Grad school can at times be a stressful, sad, rage-inducing, isolating, and occasionally boring experience. I’m glad I have a great support system – my family, friends, cohort, mentors, and colleagues – to get me through it. Pop culture is a big part of my support system, too; it’s a good way to escape the world of academia, and sometimes finds its way into my research. Here is a list of some of the things that have, thus far, gotten me through my MA and PhD:
- All of Tina Fey’s creations: 30 Rock, Bossypants, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Liz Lemon is my heroine, and by heroine I mean lady hero; I don’t want to inject her and listen to jazz. Someday I will find out why Tina thinks we’re the worst, but I’ll accept her judgement for now.
- Mad Men, which features another personal heroine of mine, Peggy Olson. Say what you will about this scene being fan service, but I cheer/cry every time I see it.
- The music of Kanye West, particularly The Life of Pablo. TLOP came out in the second semester of my PhD, at a time when I was feeling very sad, and it helped a lot. I also listen to Kanye every time I’m on a plane; his bravado somewhat alleviates my fear of flying.
- Gilmore Girls, seasons 1-4 (before Rory starts making really dumb decisions). In my MA my friends and I would put it on in the background while we worked; now I watch it with my cat (named Lorelai). I probably will not watch the reboot. Gilmore Guys is also great, especially for driving in Nashville traffic.
- This video and this video, staples for end-of-semester final paper writing.
- You’re the Worst and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, hilarious shows featuring great depictions of women dealing with mental illness.
- Les Miserables, which is really best as a singalong where you try to sing “Stars” worse than Russell Crowe. (It’s hard.) “I Dreamed A Dream” is also a relatable and melodramatic thing for grad students (read: me) to sing to themselves in the car.
- Danger 5, an Australian comedy series discovered by my MA bestie’s husband. We binged it, we loved it, and we wrote a paper about it, making it possibly the most productive distraction ever.
- Stranger Things, I guess, because it was a good source of prelims procrastination. (I still think it’s overhyped.)