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A Reality Check—Inspired by New Girl

I had lofty goals to be productive over winter break. After finals, though, I found myself in desperate need of some rest and relaxation. As a product of my generation, I found myself watching quite a lot of Netflix. Since New Girl season five was set to premiere in early January, I couldn’t resist rewatching the latest episodes in preparation.

Episode after episode, I realized the characters are all at different stages in their professional lives. For those unfamiliar with the show, four (sometimes five) roommates in their thirties live together in a loft apartment in LA. One has had a steady job throughout the show, another has had a few bumps in the road and the others aren’t really sure what to do with themselves. The characters can teach those of us who have not yet entered the workforce about how hard it really can be.



Jessica Day – Jess is optimistic, quirky and enthusiastic. She knows her calling is teaching. Unfortunately, Jess gets laid off from a teaching job and loses her purpose. But, after a part time job in food service and spending some time with the young, unemployed crew across the hall, Jess realizes she jump into the job search and get back in the classroom. She finds a few more teaching jobs and eventually becomes an Assistant Principal, her best role yet.



Nick Miller – Nick is the grumpiest and laziest one of the bunch, but lovable nonetheless. Nick actually went to law school and passed the bar, but decided not to become a lawyer. Sometimes we see Nick working at a bar, sometimes he lays on the couch all day. Sometimes he’s working on his zombie novel. We all know Nick means well and wants to go something with his life, he just can’t seem to get started.

Nick is also a budding entrepreneur, as we learn through his collaboration with Schmidt for Schnick Industries (see: the swuit—a suit made entirely of sweatsuit material). Again, he has great potential, but little success or follow up.



Schmidt – Schmidt is persistent, confident and a little arrogant. He’s a marketer who has been working for nearly half of two decades. Schmidt works for a difficult boss in an office full of women, and he goes to all sorts of lengths to impress her and move up in the marketing world. Little needs to be said about Schmidt’s employability; he’s among the most employable of the bunch.




Winston Bishop – After Winston returned from playing professional basketball in Latvia, he wasn’t sure what to do. He struggles in interviews, having been out of touch with American news and pop culture for a few years. He has a short stint as an assistant for a sports radio show, but then decides to attend the police academy. Despite the fact that his friends are uncertain of his decision, Winston graduates among the top of his class and finds purpose in being a police officer.



Coach – At the beginning of the show, Coach is a personal trainer who is really intense and has trouble talking to women. Coach moves out of the loft for a little while, so we lose track of him. But, he returns and later Jess hires him to be a health teacher at her school. At a conference, Coach admits he is only teaching because Jess asked him to. He gets nervous about teaching health, doubting himself and his abilities. His colleagues encourage him, though, underscoring how influential he can be by teaching health.

If there’s anything we can learn from the roommates, it’s that you can’t predict where life will take you and that your professional life may have lots of ups and downs. You may find yourself doing something you hate, or you may find yourself stuck in a rut unsure of what to do next. What’s important is that you set goals for yourself and keep trying to move forward.

rRachel Brown is a first-year graduate student. She is pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Professional Health Education. Rachel loves sharing her passion for health and wellness with others, traveling to new places, and enjoying a good meal.



Categories: Life Advice

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