As a sorority woman (albeit a somewhat naïve one), when I wanted a painfully honest perception of public Greek life I turned to the experts…the experts at Google. I looked up ‘sororities,’ and cringed at the image results. The first picture – you can try this too – was the promo poster for the dramedy “Greek” on ABC Family, cast members submerged and surrounding a Solo cup. Another was a questionably posed, inappropriate Barbie doll. Oh, joy.
The good news is I’m prepared to plunge into the long-time college debate with my sleeves rolled up and an insider’s perspective. After taking a long look at the image portrayed by the media, and some wonderfully stereotypical gems from college students, I’ve compiled my own list of sorority myths, facts, and pointers.
Myth #1: Sorority women all look the same.
Yes, let’s examine the Barbie doll a little further.
Fact: First year women should discover that initiated sisters aren’t plucked from the movie Sydney White. Sororities care about the values that their chapters were chartered to uphold, and those values can hardly be exemplified by the size of a woman’s waistband, or by the brand names she wears. In reality, each chapter cherishes qualities they look for in the hearts of others – hence the reason for conversation in recruitment, and the reason why women join different sororities. Everyone is different (and I can hardly say I’m plastic, thinking about all the pizza I’ve consumed in my college career). In this way, sororities don’t seek a college norm, or in a word aren’t “conformists.”
Myth #2: By joining a sorority, I’m just buying my friends!
I love this one, because to the uninformed that’s what it looks like.
Fact: Sorority women know the money they pay goes toward benefits for their national chapters, like many other non-affiliated organizations. In this way, sororities are much like corporations. You wouldn’t hesitate to sign up for a lab, knowing you had to pay a lab fee, right? The rewards that stem from paying these dues always come back to the women in that chapter. The way dues work have nothing to do with buying membership – they pick you for being you.
Myth #3: Sorority girls just want to party. They don’t care about grades or school at all!
Fact: All sororities, both to pledge and retain membership, have GPA requirements. Colleges also have GPA requirements. Women that pledge without a grain of care for classes may see themselves leaving school entirely.
Fact: Sororities are also useful after you graduate as a network for seeking internships and job opportunities. My own sorority has a network where sisters in one area can log on and find sisters in their area. It makes it less stressful and potentially beneficial to go into a field knowing a sister or two.
Myth #4: I’m going to get hazed when I join a sorority.
Let’s be serious for a second, because for most (including my curious first-year self), hazing is a big concern. I was warned when joining recruitment that I might be washing a lot of cars.
Rollins College is a campus in Florida. In Florida, along with 43 other states, state law prohibits hazing. You can be protected, however, in all 50 states. Pledging women don’t realize they have rights too, such as the right to report any hazing acts imposed on themselves or others. Sadly, many new members stand by because they feel like the sorority will “kick them out” if they complain, or there’s an insecure voice in their head telling them, “it’s not hazing, it’s OK”. It’s not OK. The hazing sorority has complete disregard for the term “sorority,” and what the word stands for. I can proudly say I was accepted into a loving chapter that vehemently opposes hazing, and I was never hazed. My advice? Pick up your university’s Panhellenic rules, or a dictionary, and read up on the definition of “hazing” to be better informed.
I’ve been around the block a few times beginning my third year as an initiated sister. I’ve heard the good things, the bad things, scrutinized House Bunny and Sorority Row, and come to the comforting conclusion that my time at Rollins wasn’t spent under a magnifying glass. Sydney White may have been half filmed here, but that’s where the similarities end.
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