Pledging season is upon us. Girls will soon be shouting, “I will respect Kojie Park!” and “G-A-T-A want to be a GATA!” and dressing in clothes that are way too warm for Texas weather. Other students, like me, will be shouting, “Where are my earplugs?!” and embracing the shorts and t-shirts I get to keep wearing on a daily basis.
I have a lot of respect for my friends in social clubs–and the friends who are going to pledge this year. It’s a huge time commitment, which can come with some amazing rewards: a close-knit community of people always willing to help with your hair and homework, constant Starbucks partners and shoulders to cry on.
But if you’re like me, you don’t really have the time to attend all the rushes and then spend three weeks shouting at the top of your lungs every time you pass a monument or avoid the campus mall area altogether. And that’s OK.
Social clubs and pledging are not the end-all-be-all as an ACU student. Whether you can’t pledge because you don’t have the time or financial means–there are plenty of other ways to have a closer connection within the campus community. For me, it was working within my department and improving my career skills. I became close with many people within the different jobs I worked and I maintain a majority of those relationships today.
I also did some things that were out of my comfort zone. I joined The Shinnery Review and a few other organizations that had nothing to do with my career path. I might not be able to keep up with them as much as I did during my freshman year, but those experiences helped diversify my experience at ACU.
Additionally, not pledging allows me to have some extra time to myself. There are some days where I just want to be a recluse and hang out in my room watching movies. Other days I feel like I have no time to do anything else except work or homework. If I added pledging on top of all of my classes and jobs, I’d be working myself into an earlier grave than I already have.
Nobody is trying to fool you by saying you need to know your limits. Pledging is like a full-time job–even if it’s for three weeks. You need to decide whether you can handle that on top of whatever educational or work obligations you have.
To be frank, I’m totally okay with heading into my final year without a social club membership under my belt. I’ve established a lot of great relationships within my department, I have jobs that I love and I’ve reached out into other areas of the ACU community that are not journalism affiliated.
If you don’t think pledging is right for you, don’t sweat it. There are so many other organizations on campus to participate in and there are probably opportunities for you to make a difference within your own department.
Just make sure you have your earplugs ready by the time the next pledging season comes around.