By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
Two full years on the Optimist staff have taught me at least one thing about the university: Students respond almost the same way about everything, every year.
Same complaints about meal plans, University 100, Chapel and the list goes on. I’ve gotten to where I almost have to hear these responses to know that life, the world and the university are continuing as they should.
However, strange things are happening this year that have led me to one conclusion: Pledging must not have started yet.
More than one whole week has passed since pledging supposedly began, and the Optimist hasn’t received one letter from a disgruntled group of students about how their seats in Chapel have been thoughtlessly invaded by a pledge class.
The “Pledge Jesus. He bids all who come” T-shirts-someone’s oh-so-brilliant protest against pledging the last two years-have yet to make an appearance. Maybe that tradition has finally died.
No one I know is no longer speaking to a roommate because they are pledging different clubs, and none of the groups of friends I know have been ripped apart by clubs.
In fact four pledges sat in my apartment last week: two Squigs, a Kai-O and a Nunu. No one uttered a remotely divisive word regarding her respective club, and all remain friends. If not for the eyesores some were required to pin to their shirts, I might not have even known they were pledging.
Is that supposed to happen once pledging starts? Not if I believe all the rumors I’ve heard the last two years.
I can’t decide which pledging season I like better: the one I’ve heard about the last two years, or the one I am experiencing now.
The one I’ve heard about the last two years certainly seems like it would give the Optimist more copy to fill its pages. Students are more likely to have a vocal opinion if things are not going well and they are no longer speaking to a roommate.
Although, I will admit that I have enjoyed pledging much more this year because it has had no adverse effect on my life. Freshman year, pledging just seemed to get in the way of my daily routine as neither me nor any of my friends were affected by it. Last year, I think it was my duty as a sophomore non-pledge to be bitter about the whole process.
This year, however, I have been able to watch pledging and enjoy and laugh at the quirky things pledges have to do.
I’ve seen that my group of friends has not been torn apart after two pledging seasons, and yes, I’m still talking to and living with my roommate even though he pledged Gamma Sigma Phi last year, and I pledged the Optimist.
I do not want to say those types of things do not happen. With hundreds of people pledging and even more already members of a club, I’m sure many people have lost some friends or drifted apart because of the time pledging can drain from one’s schedule.
But I have seen no proof of this being a widespread problem plaguing campus. For the most part, for those who want to pledge, it seems like a good experience for all involved.
Maybe pledging and I finally have come to an agreement-if it is true that pledging actually has begun.