For those who can relate, October was… hell.
Bogged down by assignments, projects, and exams, I could only enviously gush over others at Halloween Horror Nights or costume parties on social media. Feeling left out from Spooky Season and stressed over finals, I decided to get reacquainted with some of my comfort characters on Netflix. If you are a tired and struggling student like me, here are some gentle reminders from widely beloved characters who have provided solace for many people while also doubling as motivational figures, reminding us to step into our best selves this exam season. Spoilers ahead!
- Kiki’s Delivery Service: Finding your sense of purpose
Kiki’s Delivery Service features Kiki, a girl on her journey to become a full-fledged witch in a foreign town. Meeting many obstacles and challenges along the way, including struggling to fit in and an episode of depression, her perseverance is what consistently helps her through. At the end of the film, Kiki gains a clear sense of purpose and overcomes her crisis, becoming a confident and independent young woman in society.
Although we hold no magical powers of our own, we can empathise with Kiki’s rough transition into adulthood as she undergoes struggles that are more human than expected. Kiki reminds us that progress is not linear and patience is key to discovering yourself and your place in the world. Finding a stronger sense of identity and purpose will ultimately help you to push through any adversity.
- Wednesday Addams: Being unapologetically yourself
Aloof and socially awkward goth girl, Wednesday Addams moves along to the beat of her own drum. She is notorious for her sadistic tendencies, dry sense of humour, and unparalleled wit, and for that, she is labelled as an outsider. Despite this, she remains bold and assertive. Her unique brand of self-confidence reminds us to find the courage to be unapologetically ourselves without falling prey to comparison, even if it means deviating from the status quo.
- Elle Woods: Never underestimate yourself
At the beginning of Legally Blonde (2001), the protagonist, Elle Woods, is the picture-perfect “dumb blonde”, until she gets viciously dumped by her boyfriend. In her quest to win him back, she works hard and successfully enrols herself in Harvard’s law school. However, she faces ostracisation and underestimation from her peers who don’t see her for more than her looks. Nonetheless, Elle remains motivated and eventually wins a high-profile case with poise, all the while dressed in pink.
While it is tempting to dismiss Elle’s story as a far-fetched fairytale, the main message of Legally Blonde stands true: the importance of believing in yourself, especially when no one else will. Without forgetting who we are, Elle shows us the possibilities of who we can be.
- Gilmore Girls: Setting realistic goals
Meet the poster girls of Sweater Weather. In Gilmore Girls (2000-2007), Rory Gilmore is a child prodigy who is held to high expectations by her single mother, Lorelai Gilmore. Being an overachiever and burdened by the weight of unrealistic expectations, she shows signs of poor emotional management early on. With her self worth pinned solely on academic achievement, she struggles when she realises she isn’t special amongst other brilliant minds in the prestigious Chilton academy, and later on, crumbles and gives up on working as a journalist.
Gilmore Girls tackles burnout in a manner that hits home for many viewers. Striving for perfectionism creates a sense of anxiety and helplessness when we are unable to handle real world situations. Pacing yourself according to clear and realistic goals ensures that you maximise your time and resources, retain a sense of priorities, and stay consistently motivated. Remember that rejections are just redirections, and to seek help when necessary.
As the semester draws to a close, I wish you all the best, and good luck!