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Comparing the reality of college life to its portrayal in books

Comparing the reality of college life to its portrayal in books

Becoming a college student is something we all looked forward to, especially bookworms who read novels that made it look so fun and full of adventure. Of course, just like everybody else, I fell for it. Many of us looked forward to becoming the main character. And, when college finally came, we were shocked at its difference. With that said, if an incoming college student hopes to have their main character moments, I apologize in advance because I will be bursting your bubble.

Here are the stark differences between the reality of college life to its portrayal in books

The dorms look glamorous.

Main characters in books set in college always have decorated and glamorous dorms. So, having your own space and decorating it to match your aesthetic is something that you are looking forward to in college. However, realistically, most dorms (especially in the Philippines) do not allow you to remodel or even redecorate your space due to multiple policies. Even if you are allowed to, your dorm will probably not stay as organized as before. (Thanks to your hectic schedule that compromises your time to tidy up.)

Tons of parties.

College-set books always include endless loud parties. So, it is only natural that you also thought of going into one once you are in college. Yes, college parties may happen. You and your friends may still go out at times. However, those are certainly not a regular occurrence in your college life. Most of the time, you will probably spend your night reading assigned papers, cramming on a project, or just getting your well-deserved rest. You just won’t have the time for it.

Non-stop city exploration.

The main characters in a college-set book who are moving into a new city always seem to find new spots in the said city. It’s either a coffee shop, a museum, or even a park. And, you also thought you would be able to find your spots in your new city. However, exploring a new city can be draining physically and financially. And again, your hectic schedule probably won’t permit you to freely explore anytime you want. So, although you might be able to explore a few places, you most certainly would have to chill in areas around your university and your dorm most of the time.

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Perfect outfit every day!

A college-set book will not be complete without that iconic character who arrives on campus with head-turner OOTDs. And, if you are deep into that kind of book, you probably have wished and will attempt to be like them in college. After all, dressing up when you are no longer bounded by uniforms should be fun. However, after quite a long time, you might no longer have the time and willpower (or the clean clothes, for that matter) to dress to impress. You just won’t have the time for perfecting your outfits either. I’m sure, you’d end up in a boring shirt and a pair of jeans – hoping they’re at least clean.


College romances are usually the highlight of most college-set books. After all, the phrase “there is more fish in the ocean” exists. You might have been one of the hopefuls waiting for that college romance to blossom. But, the truth is, romance is not that easy to find in college. Aside from people being busy with their academic affairs, instances of meeting a love interest are not as romantic as the books narrate. These four years will allow you to venture into different social groups, like organizations, for example. And, your best chance of having a relationship is probably with your laptops (to finish that paper).

Well… that reality check seemed a little pessimistic, right? Do not be disheartened, though. You could still enjoy and live your main character moments, just not as glamorously as you had hoped. After all, college is not just composed of fun and straight-out-of-the-books kind of moments. It will bring you hard and life-like experiences that, ironically, will give you more happiness in the long run. So, study well and do great at school!

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