I blame television for my false expectations of university.
Remember shows like Beverley Hills, 90210 (Donna Martin graduates!), Saved By The Bell, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Boy Meets World, The O.C? I most definitely do. How could I not? I lived and breathed these shows. I followed Brenda, Brandon and the gang to university; I was there in front of the TV when Zack proposed to Kelly; I watched Summer Roberts dominate university while coping with the loss of Marissa.
Oh yes, I was there, watching and learning, maybe a little bit too much. Most, no, all of my ideologies and influences have come from these popular, American teen drama shows from the 90’s/2000’s. They showed me how to dress, how to act, how not to act, what I should expect in my high school years, and more importantly, what to expect of university (or college as these popular American TV shows called it). But what these shows did not prepare me for is the harsh reality of university, or rather University of Toronto.
First off, what’s with this three-hour lecture business? And why am I not dating a Zack, a Seth, a Brandon or a Dylan?
Oh, that’s right, they all have girlfriends. Because in university, everybody keeps the same relationships they had in high school. Yes, that’s right; in university, you stick with the same group of friends and marry your high school sweetheart.
Oh, and why hello there Mr. Feeny! Isn’t it such a strange coincidence that you’ve been my teacher/professor from elementary school all the way to university?
And what about commuting? No problem! Let’s just get Dylan to drive us to school in his Porsche.
Not only are you still friends with the high school gang, you have the same classes as them too! Yes, you will run into big bumpy rides in your relationships, date everybody in the group, have your friends send you to rehab and console you about your drug problem, but at the end of the day (and season), you all stay together forever!
HARSH REALITY: These damn shows lied to me!
The likelihood of remaining friends with the same people in high school, let alone attending the same university as them, is quite slim. I have only one friend from high school that attends UTM with me. Also, unlike the characters in these shows who attend universities in California – where the sun is always shining, and the beach is just a ten minute drive away – this is how university looks like to us in reality:
My professors weren’t my elementary and high school teachers (or my next door neighbour for that matter), and no high school sweethearts followed me to university. This is how my daily commute to school looks:
Turns out I spend more time watching these characters experience the best years of their lives, rather than experience it for myself.
Oh television, you are my life.