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Monday, 17th December 2018

AUC Expectations vs Reality: A Freshman’s Perspective

Posted on 06. Oct, 2015 by in General, Opinion



The moment we first set foot on campus, we all had our expectations of the American University in Cairo. We’ve all heard the rumors of course; the typical AUC stereotypes we were ready to come across. The young guys and girls who got more allowance in a week than a normal working adult earned in a month, the “daddy’s girls” geared with their Louis Vuitton and their Gucci, their nails polished to perfection, and the boys with their latest edition BMWs, only to park them at a disco, ready to party all night. At one point, there was even a rumor that there was a salon on campus to salvage all the hair emergencies that might occur when at university.

To say that the students of AUC have an infamous reputation would be an understatement. Throughout the summer before I started college, there were a few trademark reactions I would always get when I told someone I was to attend AUC. “What does your father do for a living?”, “I heard that it is all fun and games and you do not learn anything at all”, “Doesn’t AUC accept anyone?” or simply an up and down examination of my current outfit to see if I fit the criteria (I usually did not). These reactions annoyed me greatly and I felt people were judging me and my efforts in a wrong and biased light. It also got me even more scared to face what was yet to come on the battlefield known as college.

As I stepped foot onto campus, I was surprised to see most people looked quite… normal? From what I could see, people seemed very down to Earth and sociable. During FYE I met tons of amazing people I could see myself being friends with. Of course there were the Barbie girls I had heard so much about, but with a puff of smoke of their cigarette and a downward glare, they disappeared as quickly as they had come. I suffered through hours of very threatening lectures on academic integrity and plagiarism, yet all the same I found the experience enjoyable even with the overwhelming amount of information given to us in just three days. The people I met all seemed to be worried about the  things I was worried about. We were all confused as to which way we should let this university take us, whether it is our friends, our major, or even which food we would be eating on campus. It made me dizzy thinking of all the choices I would have to make each day.

On the last day of FYE, there was the club fair. I had no idea what to expect, but this certainly was not it. I had a mission to get to Cinnabon from my starting point near Cilantro where my friend was waiting for me. Without any exaggeration it took me an hour to walk a distance that would usually take a minute. With every step I took, an AUCian spotted me and like some sort of mix between a perky cheerleader and a vulture, grabbed hold of me, only to give me a 10 minute explanation on what exactly their club is about and for 10 minutes I would try very hard not to get distracted by the deserts I could see getting passed out a few feet in front of me.

My first few days as an official college student, I had caught wind about the news that the rest of the university was playing a game called “spot the freshman”. Honestly, I was intimidated by the big bad older students that wanted to bully us poor newbies, and I was convinced that I had to hide my freshman status and fit in, especially during the first few days. As it turned out AUC proved to be a confusing maze where I seemed to always end up in places where I was worried I would be kidnapped. It only took me a day to figure out that I would rather be an easy-to-spot freshman then a never-to-be-spotted again freshman.

Even though I’ve only been an AUCian for about a month, I can see myself evolving as I take in my new surroundings and the people around me who were far from what I expected. I know I will probably learn tons of life lessons throughout my time here, but my very first was to ignore rumors and stereotypes and keep an open mind. What you see might surprise you.