It's harmless to, from time to time, indulge in fantasizing a life in which all dreams come true. And yes, I'm hinting at the life of some girls who have reached nirvana early in life and get to live happily ever after. AKA Disney princesses.
However, in indulging these fantasies it's crucial to understand the profound differences between your sad, stressed self and a princess. If you expect to see motivational quotes or upbeat encouragement inspired by fantasies, you are reading the wrong article. Unfortunately, college life doesn't function the way Disney movies do. Your knight in shining armor probably doesn't work the bar at a frat party. Typically, applying the lessons from fairy tales to real life at Northwestern only results in sad ever afters. And trust me, I've learnt some of these lessons the hard way. Here are some princess lessons you shouldn't follow, even if purple is the color of royalty.
1. Deadlines don't matter.
I understand that deadlines are integral in driving a movie plot forward. Yet they don't seem to affect the princesses in any way. Cinderella apparently has trouble remembering her 12 a.m. curfew, but even if the magic disappears, her lost crystal shoe still guides the prince to her. The falling petals of the Enchanted Rose are supposed to be the tension-creator and ruin any chance of lasting love between Beauty and the Beast. Yet the Prince "died" before the last petal falls and the deadline eventually becomes useless, since the spell is broken anyway.
I'm not jealous of Cinderella's royal status, but I do envy how even when she messes up her deadline, she still accomplishes everything there is to accomplish. She loses a crystal shoe when scrambling her way out of the palace, yet in the end returns as a princess and kisses the prince. When I lose one page of my final paper when sprinting from the library printer to my 9 a.m. lecture, the only thing I'm kissing is my A goodbye.
Perhaps the Beast does it the best: using health reasons to annul the deadline. I used to fake headaches to avoid handing in homework when I was younger, but it stopped being effective after my mom caught on.
2. Find "the one" when you are still young.
Ariel is 16 when she gives up her voice to be with Prince Eric. The Beast has to find his one love by 21 to break the spell. Snow White is 14 when she has to get a true love's kiss or die. It seems like if these characters don't find their life partners early, they'll have nothing left to do for the rest of their days (which will probably be spent in some forbidden woods). And for all of us in college already starting to phase out of our teenage years, where are we on this dating timeline?
So take a look at your schedule. Today: three back-to-back morning classes, 15 minutes at noon for a quick bite of sandwich, a three-hour shift at work, two meetings, 100 pages of reading and two hours of homework. Great! And what about finding "the one"? Is that another class that I need to overload my schedule to take?
What about when you finally get to socialize on a Friday night? You probably find yourself at a party, tipsy from the warm beer you downed, the bustling crowd and deafening music? It's probably already a challenge to recognize your friends, how do you possibly spot "the one?" Oh well.
3. If you want to blend in, stop being you.
One common trait of Disney princesses is that they are never happy with where they are in life. The seaweed is always greener in someone else's lake. Hence, Cinderella pretends to be a princess to attend the ball. Mulan pretends to be a man to stay in the army. Ariel goes even further and turns herself into a completely different species. While many of the princesses are simply being adventurous or have no other choice, faking an identity other than your own simply will not work under all circumstances.
At Northwestern, we all joke about the stereotypical Northwestern student, who gets involved in dozens of activities and exhausts himself or herself. Yet the pressure most students feel is real. We compare ourselves to our more involved counterparts, always aspiring to do more. We try to join clubs that don't interest us at all, simply to beef up our resumes. We hang out with people we don't feel comfortable with, just so that we can have access to their connections. We make ourselves everything we are not, in order to become someone we think we want to be in the future.
Perhaps sometimes we should look to the smaller characters, like the seven dwarfs who openly display their emotions and flaws, or Pocahontas' Meeko who cares only about biscuits. Sometimes we don't have to be the princesses. We just need to enjoy life as who we are.
Oh, but swiping your friend into a football game with someone else's Wildcard doesn't count.