So, let’s do this first, Lessons I learned in 10 years as an Alpha. If you have time, stick around and read the rest of the blog. I typed this last, and I’m moving it to the top because I care about you not caring about my life. I get it.
1st Year: You’re about to break out of your Shell, kid. Do it by yourself! Do it afraid. Do it with clammy palms. Do it with a sweaty shirt (wear dark colors). The sun comes up every morning without fail, no matter how dark the night was. Don’t ever not do it because of fear.
2nd Year: You don’t have to be everybody’s everything. But you don’t have to do less because society says and is comfortable with doing less. Do you because you are capable of doing exceedingly above. College days swiftly pass, so give it everything you have.
3rd: Changing your external environment is an excellent catalyst for changing your internal one. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith to get what you want, a planned and calculated leap of faith. New friends sometimes become your best friends. Phoenix’s summers are as advertised. “It’S A dRY hEaT, tHOuGh.” Shut up.
4th: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Sometimes you can’t control where life takes you, but you can always enjoy the scenery along the way, scenery being mountains… in Denver.
5th: Yes, you’re still in Denver. You are not stuck. You are planted. Bloom here. Grow here. Solitude is good for the soul. God wants you more than anything you can offer. But he is accepting sacrifices. What would you be willing to give up? Alpha?
6th: Master your space. If you want to secure your future, you’re going to have to be intentional. Failure is a fantastic teacher, but only if you’re an amazing learner. Write it down on paper. God has a plan for you. A U-Haul pulling an Impala is really slow, but you can get over 70 mph going downhill. Don’t do that though. Moving forward to somewhere you’ve already been is not the same as taking backward steps.
7th: Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do to leave the places you don’t want to be. The career ladder is actually more like a career rope. How strong are you? You should probably join a grad chapter.
8th: You have a voice; use it! You have a purpose; find it! The things that you fear the most are secretly the things you want the most. Throw it back to Year 1: Do it nervous; do it afraid. Public speaking WAS your worst fear. Grief shows up in the strangest ways.
9th: Your best friend died last year, and you didn’t speak at his funeral. You were afraid. You didn’t know what to say. Don’t ever let that happen again. You’re not going to dwell on it, but don’t ever let that happen again. People need to hear what you have to say. God gave you a voice. God gave you a story. God gave you a message. What are you going to do with it? You found your purpose.
10th: A child with a vision can raise a village, and you have always had the vision. However; everybody has vision, but not everybody has focus. Life handed you some L’s because that’s what life does. But you’re going to hand back even bigger ones. I hope the Bread of Life is enough because it’s the only bread you’ll be able to eat. Gluten sensitivities are real. God has ordered your steps; keep walking. Reach back and pay forward. You can’t teach anybody anything, you can only help them learn.
11th (Only 1 Day): Take Control! Drink lots of water every day (Half your body weight in ounces), 98 ounces of water… a day. You need to lose a little weight. You’re going to pee a lot. Join a grad chapter.
Rest of the blog:
Mama, Mama, can’t you see what them Alphas done to me. I wanna wear that black and gold. I wanna wear it ‘til I’m old. No K-A-Psi. No Omega Psi Phi. Phi Beta Sigma, oh why? It’s A Phi A until die. Dean said if I die. He don’t know me, there was no line. How much longer will it go? Months or years, you never know.
My road to Alpha started a little over ten years ago on a warm late summer day in Mount Pleasant, MI when I approached my soon to be Dean at Get Acquainted Day about joining his organization. It felt like the longest walk of my life. I wrote about it in I Really Didn’t Want To Be Greek.
Today, I’ve been a member of the greatest fraternity in the world for 10 years. The time has flown. I remember when I first crossed into my organization through the Rho Delta Chapter at Central Michigan University and I would meet brothers who had been in the org for 5 years and thought, man, they are super old. Let’s not get started on the people that crossed 10 years before me. I thought they were ancient. I couldn’t even imagine. Now I don’t have to. I am them, and somebody new is the old me.
In retrospect, my prophytes were still trying to figure out life like I’m still trying to figure it out. In my eyes, they were larger than life figures that I would meet every so often at homecoming or some Alpha event. Now, I talk to those same people about careers, business and family as peers.
They’re some of my best friends. My chapter brothers are some of my best friends. Alphas near and far are some of my best friends. Alphas young and old are some of my best friends. We’ve run races together. We’ve thrown programs together. We’ve volunteered. We’ve laughed. We’ve hurt. We’ve consoled. We’ve counseled. We’ve partied. We’ve prayed. Those “brothers” have become friends. With friendship being the highest echelon of relationship, my opinion.
Being a member of this brotherhood means more to me now. The best way I can describe me joining the organization is a slow-motion car crash. I didn’t start 2008 thinking I was going to pledge, but life happens, and life happened fast. I was just driving my car and boom, welcome to the frat.
The past 10 years have been with filled with ups. No need to acknowledge any downs. The Michigan Brotherhood MADE me. The Phoenix Brothers made me feel at home! The Denver brotherhood accepted me! The Michigan brotherhood took me back! I have nothing but great things to say about all of you. Thank you for making the last 10 years more than extraordinary. They were amazing. Here’s to many more!