When I started college, I had pretty mediocre expectations for myself. I hadn’t expected I’d even be able to afford to attend a college, let alone thrive at one. Sitting in the new student convocation, I listened to the student body president say, “One day, one of you will be standing on this stage giving this speech …” In my head, I laughed at the idea that I would ever be THAT student.
My perspective shifted as I adjusted to student life, especially after joining SigEp. Ask me now and I would wholeheartedly join the eight in 10 alumni who said in a recent Gallup poll that if they had to do it all over again, they’d still join their fraternity or sorority. Becoming a brother opened my life to opportunities and provided access to mentorship I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Mentorship is a natural part of the SigEp experience. The older brothers in my chapter, along with the few volunteers we had at the time, always pushed me to see more in myself than I knew was there. Having supportive mentors gave me the confidence to take on leadership roles in the chapter that led me all the way to the Tragos Quest to Greece. I even got involved in student government and became the guy on stage giving the speech when I was elected student body president my junior year.
None of those accomplishments would have happened if I hadn’t been pushed by my SigEp mentors. As I reflect on the mentors who influenced me, I can’t help but think of one brother in particular. He not only encouraged me to join the chapter, he was also involved in student government. He not only helped me recognize my potential as a leader, but also motivated me to run for student body president.
Mentorship taught me what I was capable of, opened doors for my career and inspired me to continue giving back long after I graduated. Mentorship continued to play a role after graduation, leading me not only into my first successful career in politics, but also into my current career in the fitness, health and wellness space. Mentors within SigEp continue to help me navigate the career landscape and keep me motivated when imposter syndrome takes hold.
I continue to look up to mentors within SigEp to this day. I lean on this brotherhood to inspire me and give me the opportunity to provide for others what was provided for me. The joy and purpose that derives from serving as chapter counselor and working with young brothers in shaping their development program, creating an effective recruitment strategy, and communicating how SigEp is different from other organizations on their campus has connected me through my own experiences as a mentee.
Fully understanding the value of those experiences today, as an alumnus, makes continuing the traditions of SigEp more than worth the costs of time, talent and treasure that I give as a volunteer and a mentor. So, thank you to all the mentors who stood beside me along the way. I hope I am giving even an ounce of what you gave me!
Sean Terwilliger is currently chapter counselor for SigEp’s Texas Beta chapter at North Texas.