At this point in the summer, we’re all filled with nostalgia for mouse-infested flats and naps in lectures, and everyone’s worrying university won’t be the same next year (No freshers week? No nightclubs?). But luckily, we can live vicariously through TV and film until we get back to normal.
Dear White People (2017-20)
This Netflix series is set in a predominantly black halls of residence at an Ivy League university. This razor-sharp satire pokes fun at the naivety and ‘wokeness’ of students as well as exploring how racism rears its ugly head on campus. And now it has four seasons!
First Daughter (2004)
This largely forgotten rom-com stars Katie Holmes as the daughter of the President of the United States, who starts university and falls for her RA. The fact that it only scores 8% on Rotten Tomatoes is an outrage: as far as I’m concerned it’s a masterpiece.
Fresh Meat (2011-16)
A must-watch for any incoming fresher preparing for their new life, this sitcom starring Jack Whitehall and Zawe Ashton is worth revisiting if you’re feeling nostalgic for term-time. It’ll remind you how disgusting students actually are.
The Social Network (2010)
This iconic movie about the creation of Facebook shows how friendships, grudges, ambitions and resentments formed at university can define the rest of our lives, as it tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg’s time at Harvard.
Normal People (2020)
Discover where all the hype about Connell’s chain comes from. Through the two main characters, the series explores the joy of starting fresh but also the feelings of loneliness and being anchorless that many students go through. The episode where Connell goes to see a college counsellor in particular will resonate with anyone who struggled to adjust to university life.
Legally Blonde (2001)
I think we can all agree this is an incredibly accurate portrait of life as a law student. Watch the original before Legally Blonde 3 comes out, which Reese Witherspoon is actually going to appear in!
Pitch Perfect (2012)
We all remember when everyone got obsessed with The Cup Song in Year 8, but this film is actually pretty funny, and obviously the soundtrack is aca-awesome.
Starter For Ten (2006)
Following a working class student at Bristol University obsessed with joining the University Challenge team, this film stars James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s also by the same writer as One Day, so obviously it is hilarious and romantic.
Gilmore Girls (Season 4 onwards, 2003-06)
From Season 4 onwards, Rory is all grown up and off to college! She changes so much, meets new boys, reconnects with old ones, and discovers the joys of alcohol and detaching from her mother.
22 Jump Street (2014)
In one of the best comedy sequels of all time, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill go undercover as college students to locate the supplier of a new drug. The film covers fraternities and spring break, and Ice Cube is perfect in his role as police captain.
This BBC thriller series set at The University of Edinburgh is about a mysterious clique of cool, beautiful girls with dark secrets. It was inspired by writer Jess Brittain’s own university experience, but with ten times the drama and intrigue.
The most outlandish, surreal and hilarious depiction of higher education out there. Okay, maybe there wasn’t a zombie invasion at any parties you went to this year, but this show does capture something about the weird, insular world of a college campus and celebrates the ridiculous ways we waste our time at university.
Image: mohamed mahmoud via Public Domain Pictures