While I attended San Diego State University, I decided to become a Sigma Nu Refounding Father after learning that the organization's values of Love, Honor, and Truth were congruent to mine. I grew up in a dysfunctional family, so I wanted to meet other ambitious men I could be proud to call Brothers. I met my closest Brothers, David Liao and Ever Gonzalez, during my time as a collegiate candidate. Ever was the Brother who invited me to become a candidate after we'd met at an internship. Through Ever, I grew to know David, who has my utmost respect.
My Sigma Nu colony, Eta Kappa at SDSU, failed over three years ago because of failed leadership choices that occurred after I graduated. However, the pain still feels fresh as I continue to find ways to volunteer my time preserving Sigma Nu's history in the form of song remakes and audiobooks. I wanted to become the official Grand Historian and attend many Grand Chapters, but now that dream seems far-fetched, shattered by forces beyond my control. I still produce fraternity art, but on an individual volunteer basis, a practice that helps me get up in the morning. I learned a lot of what I know from Bob McCully (Rest in Peace), who served as Grand Historian and was also from Eta Kappa.
A few months before I graduated, the Sigma Nu High Council formally gave Eta Kappa back its long-dormant charter. When I heard the news, I was the happiest I'd ever been in my life. I was assigned the badge number Eta Kappa 1011. I served the colony as videographer and photographer. I'd also spent countless hours building the colony's reputation on campus, which eventually earned me initiation in Order of Omega. Only the top 3% of IFC members are chosen to join its ranks. I had succeeded in my duties as Refounding Father, and I was able to rest my mind as an alumnus.
How wrong I was.
The colony prepared to become a Chapter by renting out a beautiful venue and inviting the High Council to attend initiation. The ceremony would have been grand, but some officers' egos became inflated, causing them to make impromptu parties that involved large amounts of alcohol. I had heard that a bucket was involved, but I wasn't sure in what capacity. The ringleader, now a disgraced Commander, was a legacy. His choice to wager all of the colony's badges ended up with the alumni also punished. All of our badges were revoked, included those who'd already graduated and were happily waiting for the initiation and to finally see The Ritual in person. The disgraced commander defected, with a handful of his clique acolytes, to another fraternity (which won't be named out of respect).
So to current Sigma Nu colonies, I give you a list of advice in no particular order. There may be a Part Two to this post, but here's what I fully remember.
Here's to all of us becoming full Knights one day! Feel free to contact me on any social media if you have any questions.
Sigma Nu, Eta Kappa #X
Order of Omega, Delta Sigma Initiate
News article on the incident:
Hi! You're reading this because you clicked through the SDSU Digital Media Alumni newsletter link or on Facebook. Welcome! The department asked me to give advice for younger digital editors so I'm here to dish them out.
I'm currently working for an amazing news outlet, and it's allowed me some time to think about why I left freelancing in the first place. Working with a regular company that allows me creative freedom and clarity is one of the best experiences I've ever had.
I've spent so much time, energy, and money to acquire and hone my media skills so there is nothing more infuriating than a potential client who has the following red flags.
Walk away from these people... or run!
Warning: Graphic Language
Shortly before the COVID-19 lockdowns across the country, I was hospitalized due to a stress-induced seizure.
I had trouble breathing and I kept vomiting on the way to the emergency room. My vision was dim and spinning. By the time I was admitted, I was inches away from death, and with a mix of science and miracle, the medical staff brought me back to consciousness. I was released the next morning and I remember enjoying a good old-fashioned cheeseburger, something that I'd not eaten in months due to watching my sugar intake.
Being close to death changes a person permanently. It's forced me to amplify my need to adhere to deadlines and meeting times, to respect my time and other people's time. As a highly competitive person, I would hate to die without rectifying my failures and finishing my projects.
The experience made me re-focus my life's priorities:
As a person diagnosed with ASD-1 (Autism Spectrum Disorder Level 1 / Asperger's), I already knew - and accepted - that my lifespan was significantly going to be shorter than my contemporaries and I had to work twice as hard. The condition is both a gift and a curse. Autism has given me the ability to hyperfocus and learn skills quickly, but I am not so good with reading people - I can never figure out what they want. I can come across as militant, blunt, and terse - which has somewhat protected me from being manipulated and used, something that happens a lot with my fellow autistic people.
I won't let the downsides of autism control what I can do. Instead, I'll use its strengths.
I've got to stay the course and finish my work.
There is much work to be done and I'm not through yet.