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Jason Adams '12 found his way to Sigma Nu Penn State through the power of song – choir, to be exact, when Mark Lehnowsky '08 and several other fellow choir members joined the fraternity, and Adams followed suit. While Adams says his affinity for the arts made him one of the few liberal arts majors in the group, he still had a great experience living in the fraternity house.

Now, Adams is working as a musician, but it hasn’t always been an easy career choice. “Music is what my life is and it’s never left, but it diminished out of a necessity to survive,” he says. “I worked as a taxi driver, delivery driver, a cook – all this stuff that has nothing to do with what my career should be.”

After five years working to pay the bills while playing music on the side, he says his career is “on the upswing.” Working in a music shop, he sells guitars and other instruments, talking to musicians all day long and teaching private music lessons.

“I had to create my own career as most musicians do,” Adams notes, saying other graduates in the arts should stick to their passions and not give up. “I never did [give up]. It takes time and patience and I think there are other degrees that have similar issues. There are a lot of people in [a] field and some of them will be better than you right off the bat. It just takes time to… get the right connections [and] experience under your belt, to get a job and move forward from there.”

Adams is also writing and performing his own original music, which you can check out, on his site.

“I haven’t written anything about being in the fraternity per say yet,” he says, “but a recent song on the website, ‘Path to Rock Bottom’, is the story of graduating from college, having a tremendous amount of college debt and no way to pay it back and falling into bad patterns and habits…and how do you rise above that and get to the point where I am four years later? I hit rock bottom four or five years ago almost immediately after graduating; that lack of structure or immense amount of freedom can be daunting, especially to someone without a career path. How many of us go through that?”

Adams encourages any alumni who’s interested to reach out to him through his website, whether they’re looking for a performer, want to offer help or need help of their own.

As far as offering advice to current actives, in light of recent fraternity incidences occurring all over the country, Adams says, “Use your head – it’s easy. Be kind to each other. You’re supposed to be brothers and especially in our house, love, truth and honor are the values, and there are none of those values shown in hazing activities, period. We’re founded as a non-hazing fraternity, but if you’re in the midst of the fraternity with no alumni around, that line becomes blurred. There’s no amount of love shown in forcing activities or segregating cliques within the house…”

He also encourages more alum to get involved, to set a good example for actives.