Kegs, ragers at frats, plush campuses, a perfectly disheveled middle-aged professor to swoon over, boys-every 2000s film depicting the typical college life had these staples, so one can imagine the shock of then landing up in Indian public university and realizing that the aforementioned may have all been too good to be true.
Shows like the Sex Life of College Girls created unmatchable expectations of a college life bustling with enthusiasm, but the reality was disappointing. I entered DU, with crumbling infrastructure, disinterested faculty, and well, an all-girls college. The plush campuses were mostly replaced by an uncomfortably warm metro and auto ride, wading through the crowds of white collar workers. Moreover, the Western college myth perpetuated this idea of a constant sense of community and complete freedom, but this seemed false too.
In Delhi, most friends are scattered across the city, frequently occupying paying guest accommodations or hostels, so the idea of a shared dorm already goes out the window. Furthermore, a really important myth was of course, that of complete and utter freedom, from family and from parents. Most hostels or student housing, have curfews or restrictions to leave during certain hours. Moreover, these restrictions seem to be applied more harshly against women, sometimes understandably (Delhi is one of the unsafest cities in the world) but almost always unfairly. The infamous scenes of jungle juice at frat parties and sorority rushes are closely equated to DU fests, however, in recent years, they’ve become extremely unsafe, with reports of women’s colleges’ fests being attacked, tales of harassment but right-wing student parties etc.
This isn’t an attack on DU, but rather a sense of dissonance created by exposure to Western Media which glosses over the harsh realities, probably faced by most students in South Asian public universities, like that of finances. American uni experiences conveniently escape the discourse on student debt, how a lot of the glamor is usually resting on an exorbitantly high tuition fee, perhaps a tenth of what we pay at state school. Nevertheless, the difficulties of living on allowances, budgeting are often not depicted, while there is some justification that most of these are fictional accounts, they create unhealthy expectations of college life.
Finally, between all the binge-drinking and night outs, movies also fail to depict the loneliness of college, which for many of us is the first time living away from home. The difficulties adjusting to new people, finding friends, and really learning how to exist as an adult, make it less of a four year party, and more of life experience, with its fair share of highs and lows.
Image Credits: Movies Universe