Friday, June 20, 2014

Frat Boy: Introduction

Who was Kingsley Tang in college?

I was a music composition major, I was in marching band and I was a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha.

When I tell people I was in a fraternity it surprises a lot of people. Our society has a very narrow idea of what it means to be a member of a fraternity. While my brothers and I did have our share of fun, we did not live as they did in Animal House.

I’ve only been an undergrad on one college campus and I’m not really familiar with what fraternity life is like for people across the country. All I can do is speak for my experiences, which does not fit the fraternity stereotype of drunken debauchery that is portrayed in popular culture.

Just because my time as a Sinfonian (one of the names we identified ourselves with) wasn’t spent partying all of the time didn’t mean that we didn’t have our share of fun, craziness, insanity and drama.

So for the next couple months, I’m going to post stories about my time as a member of the Iota chapter of Phi Mu Alpha at Northwestern University. I’m going to use pseudonyms, but probably anyone who was in this fraternity or a member of the NUMB-Mu-Alpha-Iota social group will quickly figure out who I’m talking about.

These are my imperfect recollection of events that happened more than a decade ago. The purpose of these stories is not historical accuracy. I’m going for “story truth” so conversations and timelines of events may be modified and embellished upon to get capture the emotion and the meaning of the moment.

I’m going to tell you about my brothers. There were gods like Joseph, who seemed to have everything figured out. There were people like Harry whose life drama I became quickly swept up in and others like Tony who only now I’m beginning to understand.

I’m going to tell you about the girls of Sigma Alpha Iota, the sorority we hung out with the most. There’s Grace, one of the people who made me feel most welcome as part of this social group when I was a freshmen who ended up being one of the few people in my life I ever hated. And then there’s Chrissie, the senior girl who took me under her wing and who taught me what dignity really means.

I’m going to write about the good times: rushing, pranks and the Chipotle challenge. And I’ll try to describe the hard times: the politics, the social cliques and the drama that sometimes seemed to overtake the brotherhood.

Stay tuned on Fridays for tales of Phi Mu Alpha from this past and present frat boy.

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