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College In The Movies: What Hollywood Gets Right And Wrong

As Janelle Sessoms says in NFM Magazine, college can be exciting because ‘There’s no more high school drama, no more waking up at 6 a.m. five days a week, and no more taking classes that have nothing to do with what you want to do. Finally, you can meet new people, get away from home, and take classes that are based on your interests.’

But when you watch how they portray colleges in Hollywood, you’d be starting your first year with some expectations about what it may look like. Yet, numerous things might be in movies about college. Of course, Hollywood portrays only the part that makes the movie look amazing. So, for instance, if you expect to just breeze through college life, you might find some trouble doing so. For instance, many college students find out that there is a huge need for college essay writer. That is due to the enormous amount of work that needs to be finished by a certain deadline. But let’s look at some of the wrong or right things in campus movies.

College movies: The Truth and The Mistakes

Usually, in Hollywood, colleges portray a life full of partying, fun times, joking around, and not being too serious about your responsibilities. They make it look like total freedom all over the college world. For instance, the ‘Animal House’ portrays college parties and provides great comedy material and some sense of nostalgia. Usually, it exaggerates some of the parts and doesn’t show the results that may come out of you trying to exercise your newfound freedom to an extreme degree.

Yet, when you go to college and experience it for yourself, sure, you’d see that there is a lot more freedom. Sure, lots of fun happens. Of course, there are parties. However, in between those circumstances, there’s a whole part missing. It doesn’t portray the stress you’d be experiencing from time to time due to trying to figure out how to do something, how to achieve a particular goal, or how to meet deadlines and expectations.

Going forward, other college-themed movies make somewhat better depictions of life in college, in general. There is, for example, ‘Everybody Wants Some’. This is one of the many movies about college life, but this one makes it a little bit more realistic. It follows the life of a baseball player and the beginning of his college life. It doesn’t sit great with all the people who’ve watched it, yet it does turn the attention towards some very common experiences throughout college students. It also shows the important effect college has in one’s life.

Here you’d see some characters who have been very talented in high school. Yet, when they find themselves in college, they experience the shock of discovering that pretty much everyone is talented. So, this movie shows the competitive nature of college and how it can make one feel untalented and not as worthy as the others. Indeed, there is a huge deal of competition that exists among college students, especially in top-tier colleges. There will be all sorts of talented people who are smart, driven, goal-oriented, and will want the best for themselves. Thus, you can easily go from being the best to being among equals. This is a part of the college experience that can do several things.

First, it might make you more realistic about how hard life can be, as it can prove hard even for people who’ve breezed through high school. Second, it will show you that someone is always better than you at something. This leads to stress, but if you see it the right way, it will prevent you from being arrogant in the future.

The same movie will show you how freedom and the time that is at your disposal might prove to be hard to manage. Indeed, there was once a strict schedule. You knew everything you needed to do, and you were a lot more under the control of others. But here, in college, there is a whole new scenario. For instance, you might want to pursue a career in the field of the best essay writing service. So, you’d need to put a lot of effort into your writing skills because the top-tier essay writing services utilize the help of professional writing graduates with a lot of knowledge in their sphere.

Photo via Pexels artist Ivan Samkov

One of the most common things Hollywood movies usually get right about college is the all-nighters. You’d pull many of those due to the immense load of work, social experiences, personal time, study, etc.

‘Good Will Hunting’, on the other hand, shows us a person who’s secretly a genius yet works as a janitor at MIT. His intelligence is being discovered, and he is set free to reach the potential he can accomplish. But in the end, he sees that he’s being pushed in directions he doesn’t want to go into. He finally realizes that he isn’t chasing what he himself wants. This is true about the college experience. You’d have to make your own decisions about your future and goals, and you might find yourself doing things because others want and expect it from you rather than going in the direction that your own dreams lie in. Thus, during your college time, you’d have to reflect on what you really want and if you’re being pushed by others or driven by your own goals, preferences, and dream life.

To put it shortly, here are the top myths about college in Hollywood movies:

  • College is only a big party.
  • Professors are either boring, strict, or inspirational (they can fall in a much more diverse spectrum).
  • All people are into frats of sororities (not true at all).
  • First-year students are tormented (also not true).


Yes, college life can be hard, especially since we’ve been conditioned to see it in one way or another in Hollywood movies. But they often exaggerate certain occurrences or neglect to mention others. So, don’t expect your life to be this of a Hollywood movie.

Many things were correctly portrayed, such as the freedom you’d have, the choices you’d need to make, the parties you’d go to and the friends you’d make. Yet others are far from the truth or not shown at all. There is a lot of pressure in college. Everyone there is talented in one way or another, and you are all striving to achieve your dreams and accomplish your own goals. Sometimes, though, this might prove hard. There may be many all-nighters and plenty of stress.

Sure enough, you’d have the freedom to make decisions, but you’d need to really think about those decisions, for they are going to be determining your future. You’ll have to make choices about your life in and after college, about what you really want to do and accomplish. There might be dissatisfaction when your college experiences don’t match up to what Hollywood has told you. But worry not because realistic college experience the way you’d live it yourself is much better that the one portrayed in the movies. So, don’t trust all the movies show you, but don’t forget that sometimes they do get things right.

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