Students express college life through ‘The U’

Students express college life through ‘The U’

By Anthony Pickens

Students on campus are using their creativity to express the distress and pleasures of life as a college student through TV. “The U” is a sitcom written, produced and directed by two senior students who seek to show audiences the joys and pains of being a university student. Parts of the show include issues of adapting to the new environment as a freshman, dealing with troublesome relationships and setting priorities.

The Student Programming Council premiered the show March 6. Samuel Wofford, a senior from Dalton studying radio-television, said the show depicts challenges various students face while maintaing relationships, balancing responsibilities and adapting to a new environment.

Like the show “Friends,” there is no main character, Wofford said. Rather, he said it focuses on various character arcs, which are split into different fragments throughout one episode.

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Cordaro Mckee, a senior from Chicago studying marketing, said he wrote the show’s script during a summer break. He said most of his inspiration came from his own experiences as a college student. Students on campus really need something that conveys the struggles they go through, he said.

Mckee said he wants to encourage students to pursue their dreams and endure university life’s trials to reach them.

Christyan Cooksey, a junior from Evansville, Ind., studying sports administration, and Merlin Henderson, a freshman from Chicago studying radio-television, star as two of the characters who go through the ups and downs of college.

Cooksey said her character, Denise, encounters troubles as a freshman. Most of them, she said, come from her naive nature and the way it affects her relationship with her boyfriend. Denise shows she is naive because she is so gullible and is hasn’t learned how to discern when her boyfriend is being straight forward with her.

Wofford said Denise also struggles with self- confidence, as she was very sheltered. She tries to use her boyfriend to boost her self-esteem by seeking him to fill her emotional voids, he said, which becomes a problem for both characters throughout the show.

However, Wofford said Cooskey’s character experiences pleasures such as finding her own identity and growing more confident as the series progresses.

“I personally feel I’m too young to wrap my life around a boyfriend … She’s a freshman in college and she’s doing this,” Cooksey said.

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Henderson said his character, Robert, enters college with his girlfriend. While Robert is a very successful student who attends the university under a full-ride scholarship, Henderson said his girlfriend takes his focus away from his friends and sometimes interferes with his studies.

To add to his relationship’s stresses, Henderson said his character is bombarded with pressure from fraternity and club members who are trying to recruit him for their organizations.

He said Robert’s experiences relate to the struggles he has felt as a freshman learning how to prioritize. It’s the biggest lesson to take away from college, he said.

“You have to learn how to make decisions on your own that are uninfluenced by any outside sources, whether it be girls or male friends,” he said.

Mckee said Robert and Denise’s character derived from his personal experiences with his friends at SIU. Being around friends on campus and seeing their own struggles made him want to produce the show, he said.

Mckee said he relates to the anxiety and prioritizing problems Robert’s character faces. It is difficult being away from home and learning to make your own decisions as well as set priorities straight, he said.

Mckee said the experience of being in college helps to mature students and shape them into the person they will be in the future.

“(College) is about learning to mature and grow up as a person … We have no parents around so it’s about learning how to become you … That’s were we get ‘The U’ from,” he said.

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