Until you started touring schools, it’s possible that the closest you got to a college campus was the distance from your TV to the couch. If you developed your ideas about the adventures of higher education through the exploits of Cory Matthews and Rory Gilmore, it’s time to separate the fact from the fiction. Here are seven myths we see necessary to dispel:
Myth #1: “All of your friends will end up at the same school.”
When the characters of Boy Meets World went to college they did it in a big way—by literally all going to the same school. However, just because Cory, Shawn, Topanga, Angela, Eric AND Mr. Feeney ended up at the same school, it doesn’t mean you’re a freak of nature for heading off with nary a high school comrade in sight. The ancient adage goes “make new friends but keep the old,” which is playground speak for “weekly Skype dates!” Don’t let the fear of growing apart hold you back, best friends have a special way of staying in your life—even if they’re not living down the hall.
Myth #2: “Real life happens off-campus”
The characters of Gossip Girl go to school in the city, which is a good way for the producers to maximize glamorous scenes all around New York... and pretty much anywhere but a dorm or classroom. Well, if you go to school in the middle of nowhere (oh, hey, Maine) or the ‘burbs, a surprising majority of your life will happen between a few select points: dorm, library, dining hall, crowded basement…you get my point. If this sounds boring to you, it’s not! It’s actually awesome. You will be amazed how bustling a college campus can be, whether NYU or Cornfield U.
Myth #3: “Frats and Sororities are totally homogenous.”
The rush process makes sure that women and men end up in a good “fit” fraternity or sorority. However, with the way Greek contrasts Cappy’s KTs and Evan’s Omega Chis, the show makes it look like every member of Greek life fits into a certain mold. Greek life isn’t about putting people in boxes, and the best sororities recognize that sisterhood requires all types. Rushing is a good way to find your fit, of course, but don’t think that suits and t-shirts or sundresses and sweats don’t wear the same letters.
Myth #4: “Community college is for misfits.”
Some of the main characters on Community perpetuate stigmas against community college as somehow less serious than a 4-year school. In fact, the dean of Greendale Community College wants nothing more than for the college to be considered a “real” school. However, the idea that community college is a last resort is simply not true. Spending a year or two at community college is a great way to figure out what you want to do, pursue an Associate’s degree, and/or simultaneously work and save up money.
Myth #5: “You will find a college boyfriend.”
Yes, Rory meets Logan at Yale and romance ensues. However, you shouldn’t use this Gilmore girl’s experience as something to measure up to. Rory’s boyfriends were essential to the plot of the show—but a significant other isn’t necessary for the college experience. Many college guys (and girls) don’t necessarily want to be tied down by a relationship, especially in their freshman year. College is a great place to date casually and stay single; so, even if you do end up in a wonderful relationship, don’t do it because you thought it came with the territory.
Myth #6: “There will be a mean Queen Bee.”
Yes, Greek had Rebecca, and Gilmore Girls had Paris. However, Rebecca’s good side repeatedly shines through as her character evolves and Paris becomes Rory’s greatest friend at Yale. College isn’t divided into cliques like high school; it’s a large and diverse body of students who form relationships based on mutual interests. There is no concept of “popularity” on a college campus, although hierarchies might exist in individual organizations. If you find yourself in a group that encourages popularity and mean girl behavior, consider whether it’s hindering your ability to take advantage of your school’s spectrum of individuals and activities. Queen Bees can be found everywhere, but college makes them highly avoidable—even a small school is big enough to dilute the influence of classic mean girl types.
Myth #7: “Internships will be brutal and competitive.”
Correction: the characters of Gossip Girl will be brutal and competitive. Let’s face it, we don’t watch Gossip Girl because it mirrors our own lives—and thank goodness for that! Yes, Blair’s internship seems like the opposite of a walk in Central Park, but not all internships (even fashion internships) are that stressful. As a former fashion intern, I can tell you that it’s the personalities involved, not the work, that will characterize the environment of your internship. If you’re headed to college with the intention of snagging some killer internships, and TV has you intimidated by the process, fear not! Although you can’t control the attitudes of all the bosses you have, you can control your own positivity and kindness. You get what you give.