Zero to Hero

From watching them as a child to feeling just like them as an adult, your college years are somewhat like the phases of a superhero movie. The word “phase,” in terms of superhero and science fiction, fantasy-related genres, refers to the stages of a superhero’s cinematic development, typically organized through order of film.

Take, for instance, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Typically, before a superhero becomes the superhero, he or she tends to start out as an underdog in the series’ designated niche.

Before Peter Parker was the Amazing Spider-Man he was a socially awkward teenager who faced challenges such as rejection and bullying. Before Steve Rogers was Captain America he was a frail, young orphan with hopes of fighting for his country. Before Freedom was the mascot of Georgia Southern University he was an egg.

Marvel has about three phases currently, with the exclusion of phases in production.

Phase One, or freshman year, focuses on the origin and early development of an individual student chasing his or her college aspirations while encountering and overcoming struggles on the way. Not only are you new to your university, you’re new to college life in general. Whether it’s schoolwork, work, health, social life, dating, or a team of angry students plotting to destroy all of the printers in the Russell Union computer lab because they never work, each student naturally stumbles upon his or her own type of antagonist throughout their time in college. Phase One, in a way, helps to identify your strengths and contributions to the college community.

Phase Two, or more commonly called sophomore year, is kind of like the aftermath of a freshman overcoming the first year of college. You survived all of your professors’ exams last semester, you sang in front of a large crowd at Unplugged in the Williams Center and you managed to eat at Landrum (oops, Dining Commons, excuse my French) for an entire year without dying. As your classes are getting harder and your social life is becoming more and more dramatic, your sophomore year focuses on what’s next to come. Who might your next antagonist be? Could it be someone, or something, by the name of 18 Credit Hours a Semester!?

MCU’s Phase Three (and beyond) movies are still in the works, and so is the rest of your college career. You got the hang of college in Phases One and Two. You’ve made allies, enemies, good grades and bad. You’ve accidentally farted loudly in class, you’ve gotten a ticket for going 5 miles over on Fair Road, and you’ve kissed your crush standing right in the middle of the eagle logo in the Rotunda. You control what happens in Phase Three and up. You control who stays and who goes. You control how easy or difficult your senior year is, and you set the stage at the final showdown called graduation.

With the rise in popularity of superhero (and villain) movies in the recent years, here’s to hoping some of you can relate. I can’t speak for all students, but I can speak for some. Comparing college to superhero films doesn’t necessarily mean fighting bad guys and saving the city. It’s simply overcoming your collegiate odds and recognizing your importance in this world, and I’d say that’s pretty damn super.