I remember when I was younger and seeing different movies and television shows that were set at different colleges. They seemed so fun and made it seem like it would be the best years of my life. Everything I saw was mostly unrealistic and I was definitely surprised at the difference when I started my college experience. When the media portrayal is one of the only things we know about college our perception might be a little wrong. As a senior I can say that I have a good understanding of what college is really like compared to what the media portrays it as. Don’t get me wrong; it is still an amazing time and it does change your life completely. It just isn’t the experience you watch in movies or shows. Here’s a list of expectations that haven’t yet been met for me:
Dressing up for classes
To start off, this is one of the things I could never keep up with. I thought I would dress nice every day, do my hair perfectly and wear makeup. That didn’t even last a couple weeks for me my first semester. It is difficult to always look good, especially when you have early classes or have been studying all night. Sweatpants and sweatshirts are very common in college. Unlike high school, you don’t know everyone and typically people don’t care what you’re wearing. I’m not saying I wear sweat pants daily but it happens more than you think.
Not having homework
Whenever I watch something with college kids, they’re never doing homework. There’s the random times when they are but it’s usually when they have a big paper or have to study for an exam. The students are usually hanging out somewhere and not doing countless hours of homework like in real life. I personally have homework each night and do some on the weekends too just to stay caught up. There is time to have a social life though, just not as much as it is perceived in media. I wish I could do as many things they do in a week that doesn’t involve homework or writing papers.
Finding your perfect major
I can think of many movies and shows I have watched where the main character knows what they want to do in college and it actually works for them. Sometimes there is the person who struggles with an assignment and then questions their major, but it always works out and they are successful with everything else. I am the perfect example that you might not start college with the right major for you. I started as a medical laboratory science major and switched to a degree in English.
It was a huge switch and worked out perfect for me. It’s exactly what I want to do and I have been doing well with my classes. Usually in media the person gets to pursue their dream degree and does really well at it or if they do struggle, they find something else right away that works for them. Trust me, it’s okay if you take a few classes in a major you think is what you want and suddenly realize you would never be able to take four years of classes similar.
I started college thinking I could stay home whenever I didn’t want to because I didn’t have my parents there to make me go to classes. This is true, but it is hard skipping. You miss a lot more information than you would think. In shows they seem to be doing other things and never in class. The characters also seem to be able to skip whenever they want and don’t have to worry about the consequences. For my college, you get a few unexcused absences but after you hit your limit your grade is affected. So not only do you miss important things, your grade also is hurt. Skipping class is a thing in college but it isn’t as simple as it is in media.
The perfect college experience
There is also a misconception about college spread over social media. There are pictures all over social media sites like Instagram that make it seem like a fun and perfect experience. These pictures are usually wrong about what college is exactly like. People post the best things that they want others to see, so it is not always the truth. They portray things in a glamorous way that are never as good as they seem. College has been the best time of my life even though it didn’t meet the standards I saw in all types of media. It will be good for you too if you don’t set your expectations as high because of how it is portrayed to us since an early age.