11 Times College Is Like 'The Hunger Games'
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11 Times College Is Like 'The Hunger Games'

A college student's explanation of those tense, stressful and potentially awkward moments on campus.

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11 Times College Is Like 'The Hunger Games'
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At this point, most people are familiar with the premise behind Suzanne Collins’ novel "The Hunger Games": A high-stakes competition of young people who are forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of the wealthy Capitol. While college is certainly not as violent, dangerous or horrific as Katniss Everdeen’s experience in the Games Arena, an intense feeling of competition can often be felt on campus in many different settings and scenarios. Here are 11 times that college can have the stressful, competitive, survival-of-the-fittest feel that are hallmark themes in "The Hunger Games."

1. Picking seats on the first day of classes.

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Everyone has that one seat that they prefer, whether it is in the attentive front row, neutral middle ground, or in the more relaxed atmosphere at the back of the room. Whatever your chair of choice may be, there seems to be an unwritten rule among students that where you sit on the first day of class is your seat for life. Better get there fast, before it’s too late!

2. Buying books at the bookstore.

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Once people finally realize that they’ll actually need their textbooks for the semester, the bookstore will undoubtedly be filled to the brim with students looking to rent or buy books. You have to be quick—there are only so many copies of "The Great Gatsby" to go around.

3. Getting the ideal shower stall.

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For me, it’s the third shower stall to the right. Don’t ask me why, but I will defend that shower stall until the end of time. There’s always that one shower stall that everyone wants to use, and during peak showering times, you might have to race to get it. Careful: wet flip-flops can be slippery!

4. Pizza day at the dining hall.

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Ah, pizza day. In the words of good old Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Yes, you get to eat delicious pizza, but you also get to wait in an insanely long line of your hungry, impatient peers who are all waiting for a precious slice as well.

5. Class registration.

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One of the most stressful times of the year. With everyone simultaneously trying to get into their top choice classes via online registration, there’s bound to be a plethora of people silently (or not-so-silently) cursing at their computer screens. Darn those pesky class size limits!

6. Room selection.

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I think it’s safe to say that almost every college student would agree that where you live and who you live with are two incredibly important aspects of college life. In other words, the room selection time could make or break your following semester. Housing lotteries without exception create a palpable tension in the room, and it’s bound to cause a few snarky comments and outbursts from the crowd.

7. Any event with free food/T-shirts/stuff.

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It may sound cliché, but it’s true: College students are all about free stuff. You’d better get it soon before it’s gone! (Anyone reminded of the mad rush to the cornucopia?)

8. Snagging a good study spot at the library during finals week.

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If you’re anything like me, you can’t properly focus unless you have the ideal space to study in. Whether it be that comfy chair with the perfect amount of cushion or that desk tucked away in the far corner of the stacks, it’s essential that you race to the library ASAP during finals week to claim your temporary territory.

9. Standing in line at the post office during the holiday season.

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So. Many. Care Packages.

10. Applying for summer internships.

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Application season for summer internships tends to soar by in a hectic flurry of recently updated résumés and countless "professionally" written emails. Of course, there’s also that sour taste of competition when you discover that someone you know has applied for the same position as you. Well, may the best application win!

11. Doing laundry on Sundays.

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Sundays: the one day a week when people finally realize how much work they’ve been putting off and actually get down to business. This includes laundry, which unfortunately translates into nearly everyone in the building trying to do laundry at the same time. Quick, grab your detergent and dryer sheet, because if you don't, someone will definitely take your clothes out of the wash in a desperate act of passive aggressiveness.

Are these scenarios exaggerated? Absolutely. However, it’s easy to see why in the moment, "The Hunger Games" might come to mind. Perhaps that says something about the way we handle competition, and that there’s some underlying truth to what Collins is trying to get across in her writing. On that note, may the odds be ever in our favor—we’re all in this together, after all!

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