Before arriving at college this month, most of my ideas surrounding what it would actually be like came from television, movies and books. Back home in Australia, the college culture is so different. Most people stay living at home, attending a university near where they live, and not spending so much time on campus. Needless to say, because the two cultures' ideas and approaches towards college differ so much, I was heavily relying on pop-culture to find out what the next four years of my life would be like.
Spoiler alert: college is nothing like it is in the movies, and I was very happy to find out that most of the things on my list aren’t true, but you probably already knew that. So indulge me for a second, while I play “Expectation vs. Reality: College Edition!”
1. Dorms are Exceedingly Large
Watching films such as “Legally Blonde” and “Pitch Perfect” made dorms look like palatial mansions compared to the poky little rooms that they truly are. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dorm room, my roommate and I co-ordinated our room, so it's super pretty and totally Pinterest-worthy, but in terms of size, even though I knew the room wouldn’t be as big as it is in the movies, it’s very tiny.
2. A Cappella is Everywhere
This impression comes directly from “Pitch Perfect," and before arriving at college, I fully expected it would be the norm to walk around and see people singing everywhere, even though my friends assured me this would not be the case. However, they were proved wrong. I swear almost every person I run into is involved in a cappella in some way, and I’m pretty sure a cappella concerts get a bigger turn-out than some sports games.
3. All-Nighters are a Thing
Every blog post I read, or TV show I saw about college said to expect to pull all-nighters, and maybe it is only the third week of college, or maybe I’m just super organized, but thus far I haven’t pulled a single all-nighter.
4. College is One, Big Party
In those same blog posts that told me college was full of all-nighters, they also said college was a constant party, which it totally (and thankfully) hasn’t been. I’m not against partying, I love a good party as much as the next person, but at the same time I’m kind of happy that there’s less of an emphasis on partying for fun than is shown in the movies.
5. Everyone Sits Under Trees ALL THE TIME
This is less college films, and more those bright, shiny brochures that colleges send out to prospective students, depicting groups of students, sitting under trees and smiling at each other. This has, most surprisingly, turned out to be one of the most realistic preconceptions of the bunch. Everywhere I turn, there are people sitting under trees or outdoors with their friends, and honestly, I think it’s the nicest thing.
6. The Food is Dreadful
At my school, the food differs from day to day, so on Tuesday it might be dreadful, but then Wednesday it might be fantastic. To say it's better than I was expecting, though, is an understatement. I had read plenty on the Internet how my school consistently had the worse food of any college in America, but over the summer they renovated the dining hall, so their food actually surpasses all expectations of grossness, and is usually quite good.
Overall, no matter what I thought before I got here, it's what’s actually happening now that counts, and I am loving every single second of it. Sure the movies might have gotten most of it wrong, but I think it’s better to create my own fantastic memories of college.