Whether you’re going to school in California or Iowa, much of the college experience is pretty similar, making college-based humor funny to students nationwide. We think that’s why college memes are so incredibly popular, turning seemingly innocuous images into running jokes that just about everyone can take part in. Pointing out typical people you can find on a college campus, mocking interesting characters, and sharing experiences that just about everyone has been through is just plain good fun. We’ve collected 10 of the most popular and hilarious college-themed memes that were popular this school year, and we’re looking forward to seeing even more next year.
The College Freshman meme, also known as Uber Frosh, is perhaps one of the most recognizable college memes of all time. This is not a new one, but it’s still going strong this school year, with plenty of new iterations popping up on a regular basis. As a freshman, Griffin Kiritsy agreed to do a Reader’s Digest interview and photo shoot at UNH, and one particularly popular photo ended up on Reddit, where users created the College Freshman meme, poking fun at college freshmen everywhere as they attempt to try new things (and often fail). By midsummer 2011, this meme spread to BuzzFeed, Funny or Die, Memebase, and many more. Kiritsy has gone on to become a new meme, College Senior.
Starring the same subject as College Freshman, Griffin Kiritsy, Reddit users once again created this meme to share what life is like for college seniors. Thanks to a The New Hampshire (UHN’s student paper) article about Kiritsy’s experience as the College Freshman meme, a new, senior-level image was created that looks a whole lot like Kiritsy’s freshman photo, providing the perfect canvas for this new meme. The jokes shared on College Senior poke fun at senior life, like four-year plans turned five, and hanging on to the freshman 15. It took Mashable just two days in February 2012 to discover that the new meme had taken off.
Considered the antithesis of College Freshman, Lazy College Senior drinks beer and deals with senioritis. Originally created by Redditor ikotsur in November 2011, this meme really took off with nearly 10,000 up votes prior to being archived. Lazy College Senior has been so popular, there’s an entire F— Yeah Lazy College Senior Tumblr blog devoted to the meme, there’s a @LazySeniorMeme Twitter account, and there are more than 1,400 Lazy College Senior threads on Reddit.
Featuring Nola Ochs, a Guinness World Record holder as the world’s oldest graduate, Senior College Student makes fun of the idea of elderly students in a classroom full of much younger colleagues. Also known as Senior Freshman, the images take inspiration from senior citizen stereotypes, as applied to the college experience. Originally launched on QuickMeme in July 2011, Senior College Student took off and was adopted by Reddit, Tumblr, and MemeBase with hundreds of different variations. Senior College Student became particularly popular in the 2011-2012 school year, with plenty of love from blogs like Pleated-Jeans as back-to-school season hit in August.
Featuring a hippie college student complete with dreadlocks and a knitted cap, College Liberal depicts a naive, hypocritical college activist with captions like, “I’m against discrimination of any type/listens to rap music with lyrics about abusing women.” It’s believed that this meme was created in response to College Republican and is a continuation of Liberal Douche Garofalo. College Liberal got started over Christmas break on Quickmeme, but it really took off when it hit Reddit, featuring a caption of “We need to love and respect all cultures and religions/except Christianity,” earning front-page status and more than 7,000 up votes within the span of a week. College Liberal’s Quickmeme page has more than 4,000 submissions and is also known as Bad Argument Hippie on Memebase.
In Sheltered College Freshman, a wide-eyed young female student is completely naive to the nefarious ways of others in college, misunderstanding everything from drug slang to sexual innuendo. The original Sheltered College Freshman image from Sept. 5, 2011 features the caption, “You girls wanna go to a party?/Aww that’s so thoughtful of you to invite us!” Sheltered College Freshman has made it to Reddit, Buzzfeed, and UpRoxx, but has had trouble really taking off due to cease-and-desist requests: the original image came from a stock photo by Andres Rodriguez.
This poor guy, sometimes identified as Misunderstood Mitch, just can’t catch a break. Everyone thinks he’s a typical douche college student, but really, he has good reason for all the d-bag things he does. The original image from August 2011 explains that Mitch has simply popped his collar “to protect neck from sunburn,” an image that quickly hit the front page of the Reddit Advice Animals with more than 1,500 upvotes. Misunderstood D-Bag was quite popular in the fall of 2011, and continues to attract new iterations with more than 1,000 submissions to Quickmeme.
We like to think that Good Guy Greg is a college student, or at least a dropout that still hangs out with his college buds. Good Guy Greg is a lot like Misunderstood D-Bag, except that Greg actually gets credit for being a nice guy. Although Good Guy Greg emerged late in the 2010-2011 school year, his meme has lived on and become even more popular this year. In fact, Greg made it all the way to 4chan on Oct. 6, 2011, and subsequently, a “F— Yeah Good Guy Greg” Tumblr blog was created on Oct.14.
Created in late April 2012, Falling Bear gets extra credit for timeliness and topic. A photo of a tranquilized bear falling out of a tree on the CU Boulder campus is the canvas for this meme, with jokes ranging from bear-alien abduction to bears dropping out of college running wild. This meme has been super popular, with more than 1,500 upvotes and 400+ comments on Reddit within just a few weeks of uploading, Tumblr blogs Falling Bear and Bear Flop, and a wealth of Quickmeme images. We expect to see Falling Bear become even more popular in the months to come.
A new phenomenon in college memes this year was the creation of Facebook pages for individual universities to create their own campus-specific memes. Although the earliest known Facebook University Memes Page was created for Florida International University of Miami on Oct. 1, 2011, the trend really took off in February 2012, with McGill Memes, UMontreal Memes, and UT Texas Memes jumping on the bandwagon. Some of the most notable examples include NYU Memes, Stanford Memes, and Concordia University Memes.