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Your Twenties Are Nothing Like What the Coming- of- Age Genre Portrays

I remember watching Gilmore Girls and being excited to not only be grown up but also to go to college. However, the joke’s on me because I quickly figured out going to college and turning 20 does not magically make you an adult with your life figured out. Most movies and TV shows showcase college and your twenties in just two ways: One is an endless party, and the other is a time when only school matters. In reality, life doesn’t work in extremities. College ends up being a mixture of fun, school, professional development and a lot of opportunities to grow as a person. Unlike what pop culture would have you believe, it doesn’t just take solving one struggle or problem for your life to fall into place. Here are just some of the misconceptions about your twenties perpetuated by shows and movies:

You’ll make friends easily

In many shows about college, people seem to find their best friends as soon as they step foot on campus. While this might happen to some people, I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. It’s easy to start conversations with strangers when you first get to college, but odds are you’ll add these people on social media and never really talk to them again. Movies centering around Greek life in college make it seem like joining these organizations ensures a solid group of friends. When I joined a sorority my freshman year, it didn’t really feel like that. My chapter is full of sweet girls I know would help me if I ever needed it, but I didn’t feel as though I could say confidently they were all my friends. I was confused because I thought the instant you joined a sorority you would feel like you had a huge, new group of friends. Instead, I would walk into the house and not know who to talk to. It wasn’t until my freshman spring that I became close with the two girls in my chapter who would become my best friends throughout college.

College will be the best time of your life

When I first started college, it was really hard for me. I missed my family, friends, home and was dealing with a lot of personal problems. Everyone always spoke about college like it was supposed to be the time of your life. But there’s never any serious discussion about how it’s okay if it’s not. College is a trying time when there’s so much pressure to know what you want to do with your future and who you want to be. The pressure of school and growing up can make your early twenties stressful and not as much fun as movies like “Animal House” show it to be. A great show that focuses on a group of college-aged students is Grown-ish. This is the first show I’ve seen that has an accurate portrayal of what it means to be in college in this day and age. Grown-ish does a great job of showing how being in your twenties can be messy and confusing but will also be a time where you will create some fond memories.

You’ll know what you want to do for the rest of your life when you’re in your early twenties

It’s crazy to think when we are 17 or 18 years old we are made to pick a major and have an idea of what we want to do for the rest of our lives. I know you can change your major later on, but it’s still expected that you be thinking about what you want to do professionally from a young age. I recently watched the movie “Kicking and Screaming.” The movie doesn’t really have a plot; it felt more so like a stream of consciousness piece surrounding a group of 20-something-year-olds trying to figure out their lives after graduating college. This movie really resonated with me as I’m in my final semester at the University of Florida and will be graduating this spring. The movie exemplified how after graduating college people become nostalgic for the comfort and routine of college that they are being made to leave behind. It’s normal to be scared to leave a place you come to love and call home. However, there is also an excitement in the new and unknown that lies ahead after college. Don’t let the media pressure you into thinking there is a strict timeline we must all follow to have successful lives. Take advantage of the unknown that can accompany graduating college.

The media plays a part in making us feel excited for the future and the unknown. Movies and TV shows show an idyllic version of college that usually isn’t very representative of the truth. There needs to be more films and shows that give a more accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be in college or your early twenties. I think this would help people feel less rushed to know exactly who they are and what they want to do at what is truly still such a young age. I myself have felt pressure to know what I wanted to do after graduation since the moment I started college. With that being said, I think it’s important to remind myself to enjoy my twenties and not just rush to check off boxes on a list of what I “should” be accomplishing in my twenties.

Caroline is a fourth-year sociology major at the University of Florida. She is from south Florida and loves to travel, cook, read, and listen to true crime podcasts.
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