Thousands of teens all over the world are heading off to college around this time of year. It can be a pretty scary time, and turning to a favorite movie or TV show to get and idea of what to expect can be a fun way to prep. One of my favorite college-based series was always Felicity , which starred Keri Russell as the young and floofy-haired Felicity Porter who heads off to school in the big city of New York. It's one of the few shows that I can recall about teenagers, be they in college or high school, that shows the characters actually doing schoolwork, struggling to study, and even failing tests. Actual education is not a popular aspect of many other school-set TV shows, but that's just one thing about Felicity that makes it so realistic.
The first few days and weeks of college can be a pretty stressful time, but I didn't realize until a recent re-watch of the premiere of Felicity just how much the show perfectly captures the awkwardness and excitement of freshman year. In the pilot alone, there are a number of moments that really nail what those early days at a university are like. Teens probably get a ton of advice heading into college, but if you haven't seen it, here are 13 ways that Felicity perfectly captures the experience.
1. Not Knowing What Lies Ahead
In the opening moments of the pilot, Felicity is standing at her graduation, wondering what lies ahead. In voiceover, she says, "I suddenly had a horrible thought. What if high school went way, but the feeling of it did? I didn't feel joy, or sorrow, or anticipation...all I could feel was dread." It's totally natural to be worried about how you'll do in college or if you'll like it there,
2. But Still Feeling Inspired
The summer after graduation can be a whirlwind of emotions. You're excited but scared, preparing for college but also feeling like you don't ever want the summer to end. Sometimes, surges of inspiration, just like the one Felicity feels after talking with Ben, hit, and can be the kick in the pants you need to make something important happen. Felicity uses that surge to look into attending the University of New York instead of Stanford. What will you do with yours?
3. Feeling Like You've Made A Colossal Mistake
Felicity bails on her scholarship to Stanford to chase a boy across the country and instead attend college in New York. While that's probably not a thing most people do, it's not strange to feel like maybe you've made the wrong decision, should have gone somewhere else, or change your mind at the last minute. Second guessing yourself is totally natural, and you're bound to feel like you don't belong. Ben's forgetful reaction when he and Felicity first see each other on campus doesn't exactly help.
4. Being Totally Lost, Literally And Figuratively
When heading to a new city, or even just navigating a new campus, you're bound to get lost trying to find your way around. But feeling lost isn't just a physical sensation. You're bound to feel lost emotionally and stressed out as a result. Felicity sure did, especially because she had everything planned out for her already and then abandoned that plan. But, like her, you'll soon find your way.
5. Trying To Hold On To Home
By making taped letters to send to her friend Sally, Felicity tries to hold on to home, but not the home she shares with her parents. Rather, it's the one person that she feels is her family and understands her: her pen pal Sally. Whether you bring a stuffed animal, a favorite blanket, decorations, or a token from home, it's natural to grasp hold of and desperately hang on to something from home that grounds you. You might be surprised, though, at how soon you won't need it anymore.
6. Having Sudden Crying Fits
Adjusting to life away from home can be really freaking hard. Even if you find it easy, sometimes the tears just come. Overwhelming emotions can come on at the most inconvenient of places, just like it does for Felicity in the middle of class during her first week. But, if the crying fit hadn't come along, then Felicity wouldn't have met Julie.
7. Nabbing An Immediate Friend
Felicity meets Julie while crying in the middle of their class. You'd be surprised how many friendships you make in college that are forged over intense tears or laughter. But a simple act of kindness, like the funny note Julie shares with Felicity, can solidify a friendship for life.
8. Being Underwhelmed By Your New Living Space
Felicity's dorm room is pretty freaking sweet. In fact, her freshman dorm is probably the biggest I've ever seen on television. These, my friends, don't exist in real life. So don't be alarmed when you find yourself sharing a living space with another person (or more than one) in something like an 11x14 foot room. And that living situation gets even worse when you don't get along...
9. Not Getting Along With Your Roommate
My freshman year of college, I was placed with two girls who were already high school best friends who were completely different from me. Suffice to say we did not get along, at least not until two-thirds of the way through the year when one of them moved out and I got to know the other on solo terms. Felicity doesn't immediately get along with her roommate, Megan, either, but they do eventually become friends. It doesn't work out for everyone, but living with a stranger is a big shock to the system that prepares you for the real world in ways you don't realize until much later.
10. Wanting To Invent A Whole New You
College can be a totally tempting opportunity to completely change who you are. No one knows you there, so it's not like you have to stick to any personality traits or characteristics you've already defined for yourself in your previous 17 or 18 years of life. It takes a while for Felicity to embrace that chance, but hints of it occur during the pilot when she's talking to her guidance counselor about how much she loves art. For years, Felicity has planned to be a doctor, but at college, she, like everyone, gets the chance to explore other interests.
11. Being Oblivious To Other People
Felicity spends so much time thinking about Ben and worrying about Ben that she becomes totally oblivious to the fact that Noel starts falling for her. You might have an instant connection or initial attraction to some people you meet in the first week of college, but remember, you're going to be meeting a lot of people over the next few years. And who you leave school as best friends with might not be those people you met that first week. Don't count someone out just yet.
12. Wanting To Just Tell Your Parents To Get Lost
A lot of people's parents are going to want to check in on them constantly, talk to them on the phone every day, or even visit them pretty quickly. Felicity's parents come to visit her but have a whole ulterior motive to get her back to California. It's pretty sneaky, and their controlling nature is crushing. Going to college comes with newfound feelings of adulthood and independence, and your parents or family have to get used to that, but it might take them a while. But making boundaries isn't a bad idea, either.
13. Wanting Desperately To Leave
After freaking out on Ben and having a total meltdown, Felicity considers heading back to California with her parents. You might not have as dramatic a moment as she does, but somewhere at about the one-month mark of college, the shine and newness of college might wear off and you could find yourself wanting to head home, no matter how well it's going. Be it homesickness, or anxiety, or something else, I think everyone gets the urge to pack up and leave, if only for a little while. As Noel tells Felicity, "Stay in New York, or perish." You might find that sticking it out is way worth it in the end.
So if you're nervous about heading off to college for the first time, give Felicity a try if you're looking for something a little comforting to relate to.
Images: WB Television, Giphy