There are hundreds of movies that portray college and a college student’s life as a constant party. Films like “22 Jump Street” and “Monsters University” as well as ads on social media depict the “struggles” of college through a camera’s lens. But for students actually living in the college world, it’s much different from what is shown in the theaters and on our phones.
Media portrayal of college, especially movies, tend to give an unrealistic expectation for how students live day to day. Generally speaking, these media outlets give impractical ideas for how college students behave. They frame them as constant party seekers, lazy students whose lives revolve around social media, and people with all the time in the world. When movies constantly frame college students as nonstop partiers without a care in the world, many students can and do take offense to it. So much stress and hard work are involved in a typical student’s lifestyle that it is unfair to act as though it is nonexistent.
Such is true in the movie “Animal House.” This film follows the story of a man joining a fraternity and some other personal experiences he encounters in college. Him and his friends are seen doing some outrageous things that no student would do on a day-to-day basis, and basically drinking their way through college. This interpretation of college life is wrong on many levels. Of course there will be students who get drunk and party on a pretty regular basis, but this particular movie makes it appear as if that’s what every college student does on every night of the week. In fact, many things that are done in this movie and others like it are actually felonies, and offenders could face serious fines or even jail time for committing them. These types of movies are simply not an accurate representation of the general population at college.
YouTube ads such as “How to Be a College Student,” show college life in a somewhat fake yet ultimately humorous way. Some of these ads do a good job of the judgements that are often associated with college students, and how many of them can turn out to be true. Obviously, many of the “steps” to becoming a college student in the video are overstated. However, they do show some real truths behind becoming a college student in a pretty funny way.
One of the most distorted views of college life in the media industry seems to be how much free time a student has. While it varies from person to person, most students have much less free time than movies are willing to admit. Juggling part-time jobs, relationships, study groups, homework and staying healthy is quite the ordeal. Many students pull all-nighters frequently just to have their homework complete for class the next morning. Although most students would love to be partying and lounging around all day long, that is simply not the case.
It’s important for students to not let the media’s perception of college cloud their vision of reality. Yes, college is a blast. But, it’s important for students, both new and returning, to not wrap their heads around the portrayal of college by the media industry. These perceptions might be expectations of many, but sooner or later they always come to find out that it is far from reality.
Lindsey Gibbons can be