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This summer I decided to do something that few women would ever dare to try -- I moved into a fraternity house. You see, when I was given the opportunity to sublet a room in a house on Locust Walk for the summer, I jumped at the chance. To me it seemed like an extremely inexpensive way to meet a wide range of people. Although the summer has barely begun, I have already come to a few realizations about fraternities and the "frat boy" in particular. However, I must make the following disclaimer before I begin: I am proud to be an active member of the Greek system, and I believe that it promotes friendship, community service, scholarship, and campus involvement. Still, I had my own preconceptions of fraternities and the men within their ranks. Perhaps as a result of attending one too many parties and then watching my male friends suffer through pledging during the spring, I perceived fraternity men solely as alcohol-obsessed hedonists. I will be the first to admit that I fell for the common misconception that frat boys are dirty, smelly, leering, uncaring and insensitive. Harsh, I know, but Animal House made a lasting impression on me. But after a couple of weeks of living in a fraternity house, here is what I have learned: Although I still agree with the "smelly and dirty" part of the misconception mentioned above, "frat boys" are real people with legitimate feelings and valuable opinions. For me, nothing drove this home more than the little things: when one brother who lived in the house put together my roommate's bed without being asked, simply because it was a nice thing to do. Or when I returned home from work to find a group of brothers in the front yard, playing tennis and cards with three underprivileged kids whom they had befriended on the Walk. Many "frat boys" have serious girlfriends and are caring individuals who treat women with respect. I was surprised by the protective nature that these men take on when they see a female friend upset, stressed out, or in trouble. With surprisingly good intuition, the men in the house can easily spot a friend in trouble and move quickly to remedy the situation. I admit there is an immature contingent of Greek men who have received the "player" tag for their womanizing behavior, but applying that term to encompass over a thousand people is incorrect and unfair. When it comes to women, many are simply "waiting for the right one." Another facet of the frat boy personality-- commonly overlooked -- is their academic achievments. It is not uncommon to see the same faces at parties during the weekend and then the next Monday in class, making profound connections and wowing others with their knowledge and intelligence. I still remember the shock that I felt when one "frat boy" that I had met a party during the weekend helped me conquer my history homework the next week in recitation. We oftentimes forget that everybody at this school, regardless of whether or not they are Greek, was admitted to Penn for one reason: because they deserve to be here academically. The "frat boys" that we so often stereotype as moronic are in actuality the valedictorians of their high school graduating classes, the Ben Franklin scholars and the leaders of many different student groups at Penn. Yes, these boys like to cut loose, but not before their 3.9 is in the bag. Foosball rules the day. Learn it, know it, play it. It's more than a game for these boys -- its an obsession. The losers receive no kind treatment, I have seen guys running around the house in their boxers after a losing a game of foosball. If you expect to live in a fraternity, you had better be good at it. I would not trade my experience on Locust Walk for anything, and I already plan on residing in the same place next summer. Because I have shared much more than a house with these "frat boys," I have shared a home.

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