| 03.19.2018

One does not simply come to college – It’s aca-ackward


You’re coming to college, and omg, we can’t even. There are a lot of different references you are going to have to know from movies, songs, TV shows and so many more. 

Illustration by Danlin Li | Argonaut

Illustration by Danlin Li | Argonaut

The art of knowing what is important on campus can be daunting, but here is a handy-dandy little reference guide. Don’t worry, we got’cho back, bro.

TV shows

There is a wide variety of TV shows college students watch. Examples of the wide variety: one student could be watching “The Powerpuff Girls” in the morning and then “House of Cards” later the same night. There isn’t a happy medium, or true set of shows freshmen should be well versed in.

However, there will be many references to “Game of Thrones,” especially since winter is coming. It would probably be a good idea to brush up on you Stark, Lannister, Tyrell and Targaryen family trees, not that the Stark tree is very long anymore. Spoiler: Robb, Cat and Talisa are all dead.

Some Netflix originals, such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” have grown in popularity. “Orange is the New Black” is a prison comedy that I have resisted the urge to see… I’ll be curling up with Netflix to watch it very soon, however.

Jake and Finn, from “Adventure Time” are also prominent characters on campus. Whether people are walking around with Finn’s face on their T-shirt or are posting pictures with those wiggly arms the characters always do, you can’t escape it, just give in. Watch it.

Other cartoons that are watched a lot in college are “Archer” and “SpongeBob.” The juxtaposition between the two has absolutely no connotation. “Archer” is for those college guys and gals who want to learn the best way to get ants and find a new meaning to the Danger Zone. “Spongebob” is just this generation’s “Arthur the Aardvark.” Almost every college student has watched it, and watching it in college makes you realize exactly what all those subliminal messages meant.


Movies are a lot like TV shows. In different social circles, different movies are watched. However, in college there are no definitive cliques, so you should probably know a bunch of different genres, just to be safe.

That being said, one of the most popular movies right now is “Frozen.” The beautiful Disney movie that was the first of its kind (despite the fact that both “Mulan” and “Brave” came out before “Frozen” and also showed that princesses don’t always need a Prince Charming. But that is just a technicality.). More accurately, the songs, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”  and “Let It Go” are popular right now, mostly because people have made parodies of them. For example, “Let It Go” was made into a song about finals for the college goer. Elsa’s grades never bothered her anyway.

Another popular movie on the opposite end of the spectrum is “Anchorman.” It doesn’t  matter if you are talking about the first one or the second one, Will Ferrell’s performance is about the same in both. I don’t know what we’re screaming about, but it sure escalated quickly.

Whether or not you are part of the nerd or geek subgroups in society, you have to know the original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy as well as the “Harry Potter” series. It’s simply a must for any college kid. Eventually the trend will fizzle out, but for right now everyone still loves Samwise Gamgee, Legolas, the Weasley twins and Dobby the house-elf. Watch them for the first time, or the fifth, and they are all just as good.

The last movie that you should probably watch before coming to college is “Pitch Perfect.” The college A-cappella groups in this movie may not portray realistic college life, and might actually represent high school better, but Fat Amy is endearing and you don’t want to be the only one in the residence hall who hasn’t watched it, that would be aca-awkward.


Phrases are probably the worst pop culture trend to fall into. The old phrases were “YOLO SWAG” and “like” between every word to sound like a Valley Girl. Nowadays we  prefer to stop  the sentence before it is finished because nobody got time for that.

One of the most popular incomplete sentences is “I can’t even –” which is used to express how much you can’t take of whatever is going on at the moment. Robb Stark dies: “I can’t even — this — I can’t even.” You get a 50 percent on your first geography quiz: “I can’t even — (study).” Your roommate tries to argue the validity of creationism or evolutionism against your beliefs: “I can’t even — you are so — I’m done. I can’t even.”

This leads me to the next phrase: “I’m done,” or “I’m so done” or “I’m so bleeping done.” Basically, all this means is that you’ve given up on trying to explain or finish anything. It’s the up and coming Rage Quit, which is still being used, but less frequently these days. Saying “I’m done,” is just another way of expressing how frustrated you’ve gotten with trying to explain how a smart phone works to your parents.

The last phrase, “literally,” isn’t quite a phrase, but a bunch of people “literally can’t even right now.” People use “literally” way too often for things they should not use it for. The idea behind it is to emphasis that something actually happened or is happening, “He literally flipped the table,” for example. Generally though, the use of “literally” does not mean what it is supposed to mean.


Two necessary applications to have on your phone when you go to college are Snapchat and Clash of Clans. Most high school students probably have these already, but Snapchat is the main mode of conversation between friends on campus, “conversation” being used loosely in this statement.

Another necessary informative tidbit is you have to know what a hashtag is. In the old days this was a pound sign used in front of numbers to designate the phrase, “number” (see: The Argonaut is #1). People use them now because Twitter started using them to create groups of similar thoughts or ideas. Now they are all over the Internet, either being used sarcastically or in earnest.

The last random piece of knowledge you should know is: “Hump Daaaaaay!” This doesn’t qualify as a phrase, because people don’t always say it. What normally happens is on Wednesday morning someone you know will obnoxiously ask you what day it is. After you reply with, “Wednesday,” they will happily cry out, “Hump Daaaaaay!” This is all just a reference to the GEICO commercial which features an annoying camel.

That’s a good start to knowing all the references you will need to be aware of in college. Just know your memes and what hashtags are and you’ll be fine.

Claire Whitley can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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