University Years as Told by La la Land

La la Land is a beautiful, tear-jerking and, surprisingly, quite realistic depiction of what life is for those, unafraid to chase after their dreams no matter the obstacles and struggles they have to endure along the way.

Yet, there’s something about the stages that the main characters go through that are reminiscent of university experience too. Can you identify with them?



Freshman Year


Somewhere there’s a place where I find who I’m gonna be…

Someone in the crowd could be the one you need to know…

Ahh, the first year… The time when you’re filled to the brim with the child-like optimism and fearful excitement as you march through the university halls, trying your best to not give out that scared and helpless fresher vibe… and fail miserably, as you find yourself wandering through the same hall for the third time, not having the slightest clue where your next lecture is supposed to take place and, of course, the older students giving you THAT smirky look.

But that doesn’t curb your enthusiasm. No, sir! After all, you’ve entered a new period of your life, where you can forget all about the pitfalls of the high school world and completely reinvent yourself. There are plenty of new opportunities and possibilities just waiting for you to be explored, as well as a number of amazing people, who will make the whole uni-life experience a truly unforgettable one.


The Second Year


City of stars, there’s so much that I can’t see.

Who knows? Is this the start of something wonderful and new?

Or one more dream that I cannot make true?

Depending on your prior academic background, you’ve already faced some, if not a lot, of scholarly life hurdles. Why is it that the deadlines of the important, grade-determining presentations, tests and papers all happen to fall on the same week? Is this some kind of a cruel joke played by the professors, made to make the students’ lives miserable?

On top of that, you’ve probably switched from studying law to performing arts (sparing your parents the details of your newly found love and appreciation for theater) at least once and then quickly went back to your original major before mom and dad received and email with an update on your current status, only to find yourself thinking if you should try your hand at..hmm…psychology? Yeah! Who’s to say you’re not the next Freud?!

Amidst all this chaos, you realize that your enthusiasm levels have gradually dropped down from Spongebob Squarepants to Squidward, as you face the fact that there’s more work hard than play hard in uni.


The Third Year


And here’s to the fools who dream

Crazy as they may seem.

Here’s to the hearts that break

Here’s to the mess we make.

I trace it all back to then

her, and the snow, and the Seine.

Smiling through it

She said she’d do it again…

Somehow you’ve made it to the last year, but there’s still a long road ahead of you… What with all the classwork, final project/thesis, to say nothing of the post-uni plans (should I continue with my studies and pursue Master’s and/or PhD? Try to get an internship and gain hands-on experience? Take a gap year to clear my head? Curl into a fetal position and cry?)

Chances are, these past couple of years haven’t been the easiest, as they have most definitely tested your patience, ambition and the overall strength of your character. There might have even been times when you thought you’ve made a huge mistake by enrolling into a uni at all, felt incapable of following through with your dreams and wanted to quit…yet you didn’t. You managed to summon that same old childish excitement you once had and claw your way out of the tunnel into that sweet, liberating light.

At the end of it all, no matter how strenuous and, at times even soul-crushing, those three years were, you can’t help but look back at them with a hint of nostalgia, as, somehow, all the not-so-pleasant experiences give way to the good ones. As you stroll down the campus for the very last time, you are hit with the bittersweet feelings of could-have-beens and used-to-bees, once again reminding yourself to cherish the moments while you’re still in them.



Gabriele is an English Language and Literature graduate from Lithuania passionate about music, guitars, acting, literature, clothes, TV shows, Italian food and writing (not necessarily in that order). You can connect with her on LinkedIn

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