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Good Fraternity Presidents Make Great Students. Here's Why.

     

First there’s the latest marathon executive meeting. Then you’re rushing to get the latest chapter report in by deadline. You feel like you couldn’t stay awake another minute, but you have to crack that chemistry book and study for midterms.

A fraternity president’s work is never done.

Excelling in academics is your main duty as an undergraduate fraternity man, but you’d never know that if you asked your brothers.

They always seem to need something from you. You’ve come to accept the constant lack of privacy, and that your time’s divided in a hundred directions.

Hey, it comes with the territory.

Yet when you signed up for this, you never realized you’d have this many 1am whining sessions with your treasurer about brothers’ unpaid dues.

A guy’s got to sleep some time . . . .

Chances are you’re doing a better job than you think. If you feel a little like you’re drowning in responsibilities, that’s typical of a fraternity president. The important thing is that you keep swimming.

With each kick and gasp for air, you’re also honing qualities that’ll help boost your GPA.

Skills you need to manage a successful fraternity chapter and those you use academically often overlap in beneficial ways.

OmegaFi wants to help you maximize your success in the chapter room and the classroom.

Good Fraternity Presidents Make Great Students. Here’s Why.

Good Fraternity Presidents Do Their Homework

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You’re constantly learning, improving and adapting to new situations. Fraternity president is a position you have to live up to, and that means going through some growing pains.

A worthy president busts his butt every day to be the best he can for his brothers and for himself.

Academics and chapter management share a common key to success: reading beyond the page.

You can study the chapter bylaws until you’re blue in the face (as you should). You can also cram ten chapters of Bio II. But simply memorizing information won’t get you anywhere.

Truly understanding a subject means developing instincts and expanding your ideas through critical thinking. When you graduate into the professional world, no one will care if you aced your finals that one time and celebrated by going on an epic ski retreat.

As fraternity president, you learn to be ready for the unexpected. You develop a sense of how to react based on your training and values, and you listen and learn from other perspectives. In the end, you trust yourself to make the right decision.

As with many things in life, the presidency is a trial by fire.

Academic success can be defined the same way. Memorizing lecture notes may work for an exam, but what matters more is how you use that information to overcome challenges.

So the next time a brother comes to you with a problem that makes your brain leak out of your ears--seriously, how did he even get himself into this mess?--don’t tell him to shut up and refer to the magic 8 ball. Embrace the challenge. It’ll make you a better student, and a better fraternity man.

Carving a Space for Academics in the Chapter, and the Presidency

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The balance between academics and fraternity life can prove challenging for any brother. It’s also by far one of the most difficult aspects of a fraternity president’s job.

Throughout your academic career, you’re going to have to make time for classwork. Before anything else, what matters are your grades, your degree and your future.

It’s why you’re dishing out thousands of dollars for tuition, right?

Managing a fraternity chapter effectively means ensuring academics come first for all brothers, including yourself. This largely boils down to time management and prioritizing tasks.

For one thing, when a brother has a reason to skip out on chapter duties for school-related reasons--actual, valid, not-made-up reasons--give him the time. It may suck having one less man volunteering for the car wash fundraiser, but if brothers’ grades slip, your chapter will be in much worse shape in the long run.

Build study hours into a ceremony just short of religious for brothers. They go to study hours. They study during study hours. The end. Amen.

Also, set aside time to lock yourself away and get homework done each week. This time is sacred, and you’ll be glad for that. Sticking to a prioritized schedule can help you be a better president, student and employee, and organizational skills can lead you to success throughout your life.

Remember: No matter your brothers’ persistence, during study time you aren’t answering the door, texts or emails, unless the chapter house is in the direct path of a meteor.

Even then, how big a meteor are we talking?

Every Captain and His Crew Need a Little Shore Leave

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It sounds practically impossible. How can you take a break from the perpetual onslaught of presidential duties, term papers and lab reports?

It must be done.

Your mental wellbeing plays a crucial part in your ability to manage your chapter and your academics.

Take care of yourself. Go to the gym or go for a jog, even if you have to wake up at 6am to do it. Look for healthy eating options on campus or from the chapter house kitchen staff. Avoid late-night fast food like the stomach-destroying plague it is.

Try to get sleep when you can. Playing catch up on lost hours of sleep doesn’t work. Maximize time off during holiday breaks and between semesters. Maybe don’t take a ton of summer classes or your heaviest core class load the same semester you serve as president.

Take breaks, even if they’re just little breathers to catch an episode of your favorite show on Hulu. Make sure your brothers do the same. Check up on them and keep an eye on their stress levels.

When you take the time for self-care, you can come back to the detail work of a fraternity president and college student refreshed and sharpened. You’ll make fewer mistakes and be a more effective chapter manager.

And your GPA will thank you.

Fraternity presidents: How do you balance chapter management and studying? What works for you, and what’s been a hindrance? Share your notes in the comments below.

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