The 5 Things to Hate About College… Aren’t What You Think Part 2

End of intermission.  Part 2 (still in the style of

3. Stereotypes (part 2)

As a woman, I am inclined to think that female college students get the shorter end of the stereotype stick, but if any guys out there have managed to stick with the article this long, feel free to refute that.  Debate and coffee at dawn? (I’m kidding.)

But, I see it everywhere.  My younger brother loves the movie The Incredible Hulk, and while I like it too, there is one scene (it might be only a special feature) which illustrates the college-girl stereotype perfectly.  Having gotten a job incognito as a pizza delivery boy, Dr. Banner has to deliver pizza to a female dorm.  The scantily-clad students try to get off without paying him for the pizza.  When he reminds them of the price of the delivery, they yell “Pervert!” take the pizza, and slam the door in his face.

Then of course, there’s dear old Animal House and the great scene with Bluto (John Belushi again) peeping at the girls having a topless pillow fight and a mostly naked Mandy (Mary Louise Weller) cheering herself up in the next room after a disappointing date.  Great fun, but about as accurate as an upside-down map.

Sorry to spoil the fantasy, but at least in my dorm, we don’t run around in our birthday suits, or Victoria’s Secret lingerie all the time.  No topless pillow fights, either.  And we’re not rabid, bitches in heat, waiting for a whiff of testosterone in our oppressive, all-female environment.  So hop in the shower, stick your head in the freezer, read the epistles of St. Paul, whatever will cool you down.

Fact is, we’re all too busy trying to keep up with our school’s demanding academic policy to get involved in those shenanigans.  If your GPA dips below a certain point, all your scholarships get yanked, and since you can almost buy a new car for the cost of each year, we ain’t gonna let that happen.  Oh, all right.  Statistics show that 83% of all people of both genders “cheer themselves up,” and the other 17% are lying.

2. Homophobia

In a way, this could be “Stereotypes (Part 3).”  Scoring about a  3 on the Kinsey Scale myself, I hate homophobia anyway, but—oh, the Kinsey Scale is basically a scientific measurement of one’s sexual orientation.  If you’re at 0, then you’re straight as an arrow.  The number six is gay as a daffodil, and at 3 is… gee, we don’t have any cute similes.  Anyway, if you’re still confused (and I’m not) check it out online or in a gender studies book.  But finish my article first, please.

Since my college is all women, a lot of people assume we’re all lesbians.  Again, sorry to spoil the fantasy, but no.  My two roommates were both 0’s (purely in the Alfred Kinsey sense of the number… otherwise they’re great gals), but I know people at school who answer to every other number, and yes, 6 is included.

My two dear roommates (I’ll call them Thing 1 and Thing 2), on the other hand, who are “members only” in my words, have caught more flak from the larger, homophobic community about attending a single-sex school than I have, and I’m mostly out of the closet as a bisexual. (There, I’ve said the B-word!)  Anyway, Thing 1 told me about when she went home for a break, a friend of her family, also visiting, asked her if she planned to get married after college.  Thing 1 said yes.  Then Old Nosey, as we’ll call the old lady who asked the question followed it up with, “To a man, right?”

Thing 2 has a similar story. Honestly, people… don’t you realize how dangerous it is to assume?  And can you keep your abnormally large noses in your own bedrooms, while you’re at it? Oh, what am I saying?  We’re Americans, and we’re physiologically incapable of minding our own business, as our post-WWII military activity has shown us.  President Coolidge got it all wrong when he famously said, “The business of the American people is business.”  What Smiley (yes, that was one of his nicknames) should have said was, “The business of the American people is someone else’s business.”  Or in somebody else’s business.  Ahem.

1. High School

Chances are good that you hate high school as much as I did: four years of the quasi-academic gulag.  Maybe we weren’t forced to labor in the mines, day in and day out, but it felt just as soul-crunching.  No matter what we did, our behavior was “intolerable”; we were “ungrateful,” “lazy,” and on top of that, ugly and our mothers dressed us funny.  Okay, maybe not the last bit, but you get where I’m coming from, right?  High school was a fucking nightmare.  I’d rather take my chances with Freddy Krueger.

And the nightmare was made worse because every jeremiad made by teacher or principal that didn’t end with the threat of juvie “where it ain’t no picnic,” closed something like this; “We’re toughening you up for college.  When you get to college, your professors won’t care if you’re alive or dead, and for the rest of your lives you’ll wish you were back here.”

That’s a lie!  Even in my large state grad school, the professors (for the most part– every barrel has the odd apple) do care about their students, don’t want them to fail, and express concern when something is visibly wrong.  The head of the department asked me what was wrong when I was shuffling to a meeting, visibly ill one day.  Back at my undergraduate college a professor I never had a class with made a point of having lunch with me when I was, apparently obviously blue.

And the college workload is… variable.  Class to class, professor to professor.  I won’t attempt to generalize the scare-tactics high schools use about the amount of homework and projects you’ll do in college.  You might have to fill out a worksheet once a week, and you might have to do 16 hours of extra lab work, besides what the prof has already assigned.  I’ve done both for the same guy in different classes.

Personally, I think my old high school was just looking for a way to keep up pliable until graduation.  Or I could be unnecessarily bitter about the whole experience.  Either way, it makes “Another Brick in the Wall” that much more watchable when you come across something to hate about the educational experience (


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