How HBO’s “Girls” Can Prepare You For College and Beyond

Last year I happily introduced myself to the new series “Girls” on HBO. I had high hopes for it to be full of heart, truth and comedy with no boundaries.

I mean, I wouldn’t expect anything less from the show’s executive producer Judd Apatow. I have always been a huge fan of anything and everything his name is attached to, and I was sure “Girls” would live up to my high expectations.

I was right. I became instantly hooked after the first episode!

One aspect I truly love about the series is its ability to speak the truth in unconventional ways. After watching the first season for a second time, I realized how much it can teach college students about life during and after their college years. It surely taught me a few things, and I think anyone could benefit from watching it with an open mind.

The following are 4 important lessons I was able to take away from watching the first season of “Girls.”

  • Don’t Rely On Your Parents For Finances

In the first episode of “Girls,” the main character Hannah is struck with a major block in her road to becoming a successful writer: her parents decide that they will no longer be able to support her financially. This comes as a huge shock to Hannah who has always lived comfortably in New York City as a student and an unpaid intern with the help of her parents. She learns the hard way that you can’t rely on others to support you throughout college and beyond.

It’s important to have a part-time job whether it’s just during breaks or throughout the whole school year. It teaches you how to support yourself, budget your money and learn the true meaning of a dollar. I know a large number of people, including close friends, who have relied on their parents for everything and would have no idea what to do without their parents’ credit card. Getting help from parents is a wonderful thing, but it’s critical that you know how to get by without them. Preparing yourself will lessen the burden when your parents decide you are on your own.

  • Don’t Expect To Make It Big Right Away

Hannah has big dreams of becoming “the voice” of her generation. She’s been working on a book of essays, working at an unpaid internship for over a year and is desperately awaiting her big break. She begs her parents to give her at least a grand per month until she finishes her book and becomes a booming success.

It’s wonderful to dream big and work towards your goals. It’s truly a beautiful thing. But having high expectations for early success won’t help you. Success comes with hard work and oftentimes being in the right place at the right time. Don’t expect it to always just fall into your lap.

  • Don’t Get Discouraged If Things Don’t Go Your Way

When Hannah is cut off, she feels as though her life is in shambles. She drinks a bunch of opium, and ends up in her parents hotel room begging for their help. She truly feels helpless without their financial aid. It is not surprising that she’s so flustered, but she shouldn’t get discouraged.

Sometimes it’s hard not to be discouraged when life throws you unwanted surprises, but remaining positive and uplifted is a vital key to becoming successful. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you get a bad grade, you lose your job or you don’t get the internship you wanted. Get up and try again. Life is going to be full of disappointments. Your ability to pick yourself back up and stay positive is what’s important.

  • You May Have to Work a Less Than Pleasant Job At Some Point

Hannah learns this one very quickly. After her parents cut her off and she realizes there is no way she can support herself without getting a job. Her first attempt begins at her unpaid internship where she talks to her boss about becoming a paid employee. Instead, he assumes she has nothing left to learn and lets her go. From there, she finds a new job. However, she quits on behalf of the sexual harassment she receives from her boss. At the end of the season, she ends up working in a cafe.

The point is, you may find yourself working a job you don’t like. I have surely learned that, and I only realized recently that working unpleasant jobs have the ability to build up your character. They push you to work harder and bring you closer to your dream job. However, if you completely loathe your job it’s important to look for something else. Don’t let work destroy you.

Those are the major lessons that I was able take away from “Girls.” However, there are tons of others you may want to think about during your college years and after including:

  • Let go of your ego.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Stick up for yourself.
  • Work hard for what you believe in.
  • Stay positive.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Don’t be selfish.

I highly recommend the show to just about anyone. The show has received a lot of mixed reviews, but I feel there is a deep underlying point to the show that some people may not understand. It expresses a realistic portrayal of people, emotions and life’s many ups and downs. Although it is very unconventional and a tad weird, I think that anyone can take away these very important lessons through the decisions the characters make the adventures they go on.

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Molly Stallman

Molly Stallman

Molly Stallman is a senior at DePaul University working toward an English degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing. She also has a minor in Digital Cinema. Molly especially enjoys spending time with loved ones, listening to music, watching movies/television and playing with her dogs. She also has a passion for antiques, crafts, animals, photography and the great outdoors.