Hollywood loves to tell larger-than-life stories, and it’s pretty good at it. But these tales almost always come with a bit of embellishment, none more so than the movies about college life. Whether you’re watching Old School, Acceptedor Sydney White, there are always going to be differences between the movie magic and the everyday realities of college living. Here are just a few that stick out like Elle Woods in her bunny suit.
Your dorm room is a going to be AWESOME…ly tiny.
Your dorm room will be your haven over the next nine months, but don’t let the movies fool you. It will not be a magical, spacious place full of built-in bookshelves, a huge desk and the most comfortable-looking bed you’ve ever seen. Instead, you’re going to get a 10’x12′ room (if you’re lucky) with cinder block walls, a scratched, tile floor and only one roommate (if you’re really lucky.) Not to mention the plastic covered mattress that may or may not smell like feet. Sure, adding personal touches like pictures from home, a few cool posters, a funky bedspread and a fluffy rug will go a long way in making your dorm feel like less of a jail cell, but it’ll never be as perfectly cozy as Elle Woods’ Harvard hideaway in Legally Blonde.
The parties will be legendary!
Do you remember those parties in high school, where there might have been the occasional raid on a parent’s liquor cabinet but for the most part it was just a bunch of teens lounging around a basement with movies, pizza and the occasional lame joke? That’s pretty much what college parties are like, except with more alcohol and free-roam of a house. Seriously, there are rarely awesome DJs with strobe lights and fog machines and no one really talks about them beyond cursing the hangover they received. You’ll find that it’s more fun to hang out with a few close friends, play some strange version of Apples to Apples and maybe, just maybe, head out to a bar or two.
The exception, of course, might occur at one of The Princeton Review‘s top party schools, which are all known for throwing some of the best parties around. You might catch a glimpse of what Hollywood was trying to demonstrate with its party scenes in movies like in Revenge of the Nerds or Old School.
You’ll find the love of your life the first day on campus.
You might want to believe that your college romance will start on Day One, like Pitch Perfect‘s Beca as she’s inadvertently serenaded by Jesse with a strange and adorable version of “Carry on My Wayward Son.” But chances are, it’ll take a lot longer than that to find a person you want to spend time with in college as more than friends for a bit longer than one or two days. The first year is all about finding out who you are as a young adult, and you’ll realize that having a significant other doesn’t really play a huge role in that self-discovery.
Campus is run by Greek Row.
In movies like Sydney White and Accepted, campus life (and your inevitable inclusion into the college world) revolves around securing a spot on Greek Row. And if you don’t, your banished to the “Geek Row” or shoved into an embarrassing hotdog suit. Reality tells a different story. You’ll find that most of the campus doesn’t care about what letters you do or do not wear, and no specific group really determines the kind of social life you have on campus. Going Greek is simply another option to have, and it won’t make or break you as a student. Seriously, there’s not Animal House here.
You’ll find your best friends in college.
Actually, this one isn’t really a myth. Much like the Barden Bellas in Pitch Perfect or Sydney and her band of misfits, the group of friends you find in college will be the people you still talk to years after graduation. During college, you’ll have grown up and become a completely different person from the kid you were in high school, and your college buddies will have done the same. Growing together while hanging out in dorm rooms or grabbing coffee before hitting the books at the library will let you get to know the people you all will be 10 years from now, and that’s what makes your friendships last a lifetime. Just be aware that you’ll find these people in the strangest of places.
Just remember, chances are college won’t be anything that you imagined. But it can still be the time of your life, without all the Hollywood glamour.