Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Remember the movie Home Alone? A family accidently forgets their son when they go off on vacation, leaving the young kid to wake up that morning and find himself all alone. Now, while it is unlikely that this scenario would happen in real life, it does make for an entertaining movie. And after starting my first week of college at THE Ohio University, I realized something else about the film: it is a perfect mirror of college life.

If you have seen the movie, you are most likely wondering how a young kid setting clever booby-traps to save himself and his home from a couple of burglars mirrors college, but that's not the part I am talking about. I'm talking about the first half hour or so of the movie, right after the family leaves, when Kevin McCallister (played by Macauly Culkin) realizes that he is completely by himself, completely free to do whatever he wants. He has no parents or annoying siblings around to control him or tell him what to do. He plays loud music. He runs around his house and screams at the top of his lungs. He eats junk food, jumps on the bed, and stays up as late as he wants. He has no adult supervision to spoil his good time. Do you remember the part where he opens his front door, and then rides a sled down his steps, out the door, and into the front yard? He knew it was a dangerous and dumb idea, but he did it anyway. He did it because he could. There was no one there to tell him not to.

Any of that sound familiar? If you are a new college student, like me, on your own for the first time in your life, then it most likely sounds very familiar. No parental control...eating junk food...staying up as late as you want...riding a sled down a flight of stairs; if that isn't an ideal description of college, then I don't know what is.

However, Kevin's good time did not last forever. He quickly discoverd that he had to do his own laundry and clean up after himself. He realized that he had to buy his own groceries if he ever wanted to eat again. All the nagging chores that Kevin never had to do suddenly became his responsibility. He even began to miss his family, and saw how lonley it can be at times when you're on your own.

This is the ugly side of college life: doing laundry, buying food, taking responsibility for yourself. It really makes you wonder how your mom could do it for all those years. Kevin gained a new respect for his family and his loved ones by being on his own. He saw how difficult it could be in the real world. He realized that riding a sled down the stairs is not the smartest thing to do; in other words, he learned something. He gained an understanding of what it takes to grow up and be on your own. Isn't that the point of college?

College has the rair ability to be both terrifying and exhilarting at the exact same time. It's just like chasing tornadoes; the sight and spectical of the whole thing is unbelievably thrilling, but there is still that possibility you will get picked up and tossed flat on your face somewhere a few miles away...or something like that. And while you may not have to defend yourself against crazed burglars and criminals, you do have to pass chemistry, statistics, and philosophy 101 (which at times can be just as scary).

In the end, Kevin's family came home to find the house in one piece, the laundry done, and the refridgerator stocked. In that short time, he had grown up. He discovered why he couldn't stay up all night or binge on ice cream and pizza. He had seen the dark side of the whole "sled down the stairs" thing. In the end, he was better prepared to make it on his own.

Sounds like college to me.

Thanks for reading.


Charissa said...

Poignant and week of college has done you well. Go ahead and take it easy the next few quarters!

shopkins said...

Awesome dude.