A few weeks ago, I had the unique opportunity to hand the undergraduate members of my chapter the Grand Sage’s Cup, the highest award given to a chapter of Sigma Pi. Now, having spent some time enjoying this amazing experience, and relishing the overwhelming feeling of knowing my chapter has officially “made it,” I’ve been able to take a way a few things that hadn’t immediately been clear to me.
- Just because it’s not “my” success, doesn’t mean it’s not a success
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous at first. I worked hard for my chapter. I wanted to see this happen when I was able to celebrate with all my pledge brothers and those who recruited me. My initial thought was, “why couldn’t that have been us?” But after having my selfish moment, I realized what an amazing thing had really happened. I was recruited by some of the best. We continued to recruit some of the best, who went on to become the best. This was a win for everyone who has ever been involved in our chapter, because in one way or another, we all played a part, and the feeling those undergraduates now have is something no one will ever be able to take away from them.
- Success is a journey, not a destination.
This wasn’t a one-off thing. Looking back two years, we walked away from convocation with a Grand Council award. Looking back 4 years, we did the same, and the same 2 years before that. True success isn’t something that just happens, it takes work, and the continued dedication to being better tomorrow than you were today. Some of our best chapters lose hope when they don’t immediately see the results of their effort, but if they continued to work hard, dedicate their efforts to continued success and triumph, and keep the work of success in mind, not the end goal, they might be surprised how much that comes back to them in dividends down the road. (Not to mention how much easier running their chapter would be!)
- There are now two very important responsibilities to my chapter.
First, the undergraduates now have the responsibility to be better. I know that sounds foolish, considering the hardware they just walked away with, but like I just said, it’s a journey, not a destination. The Bulls didn’t stop playing basketball in the 90’s just because they finally walked away with the title. They won it again. And again. And three more times again. It took continual hard work, struggle, difficult decisions, and team effort to put six trophies in the United Center. (Hopefully seven, come on D-Rose…) Second, we as alumni have the responsibility to challenge our undergraduates, and keep them focused on the right things. We, who have now seen our tough losses and our sweet victories, need to work with our undergraduates and remind them just how fine the line between good and great can be.
So what does this mean for Expansion, since this is supposed to be an expansion-related blog at it’s core. We begin new groups every year, and put groups of new people together to try to accomplish something great on their campus and in their community. Many of those members may never see the true result of their hard work. That philanthropy you organized might not become a huge success until the group’s third year. Your colony might not charter until after you graduate. But in reality, none of that should matter. Rewards are an inevitable outcome of success. You as colony members should remember this, and remember how I feel right now. I didn’t get to win my trophy. I didn’t get to come home and tell everyone that we won. But the victory is still just as sweet as an alumna, knowing that I helped to build something that will never be torn down.