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Facing College’s sequel

Molly Griffin | Tuesday, May 2, 2006

College is a lot like the movies. I don’t mean this to invite the easy parallels to movies like “Animal House,” “Van Wilder” or “Old School.” On a deeper level, going to the movies is similar to the entire college experience. In both cases, you go to a place removed from the real world and experience something wonderful that only lasts for a short period of time. As is the case with both college and the movies, while you don’t want the experience to end, you’re also dying to find out what happens next.

After four years of working for Scene, I might have a slightly warped perspective on just how much life and entertainment interact. The fact that I spend an inordinate amount of time watching E!, going to movies or attached to my iPod just makes entertainment the lens through which I view most of my life. This might explain why there are – for me, anyway – a number of parallels between my time at Notre Dame and my favorite film, the French import “Amelie.”

Beyond the obvious French connection between their names, the way I stumbled upon what would become two extremely important parts of my life is fairly similar. I was only vaguely aware of Notre Dame as a institution for higher learning, much in the same way that I was only vaguely aware of the existence of the film “Amelie” in America.

Only by accident did I finally discover both Notre Dame and “Amelie.” I discovered Notre Dame when someone from my high school left his email address on my biology class whiteboard. I discovered “Amelie” when a friend turned on the television at her house and left the room inadvertently, leaving the movie on play for my amusment while I was waiting for her to return.

In much the same way that Amelie (Audrey Tautou) isn’t aware of the significance of the small tin box she finds hidden in her bathroom tile, I wasn’t aware of just how much Notre Dame and the movie “Amelie” would impact my life. I went from being the girl who had never been to a football game to your typical, run-of-the-mill “give me a topic, I will turn it into a conversation about anything Notre Dame” devout Irish fan.

While the film’s influence was a little more subdued, I did stay in Montmartre – where the film was shot – when I was in France. I also managed to visit most of the random places featured in the film, including the (now) famous café Les 2 Moulins. I also, ironically, stumbled upon that by accident – which seems oddly fitting giving the nature of the film.

Notre Dame and “Amelie” have managed to remain influential in my life in spite of some ups and downs. Notre Dame and I have had our moments, notably during the commonplace “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life” phase of sophomore year and the last games of the Ty Willingham era of football, but it has survived. “Amelie,” in spite of facing a barrage of new movies – and the fact that it is entirely in French with english subtitles – has remained a constant favorite.

While I will always be able to hunker down with my close companion “Amelie” thanks to the magic of DVDs, college isn’t quite the same. While Notre Dame will always be here and I can technically become a double, triple, quadruple Domer through the magic of graduate school, being an undergraduate is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The ultimate question, then, is this – If college is like the movies, then where does that leave a graduating senior like me and many others?

If movies have taught us anything, it is that just because a movie is over doesn’t mean it’s the end. Film franchises like “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” have shown us that there is another way to go for sequel that opportunities beyond the original. The story can continue in a sequel, and while the bad guys tend to get scarier and the plot gets a little hairier, sometimes sequels can be better than the original. All that we can do is hope that life in the real world, the sequel to college, will turn out to be a “Spider-Man 2” instead of sinking into a lowly “Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo.”

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