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Pledging A College Fraternity
Contributing Writer, Ryan, & His Experience With Rushing The PIKEs University Greek System Fraternity

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When going through the process of joining a fraternity, its amazing how outrageous events can turn a group of separate individuals into one closely knit group.  During my first semester as a college student, at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, I was asked to join one of the premier houses on campus, Pi Kappa Alpha.  There are many stereotypes about pledging into a fraternity, and to be completely honest, most of them are true. 

One thing that we were made to do often throughout the semester, was to take trips, called missions.  They were very much like scavenger hunts, only in much larger areas, such as New York City, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City.  About three or four weeks into the pledge process, I embarked on what I like to consider the craziest night of my life.

My pledge brothers and I were sent to Atlantic City, New Jersey with a list of approximately twenty-five tasks that were to be completed prior to returning to campus.  Some of these things included pictures with famous structures, napkins from famous restaurants, and specific memorabilia from each hotel.  Right from the start, we knew that the night and following morning were going to be an extreme headache.  Not more then five minutes had elapsed, and we were already in a bind.  We got a flat tire on one of the vehicles that was traveling with us.   We jacked up the car, put on the doughnut and were on our way.

We started off on the edge of town, where the Trump Marina and Harrah’s were located.  They were right off route 187, which was like a futuristic road.  On one part of it, where a bridge extends over some water, lights covered both sides, which looked like stars passing by.  The group had to choose someone to enter the Trump Marina shirtless, wearing only a bathing suit, and carrying a towel.  Consequently, the guy that was chosen was extremely lanky, and very pale, so he looked even more awkward walking in there.  I had to accompany him in the casino, but luckily only to take the picture.  Of course, we were quickly escorted out of there.

As we started getting closer and closer to town, we frequently had to stop on the side of the road to take pictures of each road sign incorporated in the Parker Brothers’ Monopoly game.  When we saw Baltic Avenue, we realized why it was the cheapest property in the game.  We decided to turn onto it and travel down a little bit just to see what the rest of the road was like.  There was trash everywhere, including on the ground and walking around.  Four different women tried talking us into joining them, but of course, we declined.

Our next stop was just short of the boardwalk.  We parked the cars and started walking up and down Pacific Avenue, looking for the different places we needed pictures in.  We stopped in a few of the night life establishments, including an Irish restaurant, and an upscale sports cafe. We were told to get our picture taken in front of the cafe with the staff.  One of the places we went to was being incredibly rude with us.  They refused numerous times to let even one of us go in to have a quick picture taken.  We explained how we were pledging into a fraternity and we desperately needed the photo.  The manager still declined our entry.  Two of the guys then went around to the back of the building.  Ahead stood a dark alley, with rats roaming around the dumpsters, looking for scraps.  The two guys hopped a fence and entered the restaurant through a back door.  At that time, the rest of us were sitting on a park bench across the street, planning our next move.  All of a sudden, we heard a faint police siren in the distance.  Each of us looked around praying that the cruiser was not coming for our two comrades inside.

The siren got louder and louder and the consensus of the group became more weary.  All of a sudden, tires screeched all around the building, and lights flashed everywhere.  Out came two very big gentlemen escorting our two friends to separate police vehicles.  At this point, it was getting very close to midnight, and we were all cranky and tired.  None of us were ready to deal with this situation.  Nevertheless, we followed the officers over to the police station, which, lucky for us, was on the opposite end of town.

On the way over, we decided as a group that we would do whatever it was going to take to ensure that our buddies came home with us that night.  We agreed that our trip was over, and we would have to return home prematurely, and explain what happened.  When things could not have gotten any worse, and when all we wanted to do was go home, things quickly turned into a nightmare.  The second vehicle, traveling behind the car I was in, got sideswiped at the corner of Pacific and Pennsylvania Avenues.  I jumped out of the car and ran over to the wreck.  Two of the guys were passed out in the back seat, while the other two seemed to be alright.  I ran over to a minivan stopped at the light and took a cell phone right from a lady’s hand to call for help.

As we were waiting for help to arrive, one of the guys woke up and started moving.  We motioned for him to stay still, mostly because we were afraid he might have been hurt.  At this time, the entire intersection was being rerouted by the same police officers that were escorting us to the station.  The ambulance arrived about ten minutes after I got off the phone.  As luck would have it, they only had one stretcher in the vehicle.  Since there were two neck related problems, they had to radio into another unit. 

The officer in charge of the scene pulled me to the side and informed me that the detective on duty was at another location, and that she would not be able to be present for about another hour.  With this new information, our situation problematically evolved even more.  Four of the guys were on their way to the doctors, as two were injured and two accompanied them.  Three were taken over to the police station, two on charges that we still weren’t aware of, and one to attempt their release.  We had forked over as much cash as we had available, just in case there were fines or bail to pay.  In total, we raised close to $375 dollars.  As for me, I stayed behind at the scene of the collision.

What became extremely ironic was who hit us.  One of the tasks on our agenda was to have a picture taken with a cocktail waitress.  Shortly after the accident, the doors flew open from a brand new Lexus.  A guy and three very attractive women stepped out.  The gentleman driving the car was obviously driving while intoxicated.  I walked up to the girls, and jokingly asked them, “What’s up,” hoping maybe to liven them up.  They seemed to be a little shocked, which was understandable because of the circumstances.  They were explaining how they all just got off work and were headed downtown go grab a bite to eat.  Appropriately enough, they were cocktail waitresses at the Trump Taj Mahal.  I just could not work up guts to ask them for a picture.

Everyone was given an opportunity to tell his or her story to the detective.  Lucky for us, a vacationing husband and wife saw the entire accident, and hung around long enough to explain what they saw.  The detective then instructed the patiently awaiting tow trucks to take the vehicles away.  We were given the phone number and address of where the car could be picked up the following day.  After the reports were filed, and information was exchanged, we were sent on our way, as more “tests” were being done on the driver of the other vehicle.

We hopped in the other car, and headed over to the police station to hopefully pick up our three friends.  With the luck we were having that night, we figured they would be spending the night in jail and we would come pick them up the next morning.  The officers on duty were very nice and helpful with us, and let the two guys go without any charges or fines.

Now it was time to head over to the hospital.  This was the last place that I thought we would end up that night.  It was close to three o’clock in the morning by the time we arrived.  At this point our night included, but was not limited to, only having one car to transport nine of us on a two and a half hour drive back up to Rutgers, two of our friends being hurt in a car accident, and two of the guys being arrested.  We were ready to go home and go to sleep.  I went up to the counter at the emergency room entrance and asked how our two friends were doing.  The nurse informed me that one of the guys was fine, and just banged up a little bit.  Unfortunately, our other friend was unable to gain consciousness yet.  He was diagnosed with a grade three concussion, and two broken ribs.  We were told that he was not allowed to leave until he regained consciousness.

We were going to have the hospital call his parents, but we decided against that for two reasons.  One, he was from Arizona, and I was certain that the panic they would have been in was not worth the trouble.  It was conveyed to us that he would most likely wake up in the next couple hours, be given some meds, and sent home.  The eight of us grabbed some pillows from the waiting room, and some jackets form the car, and spread out across the small and cold hospital room floor, waiting anxiously for our companion to awaken.  We must have fallen asleep, because when we woke up, it was broad daylight.  By this time our friend was up, and ready to go home.

I think that this last event, the accident, was kind of a turning point for us as friends.  Coming into this trip, we were tired and very bitter towards each other.  When I saw my two buddies unconscious in the back seat of a car after a mishap, I got very emotional.  I just felt so bad that these two nice kids were hurt over an inconsiderate driver.

When we got back to campus and explained what happened the night before, the brothers understood and sympathized with us.  This trip was our first real mission.  It happened to be one in which we had to overcome adversity together as one unit.  Because of this trip, I can say that I have eight friends that I would do anything for, and would do anything for me.  We all have a unique connection with each other now, and to this day we talk and joke about that night.  The relationships I have developed from not only pledging a fraternity, but this trip alone, will last me a lifetime.

Written By Ryan Abrams (Edited For Content)
Rights Purchased To This Text By Paul & Party Pursuit


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