Midterm season is in full swing, and stress is consequently starting to consume my life. Procrastination only serves to make my impending workload and fast-approaching deadlines even more daunting. Yet I am still turning to my favorite means of escape — watching TV series and films —, though I realize they just encourage me to delay doing homework.
Although I arguably could use this time more productively for work and studying, catching up on my shows and movies does serve a purpose in my midterm routine, believe it or not. Watching a series or film, I manage to take a break from the reality of my overwhelmingly busy life, and afterward I can go back to my studies in a more relaxed state of mind.
You know the scene right before the start of a movie at an AMC theater, in which the three young people sitting in a row of theater chairs are lifted into a fantastical forest? To me, this moment symbolizes their entrance into the film they’re watching and it always makes me smile or comment about how weird it would be to see one of them in real life. It also represents how I feel when I watch something enjoyable or relatable.
I find that the experience I have while watching a TV show in my room or a film in a theater does more than distract me from stress-inducing situations or undesired emotional states. Instead, for the duration of the film and even for some time after the credits stop rolling, I become completely engulfed in the plot and in the lives of the characters. More than just an audience member, I feel like part of the story. As stupid as it sounds, I join the action of the story and am capable of doing what the characters do. Basically, I feel exactly what AMC alludes to in its cheesy pre-movie intro.
After watching any superhero movie, I notice this deep connection and relation to the film. For example, after The Avengers, or really any action flick that has some trace of an emotionally charged aspect, I left the theater thinking to myself that if a catastrophic alien invasion were to occur or someone important to me were under attack, I would be able to use my (nonexistent) choreographed fighting or sword-wielding abilities to save the day. Moreover, following the series finale of the TV show “Chuck”, I was in shock and had strong emotional reactions to the ending for the rest of that day and part of the next.
Sorry if I’m starting to sound crazy, but these examples help to illustrate my point. Whenever I relate to an entire movie or episode, I feel empathetic towards particular characters and the emotions they feel in specific situations or events. This empathy is part of the reason I, taking in what I just saw, silently leave movie theaters. It is my favorite part of my movie-watching experience; it gives me a chance to connect to something to which I would otherwise be unable to attach.
I understand that the idea of being completely absorbed by a series or a film is weird, but this sensation is something I enjoy and find relaxing — whether it brightens my mood or makes me realize that I could have much bigger problems. In times of stress, which are plentiful at Georgetown, it is important to find things that eliminate stress, allowing you to not only feel better, but to go about your work in a healthier mental state. In my case, a good film or TV show allows me to overcome any deadline-related anxiety and, in most cases, enables me to perform better academically.
I understand that we go to Georgetown, and the kid sitting next to you is probably wondering if he has a better GPA or is more involved in the community than you are, but come on — we’re in the prime of our lives. Give yourself a little break and find something that complements your studies in an enjoyable and relaxing way.
Eduardo Gueiros is a junior in the College. BEHIND THE SCREENS appears every other Friday in the guide.