May 3, 2005

Graduation Will Not Be Televised

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It’s the last week of classes and graduation is almost upon us. Most graduating seniors are probably looking forward to furthering their education, venturing out into the workforce or learning that their philosophy degrees can double as toilet paper. As for me, I’m looking forward to being able to watch more television.

Go ahead and scoff at my mental indolence as you sip on your chai lattes in between spewing out quotes from Nietzsche and Kant, or bitch about never having the time to watch television shows in between barrages of exams. Whether you like it or not, we watch more TV than we think and it’s only going to increase once we escape these hallowed halls.

According to a report released last month by Nielsen Media Research, our “all knowing all seeing” eyes of the television industry, we college students watched an average of three hours, 41 minutes of television each day during the last year’s fall months.

In between watching all this television, going to classes, extracurriculars and sleeping, when did you kids find the time for social interaction, typically leading to the spread all those STD’s that Gannett Health Services has come to love and enjoy?

Well, as opposed to most Americans who watch television alone and with their hands shoved down their pants, college students tend to watch television in groups. From the sorority sisters gathering to watch The Real World, followed by a sexy lingerie pillow fight; to the sex-starved male engineers who watch Girls Gone Wild tapes and actually think that really happens; to the groups of guys who watch Ultimate Fighting and subsequently reenact the fights at Dino’s; television brings us all together. And, with the average television commercial lasting a little over two minutes, you’re average “minute man” can be done and satisfied by the time the ballgame comes back on.

In addition, much of the viewing occurred late at night, most likely during late night paper writing or exam cramming session. Apparently, nothing can motivate a student more than the grim prospect of ending up as a “perp” on a late night episode of Cops. Late night television is such a staple in the typical Cornellian’s life that late-night staple Jon Stewart is the popular favorite to be next year’s commencement speaker.

But surely this will all change once you graduate into the “real world,” where there is little time to deal with such trifling activities? Nope. In fact, the average American watches an hour more television each day. And, once we finally get our first paychecks, that money will most likely go straight to new living room furniture, a new flat-panel television or a TiVo box, all feeding our need for television.

Graduation from college will probably be one of the most important events in our lives, third to the Olsen twin’s eighteenth birthday and the second coming of Christ — a.k.a. Britney Spears’ baby. I will always remember my four years at Cornell by the major television events that have punctuated our tedious time here; from watching the Twin Towers fall, which I watched on the Cornell Store’s television display, to the last episode of Sex and the City.

But, while basically everything else will change within the next few months, be at ease knowing the fact that our good friend, TV, will always be at our side; never sexiling you from the room the night before an exam or urinating in your bed after a rough night of drinking. A place where, even in a sea of strangers, you will always find a familiar face.

Archived article by Ed Kim
Sun Staff Writer