What Movies Can Teach Us About College

Posted: July 09, 2021 | Author: Sayre Davis | Read Time: 4 minutes

Movies for college studentsCollege might be challenging to navigate, but finding inspiration and advice in the media can help. One of the most influential and long-standing forms of media is film. As a student in college, it is always helpful to find courage, hope, and confidence in who you are and storytelling has a way of inspiring these attributes within ourselves. Each of the following movies has a lesson to share and ways to overcome challenges like understanding what life offers you, believing in yourself, finding where you fit in, and how hard work helps you reach your goals.

Four Movies for College Students

Good Will Hunting

The first thing that cinema can teach us about college life is thriving with what life offers you. The first time I discovered this lesson was when I watched the critically acclaimed movie Good Will Hunting. This movie follows the life of a young man from Boston named Will. Will, who is 21 and an orphan and works on a construction crew, finds out he is a genius. His struggle throughout the movie is that he is scared and unwilling to take advantage of the gifts he has been given. He is helped along through therapy and mentors, which at the end of the movie gives him the motivation to understand what life offers and to embrace it.

For us as college students, it is wise to take this lesson to heart. Many times we can get caught up in the bad or monotonous things in life and end up not really living. As a character says in the movie “You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” As we understand that every opportunity and challenge in life can allow us to find the full purpose of life, we will start finding more joy and greater meaning.

Monsters University

“Every dream begins somewhere. Some are born to greatness and some find greatness on their own.”

For many college students, it is difficult to find confidence in who they are. This problem is caused by a multitude of problems but can be helped in as many ways. One piece of cinema that may seem like a silly children's movie has many of these answers. Monsters University is a coming-of-age film about two monsters. One is built to succeed in their desired jobs of scaring people and one is the opposite of a scary monster. Throughout these monsters have to come to a reality of who they are and learn to accept it. Once they accept themselves as they are, they find a sense of joy and peace that couldn't be found anywhere else.

No matter our path or role in life, we can learn to find greatness anywhere.


“When you have passion and commitment, you don't need a complex plan. Your plan is your life is your dream”

This quote is the main overarching theme throughout the film Rudy. Rudy is about a boy that throughout his entire life wants to play football for the University of Notre Dame even though he has no skill in football and only weighs 100 pounds. Even though the odds were stacked against him, he worked hard and played two downs for Notre Dame. In the college world, understanding that hard work pays off is key to us finding success.

Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society is a story of an all-boys school that needs help to understand what it means to live. A new English teacher played by Robin Williams helps them discover this through poetry.

One thing he tells them is “You must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ Don't be resigned to that. Break out!” When we take this to heart, we know it is difficult to understand what it means to truly live but unless we find that out we will miss the one opportunity we had to do it.


We can learn a lot from hearing stories about success and/or fulfillment in life. We should take these pieces of advice to heart and implement them into our daily lives as students.

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