the real world

Spoiler Alert: Next Season on ‘The Real World’

1333904005936_3463943After a week-long reality TV binge, I discovered an entirely new talent worth pursuing: casting for MTV shows. Although I lack the personality traits of the typical reality show contestant, I have watched enough to know how to handpick the perfect cast.

Because of this, I would like to provide my own guide on how to select seven strangers to live in a house, have their lives taped and stop being polite/start getting real.

1. Everyone should have an affinity for going out and drinking. Potential cast members, this is the time when you should talk about your love for tequila shots in an interview. If you like to stay in some nights and curl up with a book, you are clearly in the minority of all people between the ages of 18 and 24 and therefore shouldn’t even audition. You should be ashamed of yourself.

2. Make sure that one cast member has been sheltered for most of her life, and likely to make naive comments. This person is likely to bring a lot of the comic relief to the show, albeit unintentionally.

3. Choose one member of the LGBTQ community, and one person who is “uncomfortable” with homosexuality. This person is probably from the South. This person may also overlap with the person from #2, and his/her discomfort may border on bigotry. The two will probably share a bedroom.

real-world-logo4. Select one cast member who is in a committed relationship. The other cast members will mock this person when they find out she (it’s always a “she”) doesn’t plan on hooking up while on the show. She will claim to love her boyfriend, but they will either break up preemptively because of their perceived long-distance relationship problems (mini rant: um, hello? you will only be long-distance for two months at most, so just chill out and enjoy a new city for a change!) or she will cheat on him with one of the other housemates.

5. Select one cast member who wants to be single and vows never to date any of the housemates. This person will fall in love within the first two weeks of the show.

6. The more explosive the personality, the better. Pick cast members who “tell it like it is” and aren’t afraid to confront each other.
7. Look for at least one person with serious emotional issues. Instead of referring him or her to a professional, cast this person on your show. He or she will quickly reveal his or her deepest secrets with the other roommates in a matter of days.

8. Select at least one male cast member who is clearly only in it to get girls. Chances are, he will bring a lot of young ladies back to the house, where they will make a mockery of themselves and maybe even boost ratings.

9. Select at least one cast member with a dark and hidden past. He or she will share this information with the cameras on Day One, but act completely shocked when he or she learns that the whole world is about to find out his or her secret.

10. Leave them in a house together with access to only certain bars, restaurants, stores and attractions. The drama will unfold on its own – no scripting required!

Readers, am I missing any of the core casting rules? Who would you look to cast?

What Senior Year of College Really Feels Like

I’m reaching the end of my second-to-last semester as an undergrad, and it seems that almost everyone I know (myself included) is going through a major quarter-life crisis. This year has brought with it a mix of emotions for many of us that are unlike anything we’ve experienced before, as we urgently question what we want to do when we graduate and struggle with the idea of what it means to grow up.

Often in high school, senior year ultimately boils down to a prom dress, a few questionable hairstyles, a last-minute SAT exam, the wait to hear back from college admissions, and the hope that your one guy “friend” will decide he’s crazy about you and, in a gesture as grand as any high schooler can imagine, send you carnations on Valentine’s Day. (Later on, of course, you forget the exact breakdown of your SAT scores, discover that your high school crush was interested in men the entire time, and recognize that prom was never a defining moment in your life as pop culture would claim it to be.) Although it feels incredibly important and all-consuming at the time, senior year of high school eventually fades into a distant memory that you’ll later claim to have hated all along.

College, meanwhile, becomes an exciting time of self-discovery and opportunity. You meet the friends who make you feel infinite, join organizations, and attempt to figure out what you’re good at and how to develop yourself professionally. You still fall for the types of guys your parents warned you about when you were in high school, only now they own suits and are a little harder to identify at first glance.

Senior year is a new ballpark, because while college itself is a glamorous night downtown with your best friends, senior year is a mess of emotions and scribbled-out schedules and lunch plans canceled in favor of finishing that last paper. Senior year is that moment when you realize that you might be too old to wear heart-shaped sunglasses or your Holly Golightly tiara in public, but you still store them in your closet with the quiet hope that maybe you can put them on one day when no one is looking. It’s the time when you stop accepting the advances of guys who only text you after 10 p.m. because – dammit – you’re an intelligent, complex individual who deserves to be taken to a nice restaurant or museum once in a while. Your most used topics of conversation with friends, family, acquaintances and the guy in the checkout counter at Publix? 1. Post-graduate plans (or lack thereof); 2. Where to buy business casual clothing; 3. “I AM SO STRESSED OUT RIGHT NOW.” In fact, your stress is both a source of pride and a source of grief for you.

I firmly believe that senior year of college comes with all of this craziness because it is a time of transition in our lives. We are uncertain of what the future holds, so we start to look backward with a mix of nostalgia and regret as we attempt to decipher the past four years of our lives. Perhaps four years from now we will look back at college in the same superficial snapshots with which we look back at our high school years today. Perhaps we’ll wake up one day and things will suddenly make sense, or maybe we’ll simply need to do a little more self discovery to figure out what it is we were meant to do.

From one college student to the next: I hope you are surviving your senior year and cherishing every memorable moment it has to offer.