4 Films Every College Freshman Should Watch to Feel Less Alone

College can be a stressful time, akin to leaving your room and realizing you’ve left your hydroflask or having to intelligently participate in a class discussion for which you are remarkably unprepared. It’s not uncommon to feel alienated in this new space, especially if you are from out of state. Two years ago, when I was a freshman at Arizona State University (ASU) , I felt very isolated despite the fact that ASU Tempe’s campus has over 50,000 students and is situated in a bustling Metropolitan area.

The first year of college is associated with new beginnings, a fresh start where you can begin your adult life, right? But oftentimes it is easy to believe you are lagging behind everyone else.

The films I’ve compiled below are several which, upon viewing, made me and my perceived struggle with successful adulting feel seen. They showed me that the problems I was dealing with alone were pervasive enough to be portrayed on the big screen, so maybe it was okay I hadn’t figured it all out yet.

Please enjoy this how-to-feel-less-alone-movie-watchlist and when you’ve finished it, feel free to hit repeat.

  1. 1. Mistress America (2015)

    Raise your hand if your parents have called you every night since you’ve moved into your dorm and upon telling them you haven’t made any friends they’ve responded with: “Well why don’t you just strike up a conversation with someone in the dining hall?” which prompts you to retort with: “No Mom! You can’t just sit down next to someone and start talking! Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?!”

    If this is reminiscent of any phone calls you and your mom have had, Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s Mistress America is for you. It follows lonely college freshman Tracy as she braves the dawn of adult life with her self-assured, autodidactic step-sister-to-be, Brooke, in The Big Apple.

    Mistress America offers laughs, #relatable moments, and wit.

    Available now to rent through Amazon Prime, YouTube, and iTunes.

  2. 2. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

    Everyone loves a good rom-com with overt Holiday themes... (or maybe that’s just me).

    When everyone around you seems to be in a relationship it is very easy to get discouraged about your non-existent love life. Have no fear, however, Bridget Jones is here!

    This romantic comedy circa 2001 follows singleton Bridget Jones as she fumbles her way through romance and a laundry list of new year’s resolutions. Laugh with and at her as she continues to fall upwards over the course of a year in her early 30s.

    Available now via Cinemax.

  3. 3. 20th Century Women (2016)

    Although set at the close of the 1970s, Mike Mills’s 2016 coming-of-age drama carries themes relatable to many millennials. Based in part on the writer/director’s childhood and the many female role models who raised him, 20th Century Women offers insight into the challenges of figuring out your place in the world regardless of sex.

    Offering perspectives from both child and parent on the coming of age process, this film gracefully tackles themes of letting go and growing up. 

    Available now on Netflix.

  4. 4. Frances Ha (2012)

    My all-time favorite movie and absolute must-see on any watchlist is Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha. This modern gray-scale film feels like a weighted blanket you’ll never want to unfurl yourself from. 

    Although many universities push for freshmen to declare a course of study from the onset, it’s not often that young adults know what they want to do with their life. And even if they do, their life doesn’t always play out as planned.

    The film follows wanna-be modern dancer Frances as she struggles to establish herself in the field of her choosing. A woman with aspirations both grand and romantic (although not in the way that word implies), Frances will make you laugh and cry.

    Available now on Netflix and Showtime.