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8 Ways Bridget Jones Is Like A College Student

When most of us were still in elementary school, a little film called “Bridget Jones’s Diary” stole the hearts of moviegoers everywhere. The film tells the story of a 30-something British gal named Bridget (played by pre-wax figure Renée Kathleen Zellweger) who lives her life like it’s perpetually the weekend of her 21st birthday. She drinks too much, smokes too much, sleeps with untrustworthy men, and can’t seem to figure out who she is or what she wants in life – all to the chagrin of her parents. Sound familiar? Of course it does, because there is a little bit of Bridget Jones in all of us! We may not have her fabulous accent or the ability to woo both young Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, but there are quite a few ways in which she is basically exactly like a college student. Without further ado, let’s throw on our bunny suits and get started!

1. Bridget & Social Anxiety

First up, social anxiety! Just like Bridget at a work event or party, social anxiety makes even the most outgoing of us incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. Sometimes you don’t know the people at the party or event, sometimes you’re nervously trying to impress someone, and sometimes you just have legitimately no clue how to interact with human beings anymore because you’ve spent three months locked in a library room doing your senior thesis. Either way, you are not alone.

Especially when you’re meant to be socializing with professors or job-people, there is just something about small talk in a giant room that makes almost everyone feel like they need to take several flutes of free champagne and go into the bathroom a couple of times to hyperventilate, you know?

Anyway, we’ve all had that moment where someone is talking intelligently to you or the group of people you’re with, and it’s going acceptably well. You’re laughing along with them as if you know what they’re talking about, noncommittally being a part of the conversation….and then suddenly they want to hear your thoughts on the subject. And then you freeze as your brain screams “Uh, um. No? Yeah, no. Rewind, rewind, rewind! I was trying to be a non-active part of this discussion.”

I’ve found that the best way to deal with this sort of social anxiety is to never leave the comfort of your bed unless there is definitely free wine where you’re meant to be going. Just kidding, of course not. That would be ridiculous. Instead, burn down the house if you’ve made even the slightest embarrassment of yourself.* Yes, you’ll end up with a record and possible jail time, but people will be so preoccupied with the fact that you committed casual arson that they’ll forget that you were awkward and didn’t actually know what century the Argentine War of Independence took place in. Problem solved.

*But actually just take a few deep breaths and locate the free alcohol. You’ll be fine and if not, you’ll eventually be confident enough to just smile, gesture blindly in another direction while mouthing something nondescript, and back away!

2. Bridget & speeches. Public speaking. Speaking in general, really.

On that same note, speaking in class or for school-related things is a kind of pressure that not everybody does well under. As much as we’d all love to be the girl who times her presentation to the minute, doesn’t need notecards to remember what on earth she’s talking about, and never has to ask the professor to help her with her powerpoint, the reality is that most people aren’t super talented at standing up and speaking in front of people.

If technology is involved, there will almost always be problems. Everything that worked before will no longer work when you have an audience before you. That is just how life works. The only thing you can do is prepare for it and, like Bridget, fumble through your speech anyway. Maybe with a bit more confidence.

But seriously, why is it that anything that you previously had felt so good about drops in confidence about 895% the second you step in front of more than five other people? What did people do in the days of yore before they could turn around, avoid all eye contact, and spend the entire presentation gesticulating wildly at the PowerPoint they’re reading off of?

I honestly think that Bridget attempting to introduce the book speaks to this struggle in a way that few movies do. Really. It also helps remind me that the good thing about being in college, unlike being at a work event, is that everybody else is so busy worrying about their presentation that they probably aren’t even paying attention to yours at all. Phew.

3. Bridget & dealing with intense emotions about boys.

Eat your feelings. Drink your feelings. Dance out your feelings. These 3 things make up the Bridget Jones remedy for dealing with Grown Up™ emotions. Have you ever heard anything more relatable, fellow collegiettes? We may wish that we all dealt with our emotions by making an organic smoothie with locally sourced ingredients, taking short/guilt-free showers, and spending our Saturdays hiking and yoga-ing, but the truth is that in college, you’re more likely to pull a Bridget to deal with hurt or confused feelings.

Just promise yourself that you’ll hydrate and refrain from putting sad song lyrics on Facebook. Also promise yourself that you’ll find a healthier way to deal with your feelings when you graduate, by taking up a Zumba class or adopting an abandoned pug or something. That way, when you’re sad, you can do some insane Zumba moves and cry into the little folds of the pugs neck. Squishy and comforting!

Side note: Please invite me, but only for the pug part.

4. Bridget & swearing self-improvement. And, similarly, swearing off men.

I was lying about starting that all after graduation. Today is the day you’re going to do what we talked about in the last paragraph. The Zumba. The organic smoothies. The eco-friendly showers. The hiking. Maybe not the pug just yet.

It is a universally known truth that everyone has a moment, about once or twice a semester, when you realize that all the on-campus food mixed with boy troubles and too much fun on the weekends is taking roughly 3.7 years off of your life. All of this, especially boys, can unintentionally be emotionally exhausting and thus detrimental to your overall well-being. So if you’re like me, you take a vow to take time off from romantically involving yourself with a member of the male species. You try to eat healthier and make better choices in general. You flip through Instagram photos of health gurus at 3:14 am on a Thursday, wondering if the chins you pose with on Snapchat will become too effortless too soon. You actually consider buying non-Forever 21 sports bras and taking up jogging. It is a time of intense emotional renewal…kind of.

Check out this sleek book montage. We might not have quite the same snazzy literary collection as Bridget, but I would say that the modern-day equivalent to the first one is reading articles about “what men want” on the internet. Just say no to all that rubbish! Erase your browser history and stop caring about what those articles say or what men care about. Wear your high waisted shorts, girl! Practice self-care. Buy yourself a onesie with a design of your choice as an act of self-love.

But really, where can one purchase “Women Who Love Men Are Mad” so it can be handed out like religious pamphlets in the quad at lunchtime before the semester ends? Asking for a friend.

5. Bridget & being too old to be a mess after a night out but being one anyway.

As a junior or senior in college, you know how a responsible weekend goes. You know to drink H2O, you know to stick with a buddy if you go anywhere unfamiliar, and you know that nobody except your friend group and your long-distance relatives care about your Facebook photos of the night. And yet…there are still moments when you will end up forgetting one of those and dozing off for a little nap on a couch at a house party with a frantic housemate begging you to remove yourself at 2 am. Hey, it happens.

Basically, in these sorts of moments, we’re all just Bridget Jones, falling out of a cab outside of her flat when she is old enough to know better. What matters is what happens after we hit the ground (or couch), friends. Staggering up, dusting yourself off, (being taken back to your room by frantic housemate who you don’t really know that well), drinking water, and reflecting on how you will avoid the same mistakes next time…these are the important lessons. Let’s take a moment and remember that.

6. Bridget Jones & interviews.

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t struggle with interviews? If so, reveal yourself. And then shoot me an e-mail, because I could really use your help as a second semester senior.* Yeah, so basically everyone fumbles their way through questions about themselves and their capabilities. For example, when I get asked what my biggest weakness is, I always instinctively end up saying “Caring too much. About pizza.” It’s the truth, but they want to hear about my practical skills, not my fondness for Italian food.

If you’re stressing, keep calm and take a note from Bridget and just be upfront and honest about why you want the job!

Do: be direct, be positive, be engaging. Don’t: lie.

Let’s take after Bridget and start being as honest as we can be without directly whispering “I cannot be unemployed, my mother turned my room into her office.”

*Yes, I’m a senior. My time is nearly up, the darkness is closing in, will someone lend me their pug to cuddle please etc. etc.

7. Bridget & running into everyone all the time.

If you’re an Oxy student, you know that the campus is small. Like, small small. Out-of-shape me can run from one end to another in about 14 minutes, which is about 7 minutes for the average person. So, like myself, you might find Bridget running into Darcy at various places (which happens several times over the course of the film) weirdly comforting and familiar.

Bridget has been there. She knows. She understands the struggle of small talk and eye contact. Yay, small colleges! Yay, small countries!

8. Finally, Bridget Jones & friends.

One of the most loveable aspects of this film is the friendship between Bridget and her charming, hilarious group of friends. That’s not just me saying it, either – I googled it, and other people on the interwebs agree, so it’s a fact. They are supportive, involved, and crass in the most endearing way. They seriously are the ultimate pals; not only are they willing to eat her disastrous meals, they show up and surprise her with a weekend trip to Paris to help her forget about boy problems. Ah, friendship. It warms the soul.

Preach, girl-who-also-played-Moaning-Myrtle-in-the-Harry-Potter-series. Preach.

And so even though Bridget ends up with the man of her choice, I can relate more to the rapport between her friend group. Why do you need a guy when you have friends who love you like this?

And I think that’s the real lesson here. Young, dashing, articulate Colin Firth is just a bonus.

Basically, if you’re ever feeling down or misunderstood in the dizzying throes of college life, you can always go to Netflix and reconnect with our good pal Bridget.* If she can pull through, so can we!

Above all, don’t forget that just like Mark Darcy, I love and support you, dear reader…just the way you are.**

*Unless they take it off of Netflix instant watch. Then I’m not sure what to tell you, because there are no more Blockbusters. Anywhere. At all. You guys, this movie came out 14 years ago. Someone born when this movie came out is now in high school. Do you feel old yet? I do. Someone bring me my tamagotchi, Britney Spears HitClip, and fruit roll-ups, stat.

**Unless you make a lot of noise when you chew your food. If this is the case I’m afraid I can’t love you without some change on your part and I apologize for possibly misleading you with that sentence.



Sarah is a senior history major at Oxy - she likes cats, naps, pizza, and wine.
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