Four-year movie: A reflection of college years

Flocks. Flocks of birds, seagulls and whatever animals their schools’ mascots are. Flocks of high school grads incoming as I age as a college student year by year. I think I could qualify for the senior citizen’s discount at a buffet compared to freshmen these days.

They’re so young. It’s like back in elementary or middle school where kids in the grade below you started to look smaller as you’d become older and bigger. Either that or I’m simply getting old. I mean I do get bags under my eyes every now and then. But yes, I do see that I’m getting older day by day. I feel it in my bones. My left knee told me it was going to rain the other day.

What’s so fascinating about seeing freshmen get lost or nervous entering college is that it’s sort of like watching a college rom-com or young adult sitcom in person. You guys remember: there was Dawson’s Creek and Saved by the Bell. Then you had those high school, college comedies like 21 & Over, American Pie, Accepted, and almost every other film with Jonah Hill. There’s just something entertaining about seeing freshmen students walk into the wrong classroom.

It fascinates me how a freshman on the first day of school can get more excited about all the food the dining hall offers than paying attention to their instructor on National Syllabus Day, a day that pretty much makes the semester easy for students who actually refer to the syllabus and hard for those who don’t. That same dining hall that some of us grads, seniors and juniors have started to see as prison food over the years is just a quick reminder that freshmen are also ready to party.

Next up is the part where we compare college in real life to college on TV, right? I can’t tell you that everything you see in college-related shows and films is accurate because I don’t know. I don’t mean those films where college students fight off zombies or anything either.  

To clear the air of any confusion for the kiddos who still think they’re going to get laid and wasted every night like what’s shown in movies, a lot of it actually depends on the moment. And since there aren’t zombies involved, this makes the situation a lot more plausible.

Realistically, honestly and unfortunately, it’s not hard to get “laid and wasted” every night. Sex and dating comes naturally and booze is purchasable. It’s also not hard to fail a class.

Realistically, your professor isn’t going to give you the chance to earn a passing grade over a game of beer pong with you winning with an impossible shot in slow motion in the end.

Realistically, there is no epic background music playing while walking in slow motion in college.

The point to get across here is that while it’s perfectly fine to have a certain vision or imagination based on how college was portrayed to you, one thing to understand is that it’s not going to happen exactly how it was presented to you. Like it or not, the entertainment industry has a huge influence on us young adults, whether we are aware or not.

Georgia Southern University, especially, is a small college town, and each town has its perks.

You’ll get “laid,” but chances are you’re not going to have a cutesy or romantic Emma Stone House Bunny moment with a dramatic, scripted conversation. You’ll get “wasted,” but you have a higher chance of getting tackled by bouncers than becoming the most popular party thrower in the ‘Boro.

The flaw here is expectation. I’m not saying that you can’t have expectations of college. I’m just saying be neutral, or at least sensible, when it comes to having expectations based on the entertainment industry. As a senior in my final semester of college, I have no problem admitting that I was once one of those freshmen who believed my time at a traditional university was going to happen like something in a movie. It didn’t and I’m happy it didn’t. I let everything happen naturally.

Whether you’re an athlete, a Greek, a techie, undeclared, someone who doesn’t prefer to label oneself, or a journalism major with Hollywood dreams, remind yourself every now and then to take your time. Stay cool, calm and collected. Plan accordingly, but also open up to spontaneity. Clubs and organizations aren’t forced down your throats, but do keep in mind the importance of a meaty resume. Don’t rush anything, don’t sigh in class, and don’t let parties and breaks be the only things you look forward to.

Kill some time going to a random lecture with some 69-year-old speaker from out of town. Attend different events for the free food. Drag your totally uninterested friends out to square dancing lessons. Chase whatever dreams you have while taking your time.

Lastly, don’t worry too much about classes. Trust me. Just pay attention. You’ll be just fine. Seriously, I bet you can’t name at least one time you listened, paid attention, and properly followed instructions in class and still didn’t get a good grade. It’s okay, I’ll wait.

Four to six years will soar right by you as a Georgia Southern Eagle. As I finish out my time as an undergrad, there are both things that I wish I’d done and hadn’t done. College doesn’t have to be just like how it’s portrayed in the movies. It’s fascinating to see our young eaglets grow from being someone who was once amazed by there being a Chick-fil-A on campus into a True Blue senior who wears pajamas to class.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a major motion Georgia Southern picture. Feel free to sit back, laugh, cry, and witness the grandest stage of your own life movie, and remember, phones on silent.