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5 Times Hollywood Really Nailed the Grad School Experience

UL Grad School -- 01/06/2017

It’s hard for most people to explain what being a grad student is really like. While there is actually a movie (and a sequel) based around the lives of PhD students, there are also some other feature films that provide valuable lessons, reminders, and reassurances for those going through the grad school experience.

Good Will Hunting

Do Movies & TV Shows Ever Portray Grad School Right?Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life. While Will isn’t a grad student in a traditional sense, he is smart and passionate. We all need a little help getting on the right track, and often times the one thing holding us back is the doubt we have in ourselves.


The Graduate

Ben Braddock, a disillusioned college graduate, finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter. Sure, this may not be a relatable situation for most people, but there are certainly some aspects of Ben’s life relatable to that of a grad student. For example, he constantly faces the dreaded “What am I doing with my life?” question that is ever present throughout the grad school experience. This is a good movie to watch when you’re questioning whether or not you’ve made the right choice.


The Social Network

Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business. While there aren’t many grad students starting the next big social network, everyone strives for success and will make the necessary sacrifices to get there, just as Zuckerberg does.


The Shape of Things

Adam Sorenson, a simple, insecure, shy student, crosses paths with Evelyn, an anarchist and transgressor of an art student. As their relationship and time spent together grows, so do the changes in Adam’s life both physically and mentally. When Evelyn presents her thesis Adam is surprised at what it reveals.



Dead Poets Society

English teacher John Keating inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings. When Keating’s students realize there’s more than one way to look at a situation, it changes the way they live their lives. This is a great movie to watch if you need some inspiration or just like poetry.


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