Dispelling myths about the college experience

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By Mike Machian

TV, movies and older siblings have all painted a rich tapestry of what college is like. Unfortunately, most of what they told you is not true. Rather than finding out the cruel realities of college life on your own, you can read this and be prepared. But, if you like to live in denial, then please turn to the sports section.

1. College is just like high school but you can smoke on campus.

Before you start into a nicotine fit, let me clarify you can smoke in college. But college offers much more than increased opportunities for lung cancer. You can set your own class schedule. Sure, you could do this to an extent in high school, but now you are technically a student as long as you take one class. This greatly increases the amount of quality time you can spend with your boy/girlfriend or Playstation 2.

Also, there is no detention for not doing your work or skipping class. Instead, the teachers just fail you, which is much better than cleaning chalkboards after school.

2. Everyone you meet is an intelligent, enlightened person.

Many enter college thinking they have just entered a world like Thomas More’s *Utopia. Unfortunately, just like in high school and the rest of the world, college is filled with jerks and close-minded people. Fortunately, the ratio of those people compared to open-minded people is now the lowest it will ever be in your life, so enjoy it.

3. You will get laid every day.

Hollywood movies have us believing that even losers will get some companionship. So not true. You may not even get laid each semester or degree even.

4. You need to have your career planned out before you get there.

Chances are, while you’re here, you’ll meet one of “them.” One of those people who once they graduated high school had their entire college career planned out for them. They also have a job lined up where they will make more than the gross national product of your family. Going to class is a formality in the long-term plan of these geniuses. Don’t let them intimidate you. What you need to realize is that at some point you are going to find something you like doing. Once you have that figured out you need to figure out how to make a living off it. Until that moment of enlightenment comes, try pushing one of those geniuses down the stairs when they aren’t looking.

5. You don’t have to go to class.

Don’t forget the purpose of your mission. Although you can no longer get into trouble for skipping classes, you still need to go once in a while. If you don’t, you don’t get a degree. No one is going to be impressed by your almost degree. Even though you may have gone more years than someone with an associate’s degree, it still doesn’t count.

6. Most people finish in four years.

Lots of people don’t go to college more than four years. They just happen to have dropped out along the way and are currently pumping your gas. Your parents may accuse you of being lazy for taking more than four years, but you need to remind them of how times have changed. They didn’t have to deal with tuition that is now floating somewhere above $100 per credit hour, nor were they blessed with the opportunity to take such useful classes as University Seminar. The only people to actually graduate by the mythical four-year mark are those lucky few who had their tuition taken care of by mommy, the university or the Mafia.

7. With the shuttle bus, parking isn’t so bad.

Yeah, and the ozone layer is just fine too. Let me put it this way, if you don’t have a 7 a.m. class or a garage pass, you are going to do be doing a lot of waiting in you car. Or if you take the shuttle bus, you are going to be doing a lot of waiting in a bus. Either way, you need something to pass the time. Obviously you’re reading the newspaper now, but what to do after you’ve read every story two and a half times? Well, there are board games, do-it-yourself minor surgery kits or even homework.

8. These lists need to be 10 items long.

In college you can go at your own pace. I’m going to leave the 10-item lists to Letterman.

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