The movies got it wrong: The reality of high school vs. college

by Emily Cohen


High school is supposed to be just like it is in the movies. It is always portrayed as your glory years where you find your best friends for life, your first love, and make the most unforgettable memories.


Well hate to break it to you, but high school was nothing like that, well for me at least.


I went to a pretty typical high school, Calabasas High School. Yes, that’s right Calabasas High, Calabasas, otherwise known as Kardashian Country. No, I did not go to school with Kendall and Kylie Jenner and no, I did not run into J. Biebs on the reg.


But I will say my school definitely had a hierarchy, just like the movies, and that I was definitely not toward the top of it—you know where the cheerleaders and populars claimed their thrones.


I was more so one of those under the radar girls, people knew my name, but that was pretty much it.


Friday nights for me included staying home with the family for Shabbat dinner and catching up on sleep rather than hanging out at the Commons (our watering hole, if you will) or going out to a party at some kid’s mansion.


And weekends were spent mainly with my family or my friends where we would try out a new recipe for a dessert or watch a movie, or both. And I loved every second of it.


meme1                                     Yup, that's pretty accurate.


Living in the small city of Calabasas, and after going to school with the same people since I was five years old, by the time senior year of high school hit, I was ready to burst out of what we call the “Calabasas Bubble.”


Fast forward to college. After moving in and getting acclimated to the Chapman lifestyle after a couple of weeks, it dawned on me that I migrated into another bubble, the “Chapman Bubble.”


This bubble had a lot of similarities to my former one, except this one had a larger circumference and so much more to offer.


For starters, I had a whole new crop of people to meet and become friends with, including those of the male gender.


In high school, I barely had guy friends because most of the male population of Calabasas wouldn’t give me the time of day, and I am just naturally a girl’s girl. But boy was that different at college!


Next on the list, going out to parties.


As mentioned before, I almost never went out in high school. The one experience I had was a school dance after party where the people I have known since elementary school were making out in different corners of the house and sneaking booze in from the garage because the parental chaperones were upstairs making sure nothing “crazy” was happening.


If this is what all parties were like in high school, it made me overjoyed to know that I didn’t waste my time at them for four years.


So naturally I was a little skeptical when it came to college parties. And they exceeded my expectations by miles.


No, the parties at Chapman are not like the ones in the basement of a frat house at Indiana, but they were still fun. I got to meet a ton of people, play games, and just have an all around good time because I was with people that I liked and was experiencing a social life that I never had before.


Now come the academics. At first I thought, “Well I’ll be taking classes that I’m actually semi interested in, so they won’t be as hard, right”? Wrong. I’m just gonna be real, college classes are hard.


There’s so much required reading, professors are just plain mean sometimes, and they make it clear that they are not there to babysit you like your favorite high school teacher did.


Taking all of that in as a freshman on the first day of school just kind of shattered any hope I had. And looking back at work and analyses that I did back in the day just made me convinced that I was way smarter in high school, or at least it seemed that way.


Long gone are the days where A’s were easily attainable.




And of course, probably the hardest thing all college students have to learn when living on their own is balance and time management. Now that our social lives are completely integrated into our academic lives, and everything else we’ve decided to become involved in, we have to figure out how to divide and conquer.


Mommy isn’t there to tell you to stop watching Netflix and to go do your homework.




And she isn’t there to conveniently cook dinner for you or bring you snacks when you are holed up in your room studying for that giant exam you’ve been dreading.


We can’t go home anymore to sit down and focus because we live with our friends now, not our parents. And friends are always more entertaining than learning how debt is financed by equity which in turn needs to balance to your total assets. Sorry guys, business major problems.


Learning to compartmentalize and keep your sanity is a delicate balance often learned through trial and error.


Although college is nothing like the movies, well Chapman for that matter, it still soared over my expectations. I think the movies got it wrong. College is where I have met my best friends for life, and college is where I am making my most unforgettable memories.


Yes, high school was great, but college is even better.





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