Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer's over, suckahs!

Happy Monday no-fun-day to all the ships at sea. For many in my world, today marks the end of summer. But Ryan, the temperatures outside are still inside the dreaded C&C Music Factory range (as in, they're going to make you sweat til you bleed), how can it be the end of summer? I'm glad you asked me that, fictional person who tends to ask me questions I want to explain to others. So many folks I know are either teachers or college students, and today marks the first time in a long while that they are forced to rejoin the daily grind...the one I don't get to leave for months at a time. In other words, I'm not feeling particularly sympathetic to their cause so much as snotty about them finally suffering again as I do. Mwahahaha.

In that spirit of snarkiness, here's a piece that will be running this week in The Reader's Back to School issue. One point of clarification: I would have expounded further on what I meant by "your professors are normal" had I been afforded the space. I love instructors so much I married one, take that as my mea culpa.

Do Not Try This at Dorm
Do not believe these 5 college movie myths

To those about to resume their schooling: congratulations and beware. No, this isn’t some screed against the liberalizing perils of education; you go right on ahead and fill that shotgun of a brain with enough fact buckshot to shoot down the ignorant and opinionated. This is just a friendly note telling you that film, the friendly fictional medium of our time, has lied to you. Like, a lot.

Myth #1: Your professors will be interesting – From Good Will Hunting to Real Genius to Wonder Boys, college-themed movies indicate that your instructors will alternate between inspiring and evil and will resemble either Gollum-looking trolls or former playmates. In reality, they’re largely forgettable…and this is coming from someone who married one (sorry, honey). Are there some mentors-in-waiting out there looking to push you toward excellence, some of whom passed up a lucrative modeling career? You betcha. But education is more about what you put in than expecting your professors to put out. Wait, that didn’t sound right.

Myth #2: Every living soul is in a sorority or fraternity – You can thank Animal House for spreading the most pervasive of college movie myths like fungus in a communal shower. The majority of humans you meet on campus are only familiar with the Greek alphabet insofar as they know gamma rays created the Hulk. Some campuses see a heavier influence by these collectives that espouse community service alongside keg stands, but by and large you will not be consumed by them against your will.

Myth #3: Nontraditional students are weird – Oh, Rodney Dangerfield, how your Back to School branded a whole breed of older education seekers. Honestly, some of the best, most dedicated and helpful students are those who belong to the demographic that loves Jay Leno most. They’ve been increasing in number lately, and very few of them can be expected to contribute to your experience via wacky high-diving shenanigans. In reality, they’re the un-Dangerfields: deserving of more respect for their commitment to improve themselves.

Myth #4: It’s sexytime all the time – It would be easier to list the movies set in college that do not feature near orgiastic parties that occur on the daily. Yes, you may walk in on your roommate bumping uglies. Sure, the air is thick with post-adolescent pollen spread eagerly thanks to newfound freedom. But it isn’t the University of Caligula everywhere. If you want to walk on the chaste side, you’ll have plenty of company, no matter what Van Wilder would have you believe.

Myth #5: Studying is an afterthought – Perhaps the biggest lie should be the most obvious: You can’t pass tests by having your buddy talk to you about stuff on a bus like in Road Trip. College movies celebrate the cram session like it isn’t a soul-crushing, gut-churning last resort. Chances are you are someone you love is paying a remarkably unreasonable sum of money for you to be where you are. Don’t expect the “morning miracles” promised to you by mythical movies.

I hope this helps. Also, I will not be accepting letters from angry nontraditional students who never study and sleep with their professors at frat parties.

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