Strangers turned brothers
Jan 08, 2019
On a very sunny and sweaty Saturday, Natrawn Maxwell struggles to pull his bins inside of his new apartment complex.
“It was my first time staying off campus. I wasn’t too sure of how much to bring, so instead I bought my entire life with me,” Maxwell says. This is Maxwell’s first year living off campus so he does not know exactly what to expect. But he knows that he will have roommates – two to be exact.
“I heard a bit of commotion downstairs, so I made my way to the bottom of the stairwell to see Natrawn staring at the wall in confusion” Chris Ross says. Ross is a senior at South Carolina State University, where he majors in mechanical engineering.
Just like Maxwell, he is not sure of what to expect from staying off campus.
“Not only was I nervous about staying off campus, I was also skeptical of Natrawn at first. He was so unique. Where I’m from, you don’t see anyone like that,” Ross says.
He refers to Maxwell’s appearance. “The ankle bracelets did it for me,” Ross says.
“I did not know what to think about him either, but wow I guess the truth comes out a whole year later, right?” Maxwell jokes.
“I was mostly skeptical of that guy over there” Maxwell says, pointing to Nick Hubbard, the third roommate.
Hubbard, the Northerner of the three, chimes in last since he is the last to arrive.
“I really did not want to stay there in the first place, so I didn't know what to think about either of these guys. At least I thought Natrawn was cool,” Hubbard says.
The year goes on in perfect harmony, the three doing it all together -- partying, cooking, crying and laughing.
But the good times become sporadic around the spring semester.
“I did not see these guys as often, but they kept asking me what (Greek) organization I was interested in. I knew what I wanted to do, I just wanted to make sure I could trust them before I shared a secret like that. I literally avoided it every time they asked,” Maxwell says.
Ross and Hubbard nod in agreement.
“That’s why we began to separate ourselves from him. It was childish looking back on it, but we did not want someone inquiring another organization around us at the time,” Hubbard says.
On the night of Jan 20, the three find out they are strangers-turned-brothers.
“Ross and I were in the back, our seats were so far up,” Hubbard says. “You could really only see to about the middle row from where we were,” Ross says. As every potential candidate for membership at the Omega Psi Phi interest meeting stood individually to introduce themselves, Maxwell slowly rises when it’s his turn.
“Ross and I looked at one another super shocked. I even remember him looking back at us smiling,” Hubbard says jokingly. From this point forward, the three begin to spend more time together than ever. They study things about the fraternity together day in and day out, learning about their culture as black men through the history of the organization.
“Now that it is all said and done, I can honestly say that all of those classroom sessions throughout the process were worth it. It made us family, even though we are from two different chapters, Ross and Nick are still like my blood brothers,” Maxwell says.
The three of the former strangers are now spring 2018 initiates of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.