Movies portray the world from an infinite amount of perspectives, locations, settings, time periods and lives. There is a fine line between reality and the fictional world created by Hollywood; nevertheless, movies can play an instrumental role in our perception of our own lives and experiences.

“Toy Story 3” and the reality of moving on

by Adrian Garcia, SSW

It’s your last year of high school; the class bell rings — summer season is nigh. As you walk down the halls of your high school and think of everything imaginable that you would want to do for summer vacation, you’re hit with a reality: You’re going to attend college very soon. For most, that means leaving home and the things you love the most to move somewhere else to pursue your education.

When I was in the 10th grade, while friends around me already had their eyes set for college, I wasn’t entirely as focused on college as I should have been. I knew I had to attend because I wanted to make something out of myself. I just didn’t know what to pursue.

And then the masters at Pixar decided to release a film pretty much hellbent on making anyone who’s going to college soon cry as hard as they can. That film was “Toy Story 3” and for Pixar to release it 11 years after the last iteration in the franchise, at a time when its core target audience was becoming young adults, is just a stroke of genius. I saw “Toy Story 3” in theaters with my cousin, pushing kids out of the way so I could see it first (kidding of course — maybe). What I got out of it was a masterfully crafted emotional tale about moving on and letting go, because sometimes in order to advance through life we need to find a fresh new start and let go of the things we hold dear the most.

Like Andy in the film, we all try and hope to keep our mementos around.

As I sat in the theater, at the age of 16, I couldn’t help but think I would soon probably find myself in Andy’s position, struggling to truly grow up and go on to college. Or you know, four to five years of late-night parties and adventures with a side of stress and a shot of caffeine while trying to cram everything into your brain for those darn finals.

I’m 22 years old now, and I find myself in a position quite similar to when I first saw the film in theaters. I’m about to graduate and truly go into the real world. In my college life, I’ve often found myself watching “Toy Story 3” from time-to-time. Even though it’s only been about seven years since its release, Pixar’s perfect “three-quel” has risen to the top as one my favorite movies of all time. It’s a film so relevant to the inner kid in all of us. Like Andy in the film, we all try and hope to keep our mementos around. He is so confident he can keep his toys in his house and that they will still be there when he comes back, albeit neglected in a dark attic. But as Andy struggles to find his toys because they’ve been misplaced and as the toys struggle to get back to Andy, in the end, both learn that maybe it’s for the best to start anew instead of holding on to something they both hold so dear to them.

Now as I walk my last steps here at UCR, through the great lecture halls where students struggle to keep their eyes open or go window-shopping on Amazon while the professor is lecturing, I think of everything imaginable that might happen once I graduate. I’m facing the reality of the real world and I know it will grant fresh and exciting opportunities. This time, the thing I’m leaving behind that I love the most is UCR, and while it might pain me to leave it, I know that in doing so it will finally grant me the opportunity to pursue my career and hopefully take me to places infinity and beyond. I’m approaching my last days at UCR. Now, the Bell Tower rings — the real world is here.

How “Bridget Jones’s Diary” helped me help me

by Cydney Contreras, SSW

If college has taught me anything, it is to laugh when I make a total ass out of myself. It is not rare to find myself in the most embarrassing situations, totally unprepared or just a hot mess most days. So when I started my first year at UCR, it was safe to say I was pretty much always shy and avoided social interactions like the plague. Maybe that is why I have come to rely on “Bridget Jones’s Diary” for a lesson on how to be more confident in who I am. Hopefully I am not alone in this, because I cannot count the amount of times I have needed a distraction from everyday life. And maybe it is because of Bridget that I do not feel alone.

For those who have not seen the movies about Bridget Jones, she is a 30-something year old journalist in England. She has little sense of fashion, is awkward and makes for the most embarrassing social encounters. Yet somehow, she lands the two most eligible bachelors in England. Also, the fact that she is so embarrassing lands her a career on TV and she gets to travel the world and be a reporter. She is basically goals for the everyday woman.

My first year of college was probably the most boring year of my life. Contrary to popular opinion, your first year is not the time when you go out with friends all the time and get blacked out and feel good about yourself in the morning. Your first year in college is the time in your life where you never feel like you totally fit in. It is the time where you awkwardly careen from social group to social group in a quest to find where you belong. There are the occasional alcohol-induced blackouts, but never the ones where you and your friends laugh the next morning over a cup of coffee and greasy breakfast foods. If you’re lucky, maybe you can escape those first few parties of freshman year with a light hangover and clothes that smell like beer.

If college has taught me anything, it is to laugh when I make a total ass out of myself.

I am probably alone in this, but I definitely relate to Bridget in the sense that I spent most nights watching movies and eating ice cream, while contemplating the utter lack of romance in my life. And I definitely relate to feeling utterly hopeless when I do get the chance to go on a date. The difference between Bridget and I, is that she takes those chances when they arise, whereas I have tended to shy away and hide behind my responsibilities. So as cheesy as it sounds, I try to be more like her.

Toward the end of my freshman year I tried to channel my inner Bridget Jones and embraced the newly found freedom I had. I got a Tinder, went on dates and tried to make a bunch of new friends. I decided to apply to study abroad for fall quarter of my sophomore year. I made all these changes and told myself if it didn’t pan out, then at least I tried.

So I started dating and I soon realized Tinder was not for me. I went on a date with a British guy, who, even though he was cute and the accent was a plus, was totally not right for me. We went on two dates and by the second one he was joking that we could get married so he could get his green card. I remember laughing awkwardly, but in my head I was freaking out. I ghosted his ass so fast.

To make friends, I joined a club on campus and found that it helps to meet people who have the same interests as you. Then I was accepted into the university I applied to study abroad at. It felt like things were falling into place. It was no longer a matter of planning to do things in the future, but actually doing it. No longer did I feel limited by my social anxiety, because I had actually started to feel confident in who I was and what I could do. That little voice in my head that was telling me how embarrassing I was grew quieter and eventually I couldn’t hear it at all. All thanks to Bridget Jones.