James Tang

Month: October, 2009

Pledging

Why?

I had always wanted to be more involved on campus, but the farthest that I ever got was a semester on Historian Committee in AAA. It was simply easier for me to stay at home and do a controlled activity like movies, TV, or books. I realized this was the wrong mentality. It came from a feeling of procrastination and guilt (should not go out because I still have homework undone). Also, I had always been kept inside as a kid and always felt a bit overwhelmed in social situations. Being surrounded daily by engineers didn’t help. Fortunately, my resolve has changed. By pledging, I feel that I’ll have an extrinsic motivator and can help me get through something that I know will ultimately make me more satisfied.

Is it a bit strange for me, having just celebrated my 22nd birthday, to be in a pledge class comprised mostly of underclassmen? The first reactions are always cute since they try to hide their shock. However, I also feel a certain amount of respect given and from there, we build our friendships. Though I do feel a slight distance in our perspectives, it’s simply another exercise in empathy and viewpoint sharing. I have to say though, I will probably never get over sophomore girls calling me their little.

Perhaps the biggest thing I have to gain from Alpha Phi Omega is the different perspectives. For the first time, I’ve gotten to know people who aren’t engineers, scientists, mathematicians, or businessmen. Another thing is management of large groups of people. How do you set an environment conducive to bonding? How can you entertain people you don’t know? What activities are popular?

It has definitely been a positive experience and I’m looking forward to the rest of the semester.

Friendship

If a friend does something you consider severely wrong, can you still be friends with that person? Does friendship trump personal values? The saying goes that your friends are a reflection of yourself. To me that implies that if you can accept a person for who he/she is, you must be accepting of the values that person has. Otherwise, you should either drop this person as a friend or actively try to change this person. However, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can control their actions with reason or guilt. If they do not genuinely believe themselves as flawed, it’s time to move on.