Going to college is an intimidating prospect.
Whether you’re staying local or traveling to a school across the country, there is an increased amount of independence and responsibility granted in this transition toward adulthood. No one is going to tell you to show up to class or not to eat tide pods for breakfast, but no one is going to take the fall for you if your GPA nosedives. Part of this newfound freedom includes new friends, new classes, new living conditions, new everything. It can be a lot to take in, but in preparing for this exhilarating, dizzying rite of passage a few years ago, I found the best guidance for tackling college from an extremely unexpected source: An Extremely Goofy Movie.
The lesser known Goofy vehicle sees Goofy join his son Max at his first year at college after he realizes he needs a college degree to get a job. As expected, college hijinks ensue as Goofy comes into the college scene with his dated preconceptions of what is hip and groovy. Gags aside, An Extremely Goofy Movie is a compelling coming-of-age story with heartfelt lessons about adjusting to campus life, finding your way and staying true to yourself. So, if you’re an incoming freshman anxious about taking this next big step in life, here is some goofy advice to help you navigate your first year in college.
Embrace Your Inner Goof
Starting at any new school means pressure to be popular and have lots of friends. The fear of being an outcast can be scary for anyone, but rather than focusing on what others think of him, Goofy owns his aberrant look and personality. His love for all things ‘70s leads him to become good friends with fellow dancing queen Sylvia Marpole. So, instead of worrying about trying to fit in, just be yourself and you’ll likely meet like-minded goofballs along the way.
Sharing is Caring
Living with a roommate can be really fun, but also really challenging. It’s not the same experience as sharing a room with a sibling, because you’re living with a person you most likely have never met before who may have entirely different traits and tastes than yours. But by setting a few ground rules, you can make any living situation, even one with your dad, friendly and fun. Learn to adapt to each other’s sleep schedules, create a system for dividing up chores and be respectful of each other’s personal needs and boundaries.
It’s Not A Competition
With GPA rankings, internship applications and nonstop networking opportunities, college can often feel like a rat race to climb the ladder of success. Max himself competes in his college’s X Games in part to prove his worth to Bradley Uppercrust III, a fraternity brother who is as pompous as he sounds. Still, it is important to remember that college is not a competition. There’s no gold medal for being better than your fellow peers. As long as you continue to work hard, you’ll find your way.
Stay True to Your Friends
At one point in the film, frat bro Bradley offers Max a spot on his team on the condition he leaves his friends PJ and Bobby behind. Choosing tromies over fomies, Max declines the offer. Now, not everyone is going to be competing in the X Games, but certain responsibilities will arise which will consume most of your time. And that’s okay–everyone gets busy–but your friends shouldn’t have to compete for your attention. Make time for them. Maintaining loyal friendships is all about not leaving your friends on “read.”
Perseverance is Key
College is hard, and sometimes you’ll feel like you just can’t handle it anymore. After failing his first exam, Goofy feels like maybe he’s not cut out for college. Likewise, after fumbling in the X games qualifiers, Max considers transferring to another school. But rather than quitting, both goofs find the strength within to carry on. They persevere, work even harder to attain their goals and ultimately achieve success. So, don’t give up, I promise it gets better.
Don’t Forget to Call Your Parents
Just call your parents. They’re worried, they miss you, and above all else, they’re probably paying for at least some of your college tuition. The least you can do is hop on the phone.
Shake Your Groove Thing
This should go without saying, but don’t forget to have fun! College is supposed to be some of the best years of your life, so make the most out of your experience. Skate your heart out; express your inner angst through slam poetry; dance the night away! You only go to college once so live it up! Unless you’re Goofy, then I guess you go twice. Actually, maybe going back to college to relive the glory days isn’t such a bad idea after all…
Stay Focused On Your Goals
This is essentially the age-old adage of “Have fun, but not too much fun.” It’s obvious advice, but it bears repeating. College can be a lot of fun, but remember your number one priority should be earning your degree. Goofy often analogizes reaching your goals to playing a game of horseshoes. If you want that diploma, you have to fix both eyes on it as if it was a horseshoe stake. This lesson serves as the crux of the whole film. Stay focused on your goals, and even an old goof can go far.
Images: Walt Disney Studios