Tag Archives: Tau Kappa Epsilon

Rite of Passage – University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Rites of Passage: Being a Pledge and Performing a “Think About It.”

During the spring semester of my first year at the University of Southern California, I decided to become a part of the large Greek community on campus. After debating about where to pledge, I finally decided on the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon, also abbreviated as TKE or Teke. Known for being rowdy and loyal to their brothers, I knew joining the house would be no easy task. Before one can cross into the bond and gain the loyalty of those in the house, one must go through a pledge semester. Pledging, at least for Teke, involves physical workouts and many chores around the house, all delegated by a person known as the Hegemon, or pledge educator. My Hegemon’s name was Aaron Pattison and he loved a type of customary lore performed by pretty much every pledge to pass through Teke’s door.

Think about it. Normally those words make you sit back and ponder a statement or consider a proposition, but in Teke, those words invoke an almost instinctive reaction. When a frater (active Teke member) asks a pledge to “think about it,” the pledge must immediately get down into three points of contact no matter where he stands. “Thinking about it” means pledges must position their bodies parallel to the ground, keeping the back straight as they put one elbow on the ground with a hand under the chin, while the other arm rests behind the back. The three points of contact that must be maintained mean the elbow and feet should be the only things touching the ground in such a way that done properly, should allow a frater to balance a cup or bottle on the pledges’ backs.

“Think about its” are extremely difficult and tiresome, often resulting in very sore elbows. Normally, a pledge meeting on Monday night is the only time “think about its” are performed but as mentioned before, a frater can ask a pledge to demonstrate the proper technique. Pledge meetings and “think about its” are simply physical tasks designed to test the pledges strength of body, mind, and will to persevere. Whether or not the pledge does the physical tests well does not matter, as long as he shows the determination and heart to try until he can no longer continue. Hegemon leads the meetings and “think about its,” for his job is to lead pledges through such rites of passage into the fraternity. Not only do pledges learn from Hegemon about the house, but also they build a closer relationship with their pledge brothers and Hegemon himself as they struggle and toil together.

After completing my pledge semester, I feel that “think about its” did their purpose. Not only did I become stronger both physically and mentally, but also I respect and love those around me who stuck through the pain as we helped each other get through pledge meetings. Also, not only do “think about its” help pledges grow as a person, they earn them a rightful spot in the house. Pledging is not easy and sometimes quitting seems like a good idea, but knowing you did not quit engenders feelings of pride for outlasting countless “think about its.”