The Best Movies About Student Life: Expectation vs. Reality

Not all movies about college are movies about student life: expectation vs. reality. In many cases, they’re simply movies about students’ glorified struggles and experiences, inaccurately depicting what college is like, forgetting its academic nature. But it doesn’t mean that all movies about a student’s life shouldn’t be taken seriously. Some of them are actually true – and these movies teach lessons about college expectation vs. reality.

Loser (2000)

College is a gateway to new friends, new experiences, and lessons – a pleasant adventure.

A day in the life of a college student involves dealing with all kinds of people. Although it’s fine to have positive expectations, reality sometimes can be cruel so it is best that you manage your expectations. Frustration and alienation become bearable when you do so.

Van Wilder (2002)

What is college like? For seventh-year student Van Wilder, it’s an eternal paradise of hilarity, 24/7 parties, and short flings.

A classic example of false expectations in movies about college, reality is even if you are wealthy, unnecessary overstaying is a waste of time, money, and energy. College prepares you for your future and you must cherish it – not get stuck in it.

The Animal House (1978)

Membership in a fraternity will give you all-access to wild fun and all sorts of action. College experience is lacking without it.

Fraternity membership can certainly boost your college experience, but it is not the sole source. Athletics, writing, debate – you are free to join whichever piques your interest. They genuinely offer the same learning fulfillment and mold you to be a better-rounded student and person.

Back to School (1986)

Success can be attained despite skipping higher education because many ultra-successful people reached the top without a degree. Is this true? Mark Zuckerberg immediately comes to mind.

Even if you become successful later in life after skipping or dropping out, returning for your degree is never a bad idea. Truth be told, when you return, college experience may be even more fun than what you would have experienced when during your first try. Plus, more positive college expectations may be more likely to be realized when you are not worried about anything else but studies.

Pitch Perfect (2012)

The college experience is more activities than classes and the latter can ultimately be salvaged by excellence at extracurricular activities.

This is a day in the life of a college student: 50% studying and reading, 40% writing, and 10% extracurricular activities.  Extracurricular activities can stoke your zest for your other passions, but let’s be honest – extracurricular brilliance will not lend help with coursework that’s due soon. Failing academically will make you ineligible to partake in anything in college. Worse, you could get dismissed – embarrassing, isn’t it?

Love Story (1970)

Movies about college frequently include the possibility of finding love. You know many older couples who first crossed paths back in college. You’re positive that the same fate awaits you – you’ll marry that someone whom you met and fell in love with in college.

College expectation vs. reality are in stalemate. There is a strong likelihood that you will eventually marry someone you met in college and chances are equally strong that you will also have your share of heartbreak while on campus. Again, manage your expectations.

Higher Learning (1995)

College, as adventurous as it is, is also a melting pot of beliefs, ideologies, and cultures. Cultural sensitivity and maintaining moral ground and are definite musts.  

College expectation and reality are strongly even in this respect. Diversity, opposing ideologies and beliefs should not prevent harmonious coexistence and limit the ceiling of learning. You will surely encounter people who do not share your beliefs and principles and so it is best to be respectful, tolerant and reasonable. Maintain moral ground at all times.

Dead Poets’ Society (1989)

A lot of professors can make their presence felt in the classroom. But there are also professors who greatly influence the way you think and how you perceive the ups and downs of life itself.

As much as you would like to be hopeful, professors like the one in the movie are few and far between. Professors intend to impart academic knowledge, not to be life coaches. Focus on the subject, not the professor.

EuroTrip (2004)

A common practice among fresh high school graduates to go on a road trip with friends as prelude to the wild, crazy, world of college. This has inspired dozens of movies.

This can be made possible with lots of extra money and if you are already decided what to major in. Otherwise, it is more likely that you will just spend the time before college figuring out your desired major and finding the dormitory that suits you. They are equally important, mind you.

3 Idiots (2009)

Ideally, college should be a breeding ground for your passion in life, the place where you hone your skills to prepare for real life – the runway to success, so to speak.

Pay attention to the word “ideally.” That is if all your plans fall into place and luck is on your side. If expectations crumble, then you must be flexible enough to make adjustments that fit your current situation. College is survival of the fittest. Survival skills developed in college can easily translate to real life skills.

If the pressure of college is gnawing at you, these movies about student life: expectation vs. reality should help. College is an enjoyable and challenging chapter of your life, one that will leave you with valuable experiences and readies you for your future, so a level-headed approach is a must – have realistic expectations, be adaptable, and exercise critical thinking. For best results, you owe it to yourself to watch the movies on the list.

Written by CelebMix