One of my freshman comp assignments requires the students to pick a movie set on a college campus and analyze how it represents higher education. I've been using this assignment for six or seven years, ever since I was a grad student, and cheerfully grading paper after paper about movies I'd never seen. But now that I am a person with a middle-class income and a Netflix account, I decided I was going to watch all the movies. It was quite an experience. I kinda thought I knew a little bit about colleges, having spent almost half of my life studying and / or working at them. But now I see I had much to learn from the movies:
1) At all colleges, there are exactly two fraternities, one of which is populated exclusively by obnoxious, uptight preprofessionals, and the other by likeable underdogs. (N.B., the underdogs remain underdogs by definition, even though it is obvious from the beginning of the movie that they will win all competitions and the obnoxious guy's girlfriend. It's magic.)
2) Harvard Law School is very very very very hard. Unless you are blonde, in which case it is easy.
3) You can have a complete college experience without ever setting foot in the classroom or interacting with a faculty member. But you cannot have one without football.
4) All deans, presidents, provosts, and other authority figures are alumni of the college where they work, and have unfinished business from their undergraduate days. Most of them also have attractive female relatives.
5) Sometimes, your RA turns out to be an undercover Secret Service agent.
6) All classes are held in massive lecture halls with tiered seating.
7) Everybody who is not in a fraternity lives in the dorms, even grad students. All roommates dislike each other at first sight, but become bestest best buddies by mid-semester. (In the unlikely event that your roommate befriends you immediately, you should seek psychiatric help, because there is a good chance that you are actually schizophrenic and have hallucinated him.)
8) All colleges are either Harvard, Princeton, MIT, or imaginary.
9) The janitor is way smarter than you are.