Myth #1: Good Will Hunting
In 1997, Good Will Hunting claimed that we could master everything we would go on to learn in college for the grand total of $1.50 in late fees at the public library. If college were only about what we learned within the confines of two covers, Will Hunting would be right. But, as anyone who has celebrated Hallo-Week where Halloween used to suffice knows, the college experience isn’t all about flash cards or existential papers. (Sorry, Mom and Dad!) It’s about roommates, relationships, mentors, dining hall disasters, the parties you go to, the ones you skip in favor of pajamas and popcorn, and above all, friends.
Myth #2: Love Story
An epic (and epically maudlin) romance is brought to life (and then spoiler alert: death) by Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw in the 1970 college flick, Love Story. Traversing snowy quads and social classes to be together, the pair falls deeply, saccharinely in love. And sure, while the movie might be fibbing a little when it suggests that MacGraw’s perfect, lush hair is even remotely attainable in Cambridge’s strand-frying winter weather, its real crime lies in spawning this lame excuse: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Nowhere is this pathetic, enabling maxim less relevant than in college, where drama runs high and whimpering is generally frowned upon. My sincerest apologies, Jennifer Cavilleri, but to quote John Lennon, “Love means having to say you’re sorry every 15 minutes.”
Myth #3: Accepted
Let’s start by pointing out the obvious: Justin Long and Blake Lively? Suspect. And never mind that no Board of Education would approve the existence of a school whose acronym spells SHIT, much less one with a curriculum that boasts “Bumper Stickers,” “Doing Nothing,” and “Walking Around Thinking About Stuff” as legitimate classes.
Oddly enough, of all the half-baked representations of campus existence — remember Animal House? Sydney White? The House Bunny? — Accepted’s version rings truest. For most of us, college really is a process of discovery. Fun fact: Did you know that a lighter roast of coffee has higher levels of caffeine than your favored inky, bold brew?