I hear sorority and I think martini glasses, pearls, headbands and polo sweaters. I hear fraternity and I think kegs, The North Face gear, Croakies and those really funny looking shoes that I just learned the name of: Wallabees.

I apologize, but these are stereotypes that I just cannot move past.

Though I always knew being a sorority girl just wasn’t for me, I decided to be open-minded that first week at Carolina when the sororities were advertising themselves in the Pit. Suddenly, I found myself seriously considering the pros and cons of “rushing,” of “pledging,” of joining a… sisterhood?

While “rushing” may give you an opportunity to meet and socialize with people who are looking for the same thing, you have to wonder what it is these potential candidates are really looking for.

At first, the answer seems obvious. Everyone’s looking for some friends to kick it with. However, in Greek life, you aren’t just hanging out with your 30 new friends, you’re also sleeping in the same house, eating from the same kitchen, studying with the same people, attending the same cocktails… and the list goes on.

This is not to say that you can’t have friends outside of your sorority, but really, how often does that happen? Most sorority girls can attest to this: your friends outside of your sorority are either in a different sorority or they are thinking of pledging to your sorority or you know them from high school.

Now, to discuss the rushing process. I am quite aware this may be an oversimplification, but this is just my opinion after all. You walk from one sorority house to another, meeting and mingling and getting sized up by the house’s members. They make snap judgments about your appearance that are apparently synonymous with your personality. The rare sorority member may take a little extra time to get to know you (because of family ties, friend ties or money ties), and then they will decide, essentially, whether or not they want to be your “sister.”

Then, you receive bids… similar to how houses, cattle and antique objects are bid on… and then you choose (if you are given a choice) which house you want to join. Every house on campus has a certain reputation, and you are chosen by that house to uphold that reputation. Greek life encourages friendship after being accepted into a certain stereotype or image. Essentially, Greek life encourages friendship after paying your member dues. So really, you are buying new friends.

I won’t even get into the pledging process, for fear that this column has already offended too many people. Despite my (what you may call) cynicism, I do understand that there are some benefits of Greek life. After all, I did consider joining at one point. Greeks do a great deal of service work, and they provide great ties with alumni. At a school like Carolina, with an incoming class of 4,000, it is easy to get lost in the crowd; Greek life offers a guarantee of finding your niche immediately.

I’m not entirely bashing the Greek lifestyle; I’m just saying that I won’t be one to go out and buy a pair of Wallabees any time soon.

By Anika Anand