Five ways pop culture lied to you about uni life

July 11, 2017
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Movies and TV shows are all about entertainment, but in their pursuit of keeping our youthful brains engaged, certain aspects of life receive an unrealistic makeover, with university amongst the most egregious.

The tropes of college-centric films have become so widespread and ingrained in our consciousness that when we finally arrive at uni, we can’t help but feel a little duped. These are the five lies about university that pop culture has led us to believe.

The Dean is the bad guy

The offenders: Animal House, Futurama, Bad Neighbours, The Simpsons

College comedies have given the impression that a student, or group of students, can form an intense and antagonistic relationship with the villainous Dean. You’ve probably seen your Dean give speeches or walked past their office, but a lot students don’t even know their Dean’s name, so forming any kind of relationship is unlikely.

Besides, even if the Dean somehow does hate you, they probably wouldn’t try to sabotage everything you enjoy – they’re pretty darn busy. Whereas most lies on this list have some kernel of reason, this is total nonsense.

There are still cliques

The offenders: Fresh Meat, Legally Blonde, Revenge of the Nerds

It’s debateable as to whether rigid cliques are still rampant in high school, let alone in university. The idea of on-campus mean girls, jocks everyone loves and a resident nerd/geek group is nowhere to be found in university, at least in part because their size dwarfs the average high school. Nobody is fulfilling a high school stereotype, and you won’t have a friendship group where everybody fits into the same box. This is something we’re glad is a lie.

Everything about parties

The offenders: Old School, Animal House, Van Wilder, American Pie 2, Bad Neighbours, The House Bunny

You know the scene: the protagonist enters their first uni party, everyone is happy, drunk, wearing crazy outfits and no one has thrown up on the refreshment table yet. Yes, we uni students have been fed a lot of falsehoods about university shindigs.

The first is that there are raging parties everywhere, the second is that you’re invited and the third is that they’re fun. In reality, most parties are mild, hard to find, aren’t a free for all, and your enjoyment varies wildly.

You’ll have tons of sex

The Offenders: Animal House, Fresh Meat, Revenge of the Nerds, Van Wilder

There is no secret as to why this is a common pop culture fabrication because it’s such blatant wish fulfilment. Pop culture says that your boring existence will be totally changed in uni and you’ll be a total catch.

University is when you’re away from parental supervision and your high school peers, so you can theoretically do whatever you want, but actually everything is basically the same in that area. Don’t forget that Van Wilder was Ryan Reynolds, somehow I doubt the move to university was the reason for the raunchiness of that movie.

Studying is optional

The Offenders: Accepted, Old School, Van Wilder, Pitch Perfect, Bad Neighbours

Despite these movies being set in university, very few people actually study. Try not to watch one of the aforementioned films without yelling “Please study!” at the characters. Did anyone in Pitch Perfect attend a lecture? What were they studying that allowed them the time for competitive acapella? There is so much wrong here. Somebody remind these filmmakers that university requires serious book-learning.

We’ve all been hoodwinked by pop culture’s raucous and cool misrepresentation of university life. But although film and television lied about the ‘college experience’ university is still plenty of fun – right?

Ally Jurgens

Ally is a uni student who is shockingly good at remembering facts no one cares about involving TV shows and films. She also writes a bit.

Image: Bad Neighbours official Facebook page

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