For some reason, when you move to university, you find yourself watching more films than you probably ever have done before. And that’s not necessarily the worst thing that could happen to you.

You may not even like films and suddenly find yourself being thrown into the world of Hollywood, either of your own choice or by letting others ‘provoke’ you. Either way, watching a film (or several) won’t put the dampeners on getting that First at university but that said, don’t push it too far. It’s an easy way to distract yourself and you could pay the price for it later. You need a balance, and this handy guide will show you how-


  • If the workload is getting a bit unbearable (and it probably will do) and you either can’t afford the luxury of alcohol or just don’t fancy a night out, stick a film on. Not only does it give you a break from the dark and damp recesses of studying, but it gives you a chance to unwind and relax, depending on what film it is you’re watching. If things are getting serious for you and you really can’t put up with the miseries of essay writing and exam preparation, put a comedy on. It will make the world of difference.
  • Films are huge conversation boosters. If you’re not the most sociable person (not everyone can be!) then approach someone with a film in mind that you know they’ll love! It always breaks the ice and pretty much lets people know you’re human!  Or even better, watch a film with someone else. It gives you the opportunity to talk about what you’re seeing, even if you agree about the film or not. Let people know what films you like and what films you don’t. Find common ground. It’ll make your introductions to everyone who you live and study with that much easier.
  • Every so often, you’ll need inspiration. Watching a film can do that, even if you’re not on a course that involves films. It can give you ideas, and there is never any harm in making a film a second reference, if you reference it right. Like my first point, relaxing your mind will actually refresh it for when you come back to work and you’ll have all kinds of ideas floating around.
  • A good film can be cheap to buy if you shop around and can be a money-saving alternative to going out or going to the cinema itself.


  • Don’t take it too far. If you start watching films more than what you’re studying, you need to re-adjust priorities. While its nice to have your break, don’t start putting off your work just to watch a couple of films. Believe me, I’ve been there. Its better to get a difficult piece of work out of the way before you give yourself a chance to unwind.
  • Although films can be good for social standings, don’t push it. Eventually, people will start to think that all you ever talk about is films and not everyone likes films as much as what you may. Use the films as a conversation starter then move on to other topics, let the conversations come naturally. I may sound like a nagging nanny, but this is really a fundamental aspect of university life. You’ve come to make friends, so make them. Just be aware of how far you can go with one single topic.
  • Don’t become reliant on films providing you with the salvation of the workload. Sooner or later, it has to be done. Another key tip is to not watch a film that requires concentration. You’re meant to be relaxing your mind, not making it work twice as hard! And don’t put on a film that you haven’t seen before while you work. Its no problem to have something on as background noise, but make sure you’re not looking up at the screen too often to see what’s going on.
  • Don’t buy films on compulsion – think about what you’re buying. Your student loan is for you to live and study on, not to spend on an infinite amount of DVDs.

 Written by James Smith