that should be the cue to drop some of them. And I’ll probably start with dropping my commitment to the frat. In other words, I guess no more anime until I finish my pledging process? What a weird conclusion to come to.

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