Campus Life | On-screen vs. in real life

Campus Life is a biweekly blog about the everyday things happening around Pitt’s campus.

By Shriya Yadamreddi, Staff Writer

The reality of campus life is drastically different than what’s portrayed on TV shows. In some shows, college is shown as the best experience of one’s life and stress-free. In others, it is shown as the worst four years of one’s life and is always filled with doing some sort of work at the library. I can definitely say that it is a good combination of both.

As for academics, in some movies, students regularly skip their classes yet still seem to get good grades and pass. It is also shown that students are lazy alcoholics and only go out to parties. This is definitely not the case.

Before coming into college, to be completely honest, that is what I was expecting — for college to be the time of my life and for me to be able to do whatever I wanted to do, while still somehow getting away with an excellent GPA. 

For example, in “Gilmore Girls,” Rory is always struggling around the clock in Yale. She rarely goes out with friends, and is always seen working at her school newspaper and reading books. Obviously this is not the case in real life and she struggled with balancing her work. Her hard work throughout her college experience did pay off and she ended up with her dream job.

I soon realized that in order to receive good grades, but still be able to have a good time with friends, you needed to find a healthy balance. Some days could consist of being at the library or other study buildings all day, but other days you could go explore the city.

I quickly learned that studying continuously for multiple hours did not help me with where I wanted to be in terms of academics, because that only caused me to burn out. I also realized that being with your friends and going out multiple days in a row caused me to be very tired during the day, and get no homework done.

In some shows, new students that are just moving into their dorm make many friends on their floor, or are best friends with their roommate. I think this is one of the biggest things that is portrayed in an unrealistic way. I know multiple people that did not get along with their roommate, even though they were very close over text before moving in. Everyone’s schedules are different, and this can sometimes cause uncomfortable living situations. For example, one roommate could have an 8 a.m. class and wake up very early, while the other roommate is trying to sleep in because they had a lab that ran until 11 p.m. and then still had a pile of homework to do. 

When I was a first year, I was not very close with the girls on my floor. I really only hung out with my neighbor, who was supposed to be my roommate, but ended up living in a separate room. I know that the floor above ours got along so well to the point where they would watch movies together in the study lounge. Every college student wants that first-year bond because we all arrive looking to meet people and want a good friend group. Luckily, I was able to branch out and reach out to other people I met through social media and became close with them. I still know many people that are very close with their first-year floor friends and think it is amazing.

From my experience, I think that most college students in real life go by the “work hard, play hard” mentality. If someone were to spend the entire day studying for an exam or finishing all of their homework, they may decide to hang out with friends that night because they feel they deserve it. I think that’s the healthiest way to get through college. In some shows or movies, college kids are either only academic focused or only socially focused. Generally, no student is finding the balance to do both, which I think is not the best way to portray it. 

The college experience will be different for everyone. Who knows? Maybe you will end up like how they show it in the movies where you can get away with partying all the time while still getting amazing grades. Or it might be the opposite where you will have to work a lot to achieve the GPA that you would like. Either way, college is supposed to be where you learn about yourself due to the experiences you go through.

Shriya writes about the differences and similarities about college campus life in real life vs in TV shows and movies at the University of Pittsburgh. Talk to them at [email protected].