Hollywood may have you thinking that as a student you’re heading for a few Van Wilder-esque years of solid partying and hook-ups. Unfortunately, this is not (always) the case. In your first year you may find yourself cursing all the perfectly groomed students who seem to party their lives away on screen. After all, university is about fun and socialising, right? Wrong. Those things are part of student life, but need to be forgotten when it’s time to hit the books or the sports field. Don’t be afraid, Perdeby is here to save you from any misconceptions you have formed about university life.
Movies like American Pie and Van Wilder are full of stereotypical characters. Women, aside from the hot yet ambitious nerd, are portrayed as mere accessories to be displayed on the arms of the man who can consume the most alcohol without passing out. In American Pie: The Naked Mile, Eric Stifler and his buddies are surrounded by girls who can’t wait to strip down and make their every sexual fantasy come true. The Stiflers are living the dream. In reality though, most students who have the capacity to get into a tertiary education institution enjoy some stimulating conversation, with their clothes on. Freedom of expression is a right, but running naked through campus may not be the best way to exercise it.
In Hollywood movies, students spend a minimal amount of time in class and a great amount of time partying. Van Wilder certainly enjoyed his raucous seven-year college experience. If you follow this example, the chances of you passing are slim to none. Van Wilder had an assistant, you don’t. The results of your hedonistic behaviour will fall squarely on your shoulders. Classes are not always compulsory, but you need to remember the primary reason you came to university: to get a degree. So by all means, go drinking until you can’t stand or dance your night away at Hatfield Square but just make sure that you will be able to get yourself to class the next day. Coffee helps.
Sororities and fraternities are portrayed as one big alcohol-fuelled family that have your back. In Legally Blonde, Elle Woods and her “sisters” reside in the perfect nest of pink and their only worries are boys and their hair. In reality, res can be scary. You don’t know anyone, so the “sisterhood” is yet to be formed, or you have yet to be incorporated into it. Just hang in there – it won’t be long until you make friends who will give you all the support and guidance a first year needs. Friends who will walk into your room without knocking, wear your clothes and help you balance after you’ve had one too many cups of punch.
In films such as Van Wilder: Party Liason, varsity is portrayed as the destination rather than a stop along the way to success. Wilder is in his seventh year at Coolidge College and he shows no desire to leave. In fact, he makes sure that he doesn’t graduate. There are students who get hooked on the social atmosphere surrounding Tuks and Hatfield Square. The idea of an endless party certainly sounds appealing, but unlike Van Wilder who has daddy to pay the bills, real-life students may have to juggle jobs and university to pay for their education or other expenses.
At the end of the day, university is supposed to be the place where you find yourself. Don’t forget what you’re really here for but don’t take it too seriously either. If you work hard you’ll get to party hard too. So focus when it’s necessary and when it’s not go “Stifler” and drink your worries away in Hatfield Square.
Photo: Brad Donald