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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

UB - My Hollywood Set

Yet another college football game. Nothing new for you. Cheerleaders to the left, footballers to the right, some crazy mascot running around fist pumping, and footballs flying everywhere.

Just another college day.

Not for me.

I'm going to give you a small snippet of my life story.

I come from the land down under. No I don't have a pet Kangaroo. No I don't wear a cork hat, and no one actually cried when Steve Irwin died, sorry to disappoint.

I've come to Buffalo on exchange. I came for all those cliché reasons; to grow as a person, to expand my horizons, to challenge myself. You know the drill. I also came because I wanted the real American college experience, just like scenes from Animal House and Van Wilder.

So here I am at UB, a long way from Skippy and the big red rock.

So far on my exchange I've been confused multiple times for a Canadian, something that concerned me since Canada is only a stones' throw away. I've listened to countless failed attempts at an Australian accent, been told that Australia is nothing more then a heap of Kangaroos running around a hot sunburnt desert, and had to explain to a boy that I'm not lying when I say Australians celebrate Christmas in the summer time.

While for many of you I've dismantled the typical portrait of Australia, to my surprise and delight, American college life has lived up to the pop culture stereotypes projected in films.

There have been several significant Hollywood moments in my few weeks here at UB thus far. Moments when I feel as though I am walking the sets of a classic college film.

The first set I entered was one filled with the blue and white pallets of UB pride. The college spirit here is like nothing I have ever seen. Back home, you go to classes and then go home. No one cares about the athletic teams, the student association or college council, and we don't have a cheerleading team, and even if we did no one would really pay that much attention.

We don't have a college mascot, partly because no one wants the job of dancing around in a whimsical costume that causes perspiration from a lack of air circulation, but mainly because yet again no one cares.

Back home students seen walking around in college apparel are often ridiculed for their lack of fashion sense, but here at UB, buy me a Buffalo shirt and I'll wear it with pride.

I had another American college moment when sitting on a beer-soaked couch clutching the glossy red coating of a Solo cup. They may just be a piece of plastic to you, but these red drinking cups are symbolic to the college party portrait and are themselves a tourist attraction. I've had friends at home beg me to send them packets of these plastic cups. Even I got pathetically over-excited when I consumed the contents of my first Solo cup. I blame this enthusiasm on scenes from American Pie.

Beer-pong is like a national sport here. You take pride in your ability to get a ping-pong ball from a to b, and why shouldn't you? Especially if the person is intoxicated at the same time.

Back home our drinking games require no craft or skill. We usually get enjoyment out of making our friends do something humiliating and shameful, something we can later use for blackmail.

Greek Life is another aspect of college that I only knew about through movies. In Australia, anything even remotely similar would be categorized as a cult and its members as freaks. Similar acts of brotherhood are usually reserved for drunken monologues at the end of a beer-sodden night. And wearing matching t-shirts with letters embroidered on them was something your mom made you and your siblings do when you were young enough for it to be cute.

Every day here I feel like I am walking on a movie set. I didn't anticipate college life to be so similar to the images I have grown up with through pop culture. I assumed that because the image most people have of Australia is so far from reality, America must be the same.

But UB has lived up to my Hollywood expectations. Although I am not sharing the corridors with Stifler or blowing Michelle's flute, at least I can say I've walked the stage of an American College.

Email: sophiehe@buffalo.edu


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