Movies about college were fascinating to us as high-schoolers because they offered an insight into the fabulous “college life” that lay in our very near future. We couldn’t wait to experience for ourselves what we saw onscreen as the bustling, social (and at times, reckless) college lifestyle. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited to be able to attend an institution whose goals were to educate but actually had so much more to offer in the way of beer, sex, and friends? But then we came to college and realized that not everything that Hollywood told us about Greek life, drinking, and (not going to) class was all that accurate. Don’t get us wrong—we still love these epic movies, but we’re busting their too-good-to-be-true portrayals of collegiate life with what we’ve discovered about college on our own.
Accepted: College is a place where you can make all of your own rules.
True, you’re on your own in college, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a complete free-for-all. Your parents might like you to keep in mind throughout your college years that universities do function by way of a grounded set of rules and regulations—including class requirements, student conduct, and the like. So no, people like Bartleby do not exist, and people don’t have the means to set up their own college like the one in Accepted… you know, the one whose name makes up that profane acronym…
The Social Network: You, too, can have 500 million friends like Mark Zuckerberg.
He truly gave us the greatest gift our generation could’ve asked for, so Zuckerberg is the only college student who should boast a Facebook friend count that high. As fun (or necessary) as it may seem to friend every person you ever see roaming your campus, be discerning about who you become friends with on Facebook. No one likes that kid who friends every student in his 300-person Economics 101 seminar on the first day of class. Just because you’re in a class that everyone takes (or, in my case, attempts to take…) doesn’t mean you actually have things in common with these people. You’re allowed to keep your friend list modest so as to prevent your Facebook newsfeed from looking like an extensive and detailed recap of the entire weekend come Monday morning.
Animal House: Greeks are incredibly disruptive and obnoxious students who party all the time.
Sure, some non-Greeks like to roll their eyes at those fratty, pinnie-wearing bros and the sorority girls completely swallowed in letter-encrusted garb—but whether you are or you aren’t a part of the Greek community, sororities and fraternities do add quite a bit of life to college campuses. From raising money for philanthropies to getting members involved in community service, Greek organizations can truly serve a school well. Epic movies like Animal House might like to make Greeks appear like wild beasts that guzzle (any type of) alcohol out of funnels on a regular basis, but Greeks do contribute much time and effort into making their schools and organizations stronger. But they definitely still have toga parties.
Old School: You can go back to college 10 years after leaving, no problem.
Lucky for Mitch, Frank, and Bernard, they got a second shot at college life—minus the whole classes thing? They lived it up again in Old School as men in their thirties and completely indulged in everything that college has to offer, as far as the party scene goes. But in real life, college doesn’t happen twice, and being a graduate student is certainly nothing like the glory days of undergrad. Although a few years from now we’ll all be willing to give anything to spend just one more night in a moldy dorm room if it means being reunited with college friends for an evening of Frat Row party-hopping, we’ll have to be content with the memories (or the lack thereof) we have from those days.