What ‘Lady Bird’ can teach us about student life

There are many lessons to learn from 'Lady Bird', and we can definitely apply them to some of the struggles you face as a student.
Avantika Vaishnav
Avantika Vaishnav

This post was written by an external contributor.  Christian Lynn discusses how the film ‘Lady Bird’ can relate to university life. 

It can be hard to find a piece of entertainment that truly captures the ups and downs of the student life. However, indie darling Greta Gerwig has found a gap in a cycle of films that haven’t quite got it right.

Her 2017, Oscar-nominated coming-of-age movie  Lady Bird  is not only a beautiful piece of filmmaking, but a template how to represent the feelings of being a student. People tend to have a picture of an ideal life where we get full marks, have loads of friends and drink our troubles away. Lady Bird sees it differently.

P.S there will be spoilers ahead!

Be true to who you are

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Yes, we know its a cliché. Especially seeing as we often feel like we must ‘fit-in’ with certain social crowds as a student. However,  Lady Bird  demonstrates the often heart-breaking outcomes of denying who you are for sake of popularity/society.

In one scene, the lead character, Christine, abandons her part in a high school play so she can appear cool and join rebellious mean girl Jenna for some afterschool mischief. She loses her closest friend, Julie, as a result.

For another example, we see Christine discover her boyfriend, Danny, kissing another boy in a cubicle. Danny hides his homosexuality from just about everyone, unsure how to come out in one devastating scene.

Lady Bird doesn’t give any obvious answers, but I think you get the message: there’s no joy to be found in lying to yourself. Life doesn’t make it easy to be who we really are, but the pros far outweigh the cons. If you’re stuck, then simply talk to someone. People might surprise you with their responses.

Keep your friends close

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The best friends are the ones who truly care about you and make you happy.  Lady Bird shows Christine abandon her best friend in favour of another, far less fruitful partnership, for the sake of her social cred. Eventually, she decides enough is enough and chooses to rekindle with her friend Julie once again.

Having true friends around is one of the great joys in life and really helps refocus our minds after a hard day’s graft. So, never second guess those that are loyal to you. Keep them close, as they’re an invaluable resource during stressful periods. They’ll fuel you up with the joyous energy you need to get through those terrible textbooks.

Persevere with your ambitions

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During the film, Christine’s main end goal is to end up at a New York college. However, she is told time and time again by family, friends and tutors that she won’t succeed. Their concerns aren’t exactly far-fetched. Christine isn’t the strongest academically, but that’s beside the point. Because what Lady Bird shows us is that, despite what we’re told, we can achieve what it is that we want if we only put our minds to it.

Your focus should be on getting to where you want to be, irrespective of your academic accomplishments. Everyone has a place in the world, and you’ll find yours. As we see in the conclusion to Lady Bird, against all odds, Christine ends up studying in New York. Sure, she was helped along by a little mischief here and there. But the film makes the firm point that it’s her unbreakable desire to get there that seals the deal.

Three lessons, all equally important. It can be a challenge to balance your goals and life, whilst maintaining that bright spark of individuality. Yet Lady Bird is an optimistic little beacon that reminds us that it’s possible. Continue to push yourself, with a supporting line-up of friends to help power you through, and you’ll get to where you want to be.

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