For some of you, the final day of this semester will mark the end of your university career. For others, it will be a celebration of one year complete, and a mourning of your fees free fun (welcome to the club, that’ll be 6 grand a semester from now on). For the brave, or stupid, this is the end of an undergraduate degree, and the beginning of a journey into higher academia. Regardless of your position, this week is the final one before exams, and the last run of classes keeping you from a blissful 3 months of summer, or a very sweaty, 40-hour week in retail.
I’ve been in a long-term relationship with my backpack, slinging the heavy bag over my shoulder for 16 years. I can’t imagine the sense of relief you might gain from throwing a graduate cap up in the air, reciting a practised goodbye to the institution of education. For years, film has graced us with this image of freedom. Legally Blonde was the movie that truly anchored this accomplishment in my head. Elle stood at her podium, embodiment of intelligence and beauty (both! no way!), kissing her law degree goodbye. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m going to end up more like Warner next year; graduating with honours, but with no romantic interests, or job offers. What? It is hard! Elle lied! Since I’ve allowed Legally Blonde to influence my perception of graduation so much, I figure there must be other film-based expectations I’ve carried into adult life. I mean, I know that High School Musical really set some bizarre hopes and dreams in my 16-year-old brain. How might Hollywood represent your upcoming summers?
Let’s look to this year, maybe for the most accurate depiction. After a particularly testing time, your partner might invite you on a trip with their mates. You don’t really love them, but you’re desperate to escape and spend more time with your partner. There’s a certain level of excitement amongst the group, with everyone ready to leave the city and see an eternally blue sky (instead of smoggy Auckland horizons). Once you arrive at the holiday destination, you are taken aback at the idyllic country scenes. Coachella can eat dust, because this setting is gorgeous. The attendees are also really fashion forward, dressed in flowy, white fabric, and donning glorious flower crowns. At one point, you are even honoured as the queen of the community. It feels like a relief at first, but the mid-summer trip turns sour quickly, due to a bad batch of mushrooms, and crazy, murdering cultists. You kind of get into it though, especially after you get revenge on your dead-beat partner. Yeah, Midsommar is a weird pick, but it’s so ~aesthetic~ I couldn’t help myself. If my summer is anywhere near as pretty, I’d probably consider joining the Swedish murder cult.
Okay, a horror film wasn’t a great example – picture this instead: you finally finish up university, with a wild graduating ceremony, and somehow have the cash to travel through Europe (guys, it’s pretend, we can imagine). You bid your best friends goodbye, and start off in Paris. You meet a dork in a leather jacket, and get… acquainted. They get a little clingy, so you jump over to the Greek Islands. Another suitor shows up, a blue-eyed romantic on a little boat. You get a ride to Kalokairi, in more ways than one. When you finally arrive on the island, you stumble across an abandoned house, and a babe on a motorbike. You fall in love, and create a life together, but eventually find out you’re the side piece. Left alone on the island, you’re forced to piece your life together, suffering from immense heartbreak. Wow, Mamma Mia 2 is sadder than I remembered. But, in this version of summer, you get to be as hot as Lily James. That’s fun.
That story is a little limited, mostly because you have to be able to sing and dance pretty well. Maybe a more realistic view of your summer is Adventureland, working a boring job, using none of your qualifications. You might meet some cool people amongst the weirdos, and fall in love, but the best part will definitely be working for Bill Hader. Or maybe hanging out with young Ryan Reynolds. Even if you are stuck indoors this summer, I hope it’s a good one, and I hope you can have some stress-free fun. Try to forget about uni, forget about work, and forget about the murder death cults that surround us. On your nights off, have another watch of High School Musical 2, and live vicariously through the wildcats in the best summer movie ever. What time is it!?