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The 10 biggest lies that movies told us about going to college

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NOVEMBER 05, 2021

Many of us grew up watching movies and TV shows such as Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls or Legally Blonde that painted a romanticized picture of life at college. My first three months at UC Berkeley this fall made me realize the unrealistic representation of college that Hollywood tricked us into believing. Here are 10 things that movies wrongfully made us believe about college life.

The lie: You’ll be besties with your roommate.

The culprits: “The Social Network,’’ “The Freshman,’’Road Trip,”Friends”

Hollywood really made us believe that you and your roommate were destined to live together, and that you’ll have an unbreakable bond. Sharing a room with someone does act as a forced bonding experience, and you may become good friends. However, don’t be disillusioned if this just isn’t the case. In fact, sharing a small space with someone for a year can become very difficult very quickly, and it’s important to explore campus outside the four walls of your dorm. 

The lie: You don’t have to study.

The culprits: Pitch Perfect,” “Gossip Girl,” “Monsters University”

I wish I had the time to fit in two hours of rehearsals every day, a random Acapella battle every night, cardio, a part-time job and homework. If only my days were as wildly exciting as Becca’s in “Pitch Perfect.” Instead, they’re pretty much made up of endless readings, lots of writing and a stressful to-do list. 

The lie: Your college dorm will look super aesthetic.

The culprits: Gilmore Girls,” “Gossip Girl,” “Zoey 101,” “Back to School” 

While Elle Woods is walking on her treadmill in her Harvard dorm room, most of us are struggling to find space for those new pairs of shoes that we bought last weekend. The dorms rooms are barely big enough to keep the essentials, let alone to style them with aesthetic decorations and fancy furniture. And don’t even get me started on how dark and stuffy it gets in there. 

The lie: People dress up to go to class. 

The culprits: Legally Blonde,” “Gossip Girl,” “Scream Queens”

Hollywood really misled me into bringing my cutest skirts, most stylish dresses and boldest boots to college. I actually find that on the days I decide to dress up, I feel like I stand out too much in a crowd of students who are too tired to bypass their regular oversized sweaters and leggings.

The lie: Every class takes place in a massive lecture hall. 

The culprit: “Girls,” “Mona Lisa Smile,” “Spiderman” 

UC Berkeley is a pretty big school, and there are a lot of really large lower-division classes. But even then, large classes are usually broken down into smaller discussion sections where you can explore topics in a small group setting. 

The lie: People have enough money to go out multiple times a week.

The culprits: Legally Blonde,” “Gossip Girl” 

A spontaneous shopping trip mid-week? A road trip this Thanksgiving? I think not. Most of us are struggling to scrape up enough money to pay for school expenses, so I’m not too confident that we’ll be going out for fancy dinners every other night. 

The lie: There are parties all day and all night.

The culprit: Neighbors,” “Old School” 

I really thought I would be at a party every weekend night. Most weekends, I’m so drained by the long week that I prefer to stay in and get a good nights’ sleep — and that’s totally cool here too. 

The lie: Super cool parties 

The culprit: Old School,” “Bad Neighbors,” “Neighbors,” “Back to School”

College parties: one of the biggest scams I discovered when coming to college. What I had pictured as an out-of-this-world experience with spectacularly designed houses and professional DJs turned out to be a bunch of students crammed into a very sweaty room while someone’s Spotify playlist is playing on a speaker. 

The lie: You’ll finally feel like an adult 

The culprit: Gossip Girl,” “The Social Network”

The Gossip Girl cast have really got their lives together by the end of freshman year. I really wish it weren’t the case, but I don’t see myself feeling that sophisticated by the end of the four years. 

The lie: Homesickness isn’t a thing

The culprit: Every college movie that comes to mind

The first few weeks of college were extremely difficult for me, and I couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that everyone I knew and loved was suddenly so far away. It took a long time to adjust, and unlike the college students on TV, my transition to college was emotional and challenging.

Hollywood has always been infamously known for its creation of false hopes and expectations. Yet despite all these lies, they did get one thing right: You’ll remember your college experience for life. Even if the dining hall is serving vegetable medley for the third time today. 

Contact Salma Sarkis at [email protected].

NOVEMBER 05, 2021

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As a first year myself who’s still very much learning how to make UC Berkeley their home, I had plenty of expectations before setting foot on campus.
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