College Lessons I Learned from “Felicity”
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April 19, 2017
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I’m a sucker for teen soap operas. In high school years, I watched “Gossip Girl,”” 90210,” (the reboot) “The O.C.,” and “Pretty Little Liars.” Before college, I started “Felicity” to get a feel of what college would be. “Felicity” was a little dated (it ran from 1998-2002), but the lessons on the show are relevant.
The show revolves around the lead character Felicity Porter, of Palo Alto, who makes an impulsive decision to attend the University of New York to follow a former classmate for whom she had romantic feelings. Felicity and her squad face many challenges, and here is what those challenges taught me:
Friendships Can Change
College years are difficult to navigate, especially in the social aspect. Your groups of friends who come in your life are formed naturally, rather than pre-packaged. The first season, Felicity doesn’t know anyone. Through campus, class and mutual friends, Felicity meets Noel, Julie, Elena, and her roommate Megan. Megan, a gothic-y Wiccan chick, starts as her enemy. Elena is stubborn and initially, a little scary. Julie is in a love triangle with Felicity and Ben. However, people change. I’m not the same person I was as a freshman. Elena becomes more vulnerable, and Megan becomes Felicity’s close friend. The person who is your first-year roommate, mutual friend or classmate could be different, but never count them out.
Indecisiveness Is Normal
It’s common for someone to come into college with one major and switch to another. Some students can enter their sophomore year with no idea of what career they want. Felicity is torn between two majors in the first season. Her original plan was to become a doctor, and by her second year, she switches to art, only to go back pre-med. Ben runs through the show without any idea of what he wants to do with life.
Felicity’s family looks at her last-minute decision to attend college in New York, when she had planned on attending Stanford. It doesn’t stop her, however, from being proud of her school. We see that coming to the East Coast was way more than a boy. She can escape from expectation and influence of her pushy parents. Felicity gets a work study job in the admission office and another one at the Starbucks-type cafe. In the second season, she becomes an RA and advocates for the school’s clinic to provide birth control.
The Struggle Is Real (But It’s Gonna Get Better)
Your four years of college do not come without drama and uphill battles. Elena, a smart pre-med major, is almost forced to leave school because of an outstanding tuition bill. Ben deals with the same dilemma, on top of family drama while still trying to navigate college and his on/off again relationship with Felicity.
Before Careful What You Do
It’s surprising watching this episode, as I have reminded myself this is taking place before Instagram, Twitter, the iPhone and a couple of years shy of Facebook. Felicity attends a frat party, and a photo of her naked with a guy in his boxer with a cup of alcohol ends up in a mass email sent to the school. Smoking weed on Instagram or you at a kegger on Facebook will not fly well with future employers.
Felicity may come off as naive at the beginning of the series, following a boy she hardly knows across the country, buther spirit is always in the right place.
It’s Never too Late
Not everyone has the same opportunity to attend college or even high school. That doesn’t mean they can never do it. In 2009, the National Center for Education Statistics reported students aged 25 and older accounted for roughly 40 percent of all college and graduate students. Javier, an immigrant from Spain and Felicity’s goofy boss, decides to quit his job and go back to school. Sometimes, you may have to put in hours churning out frappuccinos and lattes (or ordering people to do it) before chasing your dream.