The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

College shows for college students

College TV shows offer a mirror to our own experiences as Vandy students.
Lexie Perez
Graphic depicting a student watching TV and eating popcorn. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)

Vandy students juggle classes and social engagements on cups of coffee from Suzie’s, little sleep and delicious Rand cookies all while navigating the path to achieve their dreams amidst the chaos of college life. The complexity of this adventure is rarely captured on screen, but a few shows exist that reflect Vandy students’ experiences here on campus. I have compiled a list of some of the best shows set during college years from various streaming services. 

Hulu: “Felicity” (1998-2002)

Renowned director J.J. Abrams’ career began with a depiction of a young college woman’s journey of self-discovery. A captivating love triangle develops after Felicity Porter (Keri Russell) follows her high school crush, Ben Covington (Scott Speedman), to the University of New York. She finds herself torn between Ben and Noel Crane (Scott Foley), her thoughtful and kind residential advisor. Her social life may pose challenges, and her academic experience is not too different from students who originally come to Vandy on the pre-med track. She departs from her father’s dream of her becoming a doctor and majors in her passion: art. The show captures the essence of college life and the growth that comes along with it. “Felicity” resonates with anyone who has felt the sting of unrequited love, the pain of young adulthood or the fear of making the wrong choices. 

Prime Video: “Undeclared” (2001-2002)

Watch talented young actors Seth Rogen, Charlie Hunnam and Jay Baruchel navigate the ups and downs of college life in this comedy created by Judd Apatow. The awkwardness of dorm life and romantic relationships offer a humorous take on living away from home for the first time. It’s a must-watch for Apatow fans and relatable storylines from roommates with clashing sleep schedules, to choosing a passion over a lucrative major and balancing school and club commitments.

Netflix: “Community” (2009-2015)

Created by Dan Harmon, a study group of eclectic community college students forms when Jeffrey Winger (Joel McHale) enrolls to get a legitimate degree after falsifying his law license. Each member of the ensemble has deep, nuanced backstories and plotlines that explore their fears and insecurities. Despite academic intentions, the group’s adventures outside the classroom include paintball wars, alternate universes and an evil air conditioner repairman. If you like a show that balances comedy with genuine emotion and commentary on current social issues, “Community” is for you.

Hulu: “Normal People” (2020)

Based on the novel of the same name by Sally Rooney, “Normal People” follows the complex relationship between Marianne Sheridan (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell Waldron (Paul Mescal) from their final days in secondary school in a secluded town in Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College Dublin. The shift from high school to college is difficult for everyone, not just Vandy students, and as Connell, once popular, struggles with loneliness and depression, Marianne thrives in a social circle that admires her raw intellect. They re-evaluate their identities and relationships with other people as they grow up and find their self-worth outside of their high school personas. Amid challenges during their college years, they consistently turn to each other for support. The series is perfect for those who appreciate emotional narratives and understand the troubles of growing up. 

Max: “The Sex Lives of College Girls” (2021-Present)

Mindy Kaling’s latest TV show chronicles the lives of four college roommates and their newfound freedom on the prestigious Essex College campus located in Vermont. With its display of sharp wit targeting “nepo babies,” off-hand tales of extravagant student vacations and unforgettable nights best left forgotten, Vandy students will find an abundance of relatable stories. As Essex reflects Vandy’s rigorous academic environment, the four roommates provide each other unwavering support. The main characters come from diverse backgrounds, and their differing perspectives aid the show’s exploration of sexuality, race and privilege. If you want a show that combines the fun of college life with meaningful narratives, this is a great addition to your watchlist. 

Vandy students can see their own experiences mirrored in these shows. While Vanderbilt offers free subscriptions for Max, many other streaming services have college student discounts. Students can be entertained and enjoy TV series depicting college life without paying the full cost for a streaming service.

View comments (1)
About the Contributors
Henry Shear
Henry Shear, Staff Writer
Henry Shear (‘26) is from San Diego, and is majoring in philosophy with a minor in psychology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find him eating at Velvet Taco, watching tennis matches or spending time with friends at Rand. He can be reached at [email protected].
Lexie Perez
Lexie Perez, Graphics Editor
Lexie Perez (‘26) is from Northern Virginia and is majoring in climate studies and human and organizational development and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys listening to 70s and 80s pop music, doing the daily Wordle and rooting for the Nashville Predators and Cincinnati Bengals. She can be reached at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (1)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 months ago

Nice article!