When I told my friends from home that I was thinking about being in a sorority, they looked at me skeptically. “You? In a sorority?”

In my defense, I found myself saying, “No, I swear it’s not like that,” and they would be satisfied.

But what’s “that?” Why does being in a sorority have to carry any stigma or reputation at all?

Through the formal rush process, I met each sorority on campus.

After just the first day, I knew all my preconceived judgments of sororities were completely undeserved.

Each sorority was so different that it would be impossible to simply throw a label on all of them and define the typical “sorority girl.”

The one similarity that I found across all the organizations is that each is a group of friendly, outgoing, dedicated women who are involved and respected on campus.

Somehow, this fact is lost when the gossiping starts about petty girls getting in catfights over boyfriends, circling one another’s fat, random hookups, drunken madness and naked pillow fights.

When you Google “sorority girl,” the first result takes you to a Web site entitled “The Sorority Girl” with eight cartoon drawn girls who are stick skinny and gorgeous, followed by steps to become “the coolest girl on campus.”

These steps include “make sure you sleep with lots of boys” and “eating isn’t a necessary daily activity.”

The next three Google results take you to pages of derogatory sorority girl jokes like “what’s the difference between a bowling ball and a sorority girl?” Answer – you can only fit three fingers in a bowling ball.

Last year, I would have laughed at these jokes because I too was under the impression that sororities bred dumb, promiscuous backstabbers who only cared about getting drunk and sleeping around.

However, since I began the rush process, I have met a group of girls, each of whom are more dedicated and involved on campus than most of the people I have met at UR so far.

Each one does more community service and philanthropy work in a month than most people do all year.

Not only that, but they eat every meal, get to know each other’s boyfriends, work hard in school and truly care about all their sisters.

I am proud to be pledging a sorority because I know that the friends I make in the coming months and years as a sister will be my true, lifelong friends. I also know that these girls are smart, caring and respectable. This is more than I can say for a lot of the girls I have met in the past, most of whom were not affiliated with a Greek organization.

Paret can be reached at eparet@campustimes.org.

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