By: Resource and Development Coordinator Ray Sophie, Southern Illinois ’08

“School was pretty hard for me at the beginning.” – Steve Jobs

SAT ScoresMr. Wyman’s class was hard. This was no ordinary high school sophomore English class.  He made us do horrible things like read advanced literature, analyze literary criticisms and write thoughtful research papers. I had to actually use the library for these papers. It was no joke.

I mean, how could that help me at all? It’s not like when I interview for a company or prepare a presentation for my boss they’ll be asking me to analyze themes and literary tools regarding For Esme with Love and Squalor or The Sorrows of Young Werther.

I didn’t know it at the time, but what those challenges forced me to do was learn how to think critically; how to break down information analytically and propose assertions and ideas using previous research and salient prose in a coherent and persuasive fashion.

Flash forward to now. I am in a Masters of Public Administration program, where these kinds of abilities are not only required, they are expected. For everything. And every single time I sit down to write a final or a term paper, I can’t help but to crack a smile because what once seemed darn near impossible has become second nature.

Phi Kappa Tau is Mr. Wyman’s English class. Whether you are an officer, member at large, or new member, the skills and tools you will learn throughout your PKT experience will be challenging and will stretch your comfort levels like a Stretch Armstrong doll.

But it isn’t for naught. I have spoken with so many alumni who credit Phi Kappa Tau for their success in life, citing the tools they learned as an undergraduate as one of the primary reasons they have found success in whatever field they later found themselves in.

At a purely practical level, you will learn proficiencies in such items as running an effective meeting, working in a group setting, budgeting, building relationships, etc. The list is a mile long.

But at a more esoteric (and important) level, you will understand how a values based organization functions. Every single organization, in any sector of life, has a mission and a set of values. Figuring out how to meet that mission with your values is the difference between success and failure for many organizations and the people that work for them. Learning how to contextualize problems with a greater understanding of the big picture is a tool that can almost only be learned through doing it yourself.

Phi Kappa Tau teaches you how to think in a way other scholastic or extra-curricular endeavors cannot, laying the foundation for a values based life.

Will you challenge your chapter, your brothers, yourself to step outside of your comfort zone?


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