San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

College as told by the movies

The most important college “movie moments”
Petey Dyer

It’s no surprise that young people today have spent a sizable chunk of their lives planted in front of screens, meaning that whatever preconceived notions they may have about the “best four years of their life” are largely based on information from the movies.

Cinema presents the American college experience as an epic beer-soaked free-for-all interrupted by the occasional class or two, that movie watchers can’t help but want for themselves, no matter how unrealistic it may seem.

While some of these films aren’t necessarily the subject material a film professor will be recommending anytime soon, they impact how these films stack up to the San Diego State experience, hopefully adjusting expectations and imparting some wisdom as well.

“National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)”

Recounting the exploits of an especially rowdy fraternity, “Animal House” is the definitive college movie. In addition to immortalizing John Belushi’s “COLLEGE” sweatshirt (a poster you can still find on dorm room walls) and the toga party, this comedy captures the camaraderie that students share. In reality, however, even the most dedicated pledge brother wouldn’t dare waste his meal plan money on a food fight. In college, food is a precious commodity.

“Legally Blonde (2001)”

Speaking of Greek life, Elle Woods has become the patron saint of sorority women. Elle goes to Harvard Law School to prove that she’s smart enough for her ex-boyfriend, discovering her own talent and independence in the process. Despite the flashy outfits, the film is a fairly accurate representation of what it takes to succeed in college. After the first day of classes, virtually every girl on the SDSU campus will be in yoga pants. Like Elle, college students have to learn to multitask, think the scene where she’s studying on the elliptical. College involves sacrificing aspects of your social life in order to be more than a “C’s get degrees” student.

“The Social Network (2010)”

The story of Mark Zuckerberg, a man that founded a multibillion-dollar social networking site from his Harvard dorm room, is proof that anyone can change the world. However, it makes college out to be a tougher place than it is. SDSU simply lacks the cutthroat, backstabbing environment that Facebook was famously born from. Take solace knowing that SDSU students in even the most difficult majors are here to collaborate, not compete. College is hard, so why not help each other? You jealous, Harvard?

“The Roommate (2011)”

Despite being panned by critics and mostly forgotten by the general public, the premise of this movie has managed to engrain itself in the collective psyche of kids that grew up in the 2000s. Chances are most soon-to-be college students have half-jokingly referenced this movie and brought up the prospect that their college roommate will try to steal their identity and then murder them. Rest easy because even the worst roommate horror stories pale in comparison to this nightmare. Most of the time, the worst thing a person can do is to get their roommate to start saying “hella.” Even if roommates aren’t on the best of terms, taking fair turns filling up the Brita shouldn’t result in murder.

“Pitch Perfect (2012)”

On behalf of the student body, please don’t sing in public. Besides that fault, this beloved movie can serve as an example of how to “do college” the right way. As cliché as it sounds, get involved. Whether it’s an acapella group or not, extracurricular activities help in finding smaller communities within a giant university. They add purpose to a mundane routine and provide an opportunity to meet people. A friend group should resemble the Bellas, a group composed of people with diverse backgrounds, personalities and interests.

Although the cinematic version of college isn’t completely real or completely fake, the college experience will be far more personal and leave students with “movie moments” of their own.

There are days when I wake up in the morning and just lay in bed not wanting to face life. In my defense however, the world is pretty bleak at the moment.

Bad economy, an orangutan as president, and I haven’t gone on a date since the seventh grade (just kidding, I took myself out last night to get ice cream).

The point is, I lose perspective when everything around me is a mess, especially my room.

But despite the hardships of newfound adulthood many millennials face, we have to maintain our perspective and find our motivation in life.

In my opinion, motivation starts with passion.

I’ve met so many people that go to college and graduate with a degree in a job field that they don’t end up working in.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but when you have a bachelors in biology and you’re making iced lattes at Starbucks while soccer moms complain about how slow you are, it’s time to reassess your life path.

A lot of the people I’ve met in this situation have one thing in common – they don’t have a sense of direction in life.

It makes sense why. All they’ve know in life has been the structure and stability of school.

From the moment you’re in kindergarten until your senior year of college, people all around have told you what to do, where to be, how to act, how to dress and how to think.

But when that all ends, society expects you to come up with your own life plan and stick with it.

Another writer on twitter put it perfectly when he said that young people are expected to act like adults and know what they want in life when just a few months ago they still had to ask permission to use the bathroom.

That struck me because until my senior year, my parents were my motivation.

After that, it was up to me to choose what I wanted to do next with my life.

Unlike many of my other friends, my parents didn’t pressure me to go to college and get a high-paying job, but that path still felt like the natural way to go so I enrolled in community classes.

For the first two years of community college, I didn’t have a sense in direction.

I was taking classes at random and hoping they would be interesting. It wasn’t until I took my first journalism class that I was able to form an idea of what I wanted to do. The subject interested me, but it wasn’t until after I joined the school newspaper that I realized how much I loved journalism.

After that, everything feel into place for me as to what I wanted to do in life.

I was lucky that I had found my path.

Journalism became my new passion and my new motivation, but some of my friends weren’t as lucky, even after they had graduated college.

The structure they had known their whole life had ended and they hadn’t found passion in what they had studied.

Their motivation was non existent.

But then it dawned on me, not everyone finds motivation through school or their work.

Even though some of my friends didn’t know what they wanted to do for their careers, everyday they did things that motivated and inspired them to get out of bed and be contributing members of society.

Whether it was traveling the world or focusing on health and fitness, they were doing things that fueled their lives.

In the end it’s not about following the same path everyone else did, but making your own path instead and finding your motivation wherever you can.

About the Contributor
Alex Noble, Staff Writer
Activate Search
San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
College as told by the movies