College Urban Legends
Freshmen are known for two things: 1) eating their weight in cafeteria pizza, and 2) being clueless. Luckily, Sparkler ashcatash is here to help with #2. —SparkNotes editors
As a freshman in college, you'll find that you're the perfect target for tall tales and urban legends about your school. Not only was I told many wild stories, but I actually fell for some of them. It wasn't until a few years later (I'm in grad school now) that I realized how gullible I actually was. Here are some of myths passed around and told to newbies:
1) The college library is sinking from the weight of all the books.
This was one I actually believed for a while, but it is definitely not true. Even if you have an old wooden library stuffed full of encyclopedias, it will not sink. It may completely collapse under the weight and splinter into pieces, but it won't sink into the ground.
2) A psycho killer dresses up as ______ and murders ___ (number) of students every year at Halloween.
Please. Even when I was a freshman, I never believed this. If a psycho killer actually murdered people at a college, don't you think the newspapers and national television would be all over it by now? And if they thought s/he was going to strike again on a certain date, wouldn't they amp up the security a bit, instead of hiring just a few old men to ride around in golf carts? Not that people don't get killed on campus, and you should never walk alone at night in a deserted spot, but Michael Myers will not make annual visits to your school.
3) You get an automatic A if your roommate commits suicide.
Here's another one you hear a lot. Each school has its own policy concerning bereavement, and there is no national rule that says you will be awarded an A for the semester.
4) If the whole class is in on it, you can force your professor to teach standing on one side of the room.
Here's one that sounds believable, and is supposedly used a lot in psychology classes. You can try it if you like: when the professor is standing on one side of the room, act bored and uninterested. When he moves to the other side of the room, sit up straight, ask questions, and look fascinated. If enough students do this, eventually he will start standing on that side of the room as a habit, without even noticing what he's doing. I've heard of some students who even got their teacher to stand on one leg and play with the window blinds while teaching. It did not work with my government teacher, but then again, the whole class wasn't conspiring together, and maybe that doomed our efforts to failure.
5) Class is canceled today.
This is not a myth; it's a prank, and a very cruel one at that. Unfortunately, it is pulled way too often, especially on unsuspecting first years. If your class is indeed canceled, the professor or a college administration will notify you, either by email, telephone, or both. They will not give the message to one student and tell him or her to "pass it on to the others." I almost fell for this one (for the final exam!), but I double checked with the teacher and was told that class was still on.
Basically, use common sense, don't believe everything you hear, and when necessary, use snopes.com to verify or disprove stories.
What's your favorite urban legend? Have you ever fallen for one?
Related Post: Urban Myth Takedown!
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