College: a hedonistic, fun-filled, beer-drenched place, depicted in such film classics as "Old School," "Animal House" and "Van Wilder." And who could forget the cinematic masterpiece "Sorority Boys?" However, when I got to Oswego State I couldn’t see any of the people or substances that were shown in those movies. Once I got over my disappointment over not meeting Michael Rosenbaum in drag, I began to think about all the other lies American movies and TV shows had been feeding us foreigners about college life.
The ‘meet cute’ is an established part of any romance film and is most often seen in American movies. The ‘meet cute’ involves the lead female and male roles meeting in a cute and interesting way that they can repeatedly tell their grandchildren about in the future. These frequently occurring situations lead the viewer to believe that, if you even sit down in a lecture, you’ll find yourself having a quirky, intellectual conversation with an attractive person of the opposite sex within two minutes. However, when I sat down in my lecture all the people around me seemed to do was take notes or sleep. That’s another thing that is strange about classes here, people not only turn up early to class but they actually read the readings. In Australia, we view readings as more of a recommended text that you could read if you have the time and there are no good shows on TV. American people must be too busy listening to the lecturer and actually learning to worry about the ‘meet cute’ potential of the person sitting next to them, or maybe I’ve just seen too many movies. As an Australian exchange student, I urge students of Oswego State to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to them in class, unless they smell funny or have Battlestar Galatica stickers on their folder. No offense to Battlestar Galatica fans, but normal girls just can’t compete with Tricia Helfer.
Until I came to Oswego State I thought sororities existed in this world of blonde, blue-eyed beauties with complementary lighting and designer clothing. But the sorority girls I’ve met have not only been brunettes but also nice, normal people. While I’m relieved by this, sorority parties being much easier to get into if the girls aren’t pure evil, I’m also a tad disappointed that potential movie moments now seem unlikely. I am addicted to the television show on Fox Family, "Greek," so you can understand what my expectations of sororities were before I came here. I also found out from a very nice vice president of a sorority that the sorority sisters don’t all live in the sorority house! To be honest, I’ve always thought that the idea of thirty girls sharing a house was madness, not to mention potentially dangerous, but I was a little disillusioned when I found out that only about eight or so girls live in the house.
Another element of college life that I have witnessed in many TV shows and movies is the long-established tradition of fraternities. These mythical places of beer, sports and walk-of-shames were depicted in basically every college movie. John Belushi’s "Animal House" was one film that my male Australian friends aspired to emulate, except with more barbeques and mullets. Before I left Australia, they made me promise to bring back a red cup from a real fraternity house party. So far I haven’t been disappointed by the fraternities here, though I am concerned about the lack of toga parties. I know I am only an exchange student here, but this problem seems even more pressing than the invasion of "top-knots." Might I suggest a task force be assembled to remedy this important social issue?
American movies and TV shows seem to show a better lit, more attractive cast and a more dramatic version of what real college life is like. Basically, like any other movie, it dramatizes and sensationalizes reality. However, I’m still disappointed that there’s no Kappie or Evan fighting over me. Oh well, I think the most important thing is that I haven’t seen Will Ferrell do a solo nudie run, so that’s something to be grateful for.