Could Rory Gilmore's Freshman Year Happen IRL?

by Caitlyn Callegari

Say it with me, nostalgic college alums: nothing in your whole entire life, past or present, will ever compare to your freshman year of college. But, then again, what could compare to a life sustained on a balanced diet of jungle juice and ramen noodles? As you know, going away to school is a transformative journey rife with drama, shenanigans, growth, and poor decisions, and perhaps no show portrayed that journey better than Gilmore Girls. The reason Rory Gilmore's freshman year at college was compelling was because of its realness.

In a lot of ways, you could classify me as a "Rory" type. I wasn't the school valedictorian or anything, but, before going away to school, I was a much more shy, introverted, naive, goody-two-shoes type person than I am now. Watching the demure and soft-spoken Rory make the jump to Yale was something I could relate to. Before Yale, she had never experienced the real world outside of her protective Star's Hollow bubble, and my upbringing was similarly sheltered despite living a ferry ride away from Manhattan.

That said, I can draw quite a few comparisons (and contrasts) between my freshman year and Rory's freshman year at college, because watching Rory gave me all sorts of expectations that did and didn't come to pass.

DIFFERENT: Yale Vs. State School

Did you see the size of Rory's dorm room or hear the endless references to how rich everyone was? Not the case in at my school. We all went to the affordable state school of our choosing because we weren't rich. In fact, without our parents, we were all totally broke.

SAME: Having Trouble Letting Go

Real talk, I cried myself to sleep the first three days of college because I too, "missed my mommy."

DIFFERENT: Parties With Mom Present

While I did miss my mom (and dad) when I was away at school, never once did I invite them to come hang with me and my news friends as we got crunk illegally. And never once did she offer to host a hall party for me.

SAME: Living With A Bad Photo ID

I was crying in mine, y'all. Crying.

DIFFERENT: Knowing People With 5 Year Plans

Like Rory, my friends and I lived very much in the moment (although arguably a lot more recklessly than Rory did). It was a miracle at that point if anyone even declared a major. In fact, I didn't declare mine till second semester of junior year. Nothing like the last minute, right?

SAME: Impromptu Dorm Parties

Especially those that involved food. We kept the keg parties to the professionals, aka, the upperclassmen.

DIFFERENT: Renaissance Cosplay

Yeah, no. The only thing I dressed up for was Halloween and themed parties.

SAME: Random, Drastic Haircuts

There was a hairdresser that lived on my quad that gave haircuts for $10. How could I say no? New year, new me, and all that.

DIFFERENT: Calling Mom For Hangover Help

Firstly, she would not be this cool with it. Secondly, I was already pretty well-versed in how to nurse a hangover, sadly.

SAME: Learning The Ins And Outs Of Independent Dorm Living

For instance, in a dorm "tower" filled with 20 floors of co-eds, if you wanted to wash and then dry your clothes in sequence, like Rory asserted, doing laundry in the middle of the night was the only way. Girl knew what was up.

DIFFERENT: Weekend Visits Home Weren't Seamless Transitions

That first year, every time I came home for the weekend, I felt as if I was landing on the moon. I felt odd, out of place, and a lot like George Bailey when gets to see what the world would be like without him in It's A Wonderful Life. The separation of my life at school and my life at home was perhaps one of the most disconcerting things about living away from my friends and family that I had to learn to cope with and adjust to.

SAME: Difficulty Adjusting To Living With Parents When Moving Home For The Summer

At this point, everyone I knew was crying for their friends instead. See? Everything comes full circle.

Rory's freshman year of college in comparison to mine was spot in a lot of ways. Except for, you know, the whole Lorelai being my mom thing, her abundant altruism, and a lack of peers who were as expressly ambitious as those who Rory surrounded herself with. So should you take her freshman year as a learning experience for your own, whether you're about to enter yours or are years past it? Well, duh. There's nothing a Gilmore Girls fan can't learn from Rory Gilmore, no matter how old they are.

Images: Warner Bros. TV; TrueKazam (3), butterflilyn (2), Gilmore Gags (2)/YouTube; oy-with-the-poodles-already (2)/Tumblr