old school

First Years, We’re Looking At You!

Sarah Glascott helps new students find their footing by suggesting they take their guidance from the silver screen.

Hello all you first years. I know you’re all feeling overwhelmed and excited mixed with a nice helping of being scared


senseless, but don’t worry! These college years will contain some of the greatest experiences you will ever have in your entire life. To help you get settled in, here is a list of some of the most popular movies based around the different aspects of college life (even though they aren’t all set in college). The main themes to look out for are: new beginnings, the unfamiliar, parties, and learning to live away from home. Luckily, these are all prominent themes in a wide range of literature and cinema, from our childhood experiences with the likes of Harry Potter to films aimed at the teenage to young adult like American Pie. There really is something for everyone.

The secondary school years are over but the majority of us grew up with the adventures of Harry Potter, whether through the books, movies or both. The extremely familiar adventures of ‘the boy who lived’ stay with many of us as childhood memories. However, the story offers some insight into living away from home and exerting one’s independence, relying on teachers for guidance – it sounds a lot like the first year of college. Living away from home is something most students living outside of Cork will do. It’s a completely new experience and can be daunting. Now we can’t all be Hermione Granger, but do try to attend your lectures and get your assignments in on time. Also, don’t be afraid to email tutors or lecturers, that is what they’re there for and everybody does it. Like Albus Dumbeldore said: ‘help will always be given to those who ask for it.’

The first thing a lot of prospective students think about when first entering college is the extended party it is. If that’s your thing then I suggest you watch movies such as American Pie and Old School – that is, if you haven’t already! These movies truly embody the party aspect of college, American style! The closest thing to that here would have to be R&G week. R&G week occurs every February and is definitely the best party week of the year. The proceeds from the numerous events are donated to charity; R&G week is, after all, a week to ‘Raise and Give’. To most students though, it’s a week to go wild and have fun, so if you want to know how to do it right, these are the movies for you!

old school
old school

One of the most widespread views of college life, however, comes from the TV show Community. The hilarious show is about Jeff, a disbarred lawyer who is forced to return to college to get his degree. He attends Greendale Community College where he meets a host of different personalities who are all thrown together to survive in the crazy world of Greendale. The series focuses on a group of seven students who meet for a Spanish study group. In spite of their highly varied backgrounds, personalities, values and reasons for attending college, they quickly form friendships with each other. An extremely well-crafted show with diverse characters and a good dollop of humour, this is definitely a show not to be missed! The greatest thing about Community is that it really gives a look at the wide range of activities and experiences one can expect to gain throughout their college years and how the people you meet, though you never thought you’d get along, might turn out to become your best friends. The person next to you in your first lecture who you just sat beside because there were no seats left? Say ‘hi’; you never know, they might be your valued companion for the next three or four years (and be the person who takes notes for you when you miss a lecture, a person to be treasured in college life).

I hope this selection will prove useful to you. However, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy your college years, whatever your interests, and get involved! Don’t waste your time here – these years really do fly by!