Ignore the mirage of college, pay attention to its reality

Be weary of certain portrayals of college students in movies

LAUREN ELLENBECKER, Evergreen reporter

As I see hopeful freshmen with bright red Go Cougs lanyards swinging around their necks, I can’t help but think about when I was in that same position as a freshman. I had no clue what experiences were around the corner.

It seems as if students anticipate going to college for most of their life and I can’t blame them. It’s impossible to escape the messages that praise getting a higher education. Does the song “I Love College” by Asher Roth ring a bell? It’s truly iconic.

Don’t forget the never-ending list of movies about college life, such as “Animal House,” “Legally Blonde,” “American Pie,” “The Graduate,” “Pitch Perfect” and so on. Every minute of these movies depicts a situation you’re bound to experience during the most important years of your life.

Logically, I was expecting to do a keg stand every night, — although I’m 5 feet tall and would definitely get alcohol poisoning — pull elaborate pranks, hear juicy gossip about professors and have excessive free time while maintaining relationships, academics and student-run clubs with ease.

Before coming to WSU, I was doing handstands like an Olympian to prepare for the dreaded kegs but I was met with a fat stack of books and syllabi instead. This is when the mirage of going to parties every night was disturbed and the reality of my college life settled in.

It only took a few weeks for my feeble freshman mind to morph into the mold of a desperate and determined college student. I noticed that some of my expectations of college living were wrong, but most of them were spot-on.

I discovered that nothing is more invigorating than pulling an all-nighter to finish an essay or being sleep-deprived in general. The buzz you get from two hours of sleep, alongside the five cups of coffee you’ve sipped to appear as a functional human, is truly one of the greatest highs on campus.

Better yet, with the caffeine pumping through your veins, you feel like you could take on anything or anyone and maybe you could punch a hole in a wall too. However, the one thing that can take you down is the reality of your student loans.

The aforementioned rush that carried you through English 101 or History 105 becomes a ball of pressure that burrows itself in your chest when the word “FAFSA” is muttered. Exhilarating, right?

At least there are college parties, but I feel obligated to give you a piece of advice. The moment you agree to be the party mom for your friends, sh*t hits the fan. The illusion of frats is ruined by your sobriety because you start to feel the stickiness on your shoes, the warm beer being spilled on you and the obnoxious attitudes.

Regardless of what you see on the screen or hear in music, your time in college is what you make of it. Clearly, there is some truth to the college life stereotype but view this with a grain of salt because being drunk and passed out in your lawn isn’t as acceptable as it is in the movies.