Essay 2

Michele Sargent

Professor Steven Alvarez

English 110

1 April 2012

 

College Representations and an Ideal QC

The American Idea of College Life

Several people in society believe college to be
all about frat or sorority parties, getting intoxicated either by ingesting
alcohol or by substance abuse, also by skipping class, and having fun. Besides
the party aspect of it, they also believe that the kids will get an education
eventually, after all the whole point of going to college is to get a degree
and start a successful career.

In this essay, I will argue that American representations
of college are somewhat different than society believes it to be according to
my experience at Queens College. So far it has been nothing compared to the
experience the following three videos portray about college and I believe that
the media is somewhat to blame. When I first arrived at QC I too believed that
college life could be slightly similar to the American version but I was wrong.
I heard that QC has a sorority house but because of lack of school spirit,
there aren’t many advertisements or posters divulging it. These three videos
describe an entirely different reality of college life in contrast with my own.
I would never be able to participate in student gatherings or parties because I
don’t have time to enjoy such events. I believe that when it comes to the
basics, an ideal Queens College already exists, meaning that I don’t often see
parties and crazy acts by desperate adolescents.

Three Accounts from
Films

In the film Accepted, the character
Gaines gets rejected to every college he applies for so he decides to break the
rules and creates his own college. With the help of his friend Sherman, who
unlike Gaines was accepted to the college he applied for, he goes to extremes
to make his creation look real. He builds a website, designs letterheads for
the acceptance letters as well as hiring his friend’s uncle to portray the
Dean.

As parts of the film trailer indicates, society and our parents
have instructed us from a very early age that we should go to college and that
we should somewhat feel like a failure if that doesn’t happen. According to the
film preview the character Gaines’ parents are eager for him to get into
college, and we can understand this when his father says, “You want to have
a successful life? You go to college” (Accepted). By saying this,
his father believes that his son will ensure his future by getting a college
degree, and also because it is widely believed that college graduates thrive
better in life compared to those who are not. The character Gaines actually
admits he knows what is like to be “rejected” and encourages other
students to being self-taught, by not having to attend any classes or face any
of the mandatory coursework. Some of these students are really surprised by the
concept as one girl asks, “there are no tests, required reading or any of
that nonsense?” (Accepted). Evidently this girl like
everybody else is fully aware of what college life should be like, but she
doesn’t necessary agree that it should conform to what society expects of it,
since she uses the word nonsense to describe the
standard school assignments. Apparently the character Gaines’ idea of learning
is so far from what society believes to be ideal, that it creates uproar among
the most traditional schools. When he says, “you don’t need fancy high
ground traditions or money to really learn” (Accepted). Gaines
is talking about all the Ivy League colleges that are so expensive and so difficult
to get into. He is also describing how unimportant those institutions are if
everybody were to adopt his method of learning. Unlike the film, my experience
at Queens College has been far from what the character’s belief of what the
ideal college life should be like. There are no self-taught classes and
students aren’t walking around with little or no clothes on.

The music video “I love College” by Asher
Roth describes the typical image of the American college life that’s believed
to be true and ideal by most teenagers because there’s a lot drinking and a lot
of partying. Asher also illustrates how a college student has many advantages
over the general population, such as only paying one dollar for a pizza slice
and also other advantages such as beer drinking, naked girls and skipping
class. Overall he is expressing his desire to remain in college for the rest of
his life and this shows that college is something to look forward to for all
those with similar thinking.

According to the music video, Asher Roth entertains the idea of
forever being a college student because of the social life and parties that
take place every day, when he says “I wanna go to college for the rest of my
life” (I Love College). Roth is reaffirming his feelings about
spending a lifetime partying, drinking, smoking and not having to worry about
the responsibilities of an adult, like having a job for example. His perception
of reality is warped, but if he remains in college he’ll never be aware of what
being a successful adult really entails. Asher is portraying the white suburban
teenager eager to have fun and admits that he “can’t tell you what he
learned from school” (I Love College), because he is obviously not
concerned about going to class. When he does go to class it is always for a
very short time maybe because he’s too sick to pay attention or maybe because
he is in a hurry to leave so he can party all over again. Basically Asher does
not want his college experience to end, since a crowded fraternity house where
everybody seems to know and like each other is ultimately what every kid dreams
about. Once he is part of this experience, he asks “Do I really have to
graduate?” (I Love College), because once he does graduate he
recognizes that the fun is over and it is finally time to grow up. Any white
suburban kid or any teenager for that matter, who experiences the college life
depicted in the video, would never give up such a life. This video is obviously
the utopia of every teenager coming out of high school, but it does not compare
to my experience at QC since I am not a part of a sorority and I don’t party
every day. Unlike Asher Roth’s character portrayed in the video, I actually want
to graduate and be successful in my future career.

Another film that demonstrates how fun college
life can be is the film “Old School.” A few grown men decide to create
a fraternity house just for fun. Most of them are married and some even have
children, but that didn’t stop them for trying to relive their past college
experience. Everything they show in the film trailer is about parties, school
mascots and the pranks they play on the fraternity pledges.

According to the film trailer a man with a successful career gets
a wake-up call when he returns from one of his business trips as he catches his
girlfriend with another couple in his bedroom. After that his friends decide to
cheer him up by first creating a fraternity and then throwing a wild party,
college style. In the beginning they insist that the frat house is only there
for their entertainment when they say ”we don’t take it too seriously” (Old
School),
they are not trying to hide the fact that such an idea is
ridiculous but they still go for it. Just like the typical college kid they
don’t take the whole college experience too seriously and everything just
becomes one big party. Even the married guys are very tempted by the whole idea,
but they are still a little cautious as one of them says “I promised my wife
I wouldn’t drink tonight”, (Old School),without a doubt this sounds
outrageous in a fraternity party, but to fit in he decides that one drink won’t
hurt him, and isn’t that how college kids behave nowadays? As they say in the
film, it is all about “the fun of college, but none of the education” (Old
School),
obviously they mean that this aspect of going to college is very
amusing even if they are not learning academically and to them the learning
part of it is not the important one. Again, what they show in thisfilm has
nothing to do with my experience at QC so far, I too have children but I am not
out there getting drunk and partying every night.

College Media Reassessment and my QC Experience

My college experience at Queens College so far  has been a pleasant one, even without parties. The videos above are the  complete opposite of my college experience, I remember maybe seeing a couple of  demonstrations by the students and I see them on the lawn reading or studying,
that to me is an ideal college and obviously not the ones depicted in the videos  I mentioned above. I too have complaints about Queens College, such as the wait  for tutoring, the college does not hire enough tutors and that results in long waits  and the lack of much needed assistance for the students. I also don’t like the staff  at Jefferson building, not only the Financial Aid Office, but Registrar as well,  they treat students with disdain and often times are not very helpful.

Besides the issues I previously mentioned, there are other areas in the college that could use improvement. The lack of parking space is one major problem that needs to be reassessed, also some of the technology is ancient, I don’t understand why we need to create so many usernames and passwords because we cannot use the same ones for all services that CUNY has to offer, such as CUNYFirst, My QC and our QC email. In my  opinion an education is essential in one’s successful future and none of the  videos above portray a college experience that actually provides such  education.

Works  Cited:

“Accepted” YouTube.UniversalMoviesUK., n.d. Web Sep 28, 2011.

“I Love College”YouTube. AsherRothVevo., n.d. Web June 26, 2009.

”Old School”YouTube.zhukaiww., n.d. Web Dec 15, 2009.

 

 

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