Six Things “Gilmore Girls” Taught Me About College and Life

When my favorite television show ended in 2007, I was heartbroken. I had always felt a connection with “Gilmore Girls” — from being raised by a single mother who is my best friend, having an interest in journalism, working on my college newspaper, etc. Through the seven seasons “Gilmore Girls” was on air, the central characters, Rory and Lorelai Gilmore, surely taught me a thing or two about college and life in general. The following are just some of the lessons I learned through all of their witty humor and pop-culture references.

  • Sometimes you’ll make friends with the most unexpected people

When Rory transferred to Chilton Preparatory from her town’s public high school, Stars Hollow High, there was no doubt about it that her classmate Paris Gellar viewed her as a threat. But somewhere between high school and their first year at Yale University, Paris and Rory became best friends. Through all of their high school arguments and mishaps, things seemed to turn around for them.

When we go to college, we’re suddenly surrounded by people with different backgrounds, upbringings and personalities. You might just find yourself becoming best buds with your very own Paris Gellar.

  • Sometimes bad grades on assignments happen

You’re that student. The one that was on honor roll all through elementary school, junior high and high school — meaning your parent’s mini-van displayed a sticker saying so. You had straight-A’s all through high school and maybe you were even valedictorian.

And then you come to college. A world where your grade in a class depends solely on two tests — and that’s it. Suddenly your dreams of carrying on those good grades becomes meek.

Graduating Chilton as valedictorian and known for having excellent grades, Rory was more than shocked when a college professor suggested she lower the amount of units she was taking because he could tell she was taking on too much since it reflected on her grade on an assignment.

Sometimes it happens. While you’re afraid a bad grade will take a hit on your grade point average, don’t let it get you down. It’s one grade; Don’t let it keep you from reaching your full potential. If you find yourself needing to lower the amount of units you’re taking, do it. Don’t take on more than you can handle.

  • Decaf isn’t funny

If it’s one thing I’ve learned from “Gilmore Girls,” it’s to never underestimate the importance of being properly caffeinated. If you’ve ever watched the show, you’re aware of Lorelai and Rory’s coffee-drinking habits.

With the amount of exams and homework you’ll encounter during college, having the energy and ability to stay up late to study is greatly accompanied by a warm, cup of Joe. A cup of coffee can also be your best friend on days when you have an early morning class.

And decaf shall never be spoken of. If I may quote Lorelai Gilmore:

Oh, I can’t stop drinking the coffee. I stop drinking the coffee, I stop doing the standing and walking and the words putting-into-sentence doing.

  • Sometimes your dream school isn’t the school you’ll attend

For those of you that watched “Gilmore Girls” (or still do), you know that Rory had her eyes set on attending Harvard University. She even had a board in her room filled with nothing but Harvard memorabilia. But after she received her college acceptance letters and compiled pro and con lists of the universities she was ultimately deciding between, things changed. After much contemplation, Rory ended up choosing Yale University, her grandfather’s alma mater, over Harvard.

Even Paris had dreams of attending Harvard. But those dreams soon came crumbling down when she wasn’t accepted. Paris had great grades and did hours of upon hours of community service, but when it came to going to Harvard, unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for her. But it all worked out because she ended up attending Yale with Rory.

While we may dream of going to a certain university, sometimes plans changed. You may find yourself changing your mind about the college you’ve always wanted to go to or sadly, you might not receive an acceptance letter from that dream school of yours. But that’s okay! Don’t fret.

I have to admit, I definitely made pro and con lists when it came to choosing a college like Rory did. And ultimately, I couldn’t have chosen a better university. (Go Mustangs!)

  • Never give up on your dreams

Having Rory at a young age, Lorelai worked her way up from being a maid to the executive manager at the Independence Inn. With dreams of someday owning her own inn with her best friend Sookie St. James, Lorelai worked hard to see it through. While she and Sookie faced many bumps along the way to restoring an old run-down inn, they both managed to turn the Dragonfly Inn into a success.

As cliche as it sounds, never give up on your dreams. No matter the obstacles you may face, if you really work hard and put your nose to the grind, it’ll pay off.

  • The job market can be rough

After working on her high school paper, “The Franklin,” being editor-in-chief of her college newspaper, the “Yale Daily News,” and countless other academic achievements, Rory struggled with landing the job she wanted right after graduation. Despite what great of a résumé she might have had, it didn’t come easy.

Determined on getting the Reston Fellowship in order to become an intern at “The New York Times,” Rory turned down her first job offer. Ultimately, she didn’t end up getting the fellowship, leading her to prepare several résumés for prospective employers. Eventually, Rory was offered a job as a reporter for an online magazine she previously wrote articles for, traveling with other journalists covering Barack Obama’s presidential campaign — an offer she accepted.

While the job market might not welcome you with open arms right after graduation, work hard and get your name out there. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Rory definitely helped me find my passion for journalism. So while there are no longer any new episodes of “Gilmore Girls,” I’ve learned a lot from the show that occupied my Tuesday nights for many years. And if I ever need a reminder of the things I learned from the show, there are always the boxed season sets — thank goodness.

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Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news-editorial. At school, she can often be found in the Mustang Daily newsroom where she works as a copy editor. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Kassi Luja

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