How “Tangled” Got Me Through My College Career

All of the people that are graduating this month are making me nostalgic for my college days, so I wanted to write this week about my college career. And there was just no way to do that without talking about the movie “Tangled.” Congratulations to the class of 2019!

It’s no secret that I’m a Disney-phile. I love the parks, the costumes, the movies, all of it. There are Disney movies and characters that I can trace back to my childhood and bring me nostalgia. It is an important part of my life and my personal history. As a sentimental person, I hold Disney close to my heart for these reasons.

Also, despite popular opinion, I believe that Princess Aurora should always be pictured in her blue dress, not her pink one and I’m willing to fight anyone who disagrees. Not kidding.

Not only can I map my childhood with Disney, I can track my adulthood as well. And when it comes to my college career, I can honestly say that “Tangled” is one of the things that got me through it.

“Tangled” is an objectively good movie, of course. It has the hottest prince in Flynn Rider (seriously, he’s sexy, sassy, has great hair, the whole package…on second thought, the king is a DILF, too), great music, a surprise ending, and a badass princess — I mean, she wields a frying pan, for crying out loud! Thematically even, this movie is spectacular. It’s all about sacrifice, long hair maintenance, and what most of us would find a dream come true: being locked in a tall tower far away from all of the people.

Or, if you’re Flynn Rider, the dream is “somewhere warm and sunny, on an island that I own, tanned and rested and alone, surrounded by enormous piles of money.” #relatable

But honestly, my personal attachment and meaning is what makes it most enjoyable for me.

I still remember the first time that I saw “Tangled” the summer before I left for college. I wanted to see it with my younger cousins who all love Disney, too. With 4 younger cousins on my dad’s side that live near me and (used to) think that I’m cool, I hung out with my aunts and cousins frequently. As an only child, my cousins were like my surrogate younger siblings. I went to their sports matches, did photoshoots with them, and watched movies with them. I saw them a lot. I still see them occasionally, but our conversations have morphed into talking about classes and college visits rather than “Which Disney Princess wore it better.” Whatever, college is more important, I guess.

Watching “Tangled” with them was kind of like my college send-off. It was a recognition that I wouldn’t be able to attend a t-ball game on a random Tuesday night or catch a movie at the local theater. I would only be home on holidays, and even then, I would probably be catching up with high school friends.

So we watched the latest Disney movie at the time, which was “Tangled,” and I loved it. The prince, the badassery, the twist at the end. It was amazing. I made sure to pick up a copy on DVD before heading to college. In my dorm room, not only was “Tangled” present on my book/DVD shelf, but also on my roommate’s wall. That’s right, the movie that I had fallen in love with before I left home was also on my roommate’s poster. Looking back, this was probably one of the first signs that my roommate would become one of my best friends.

College was not the easiest time for me (as I’m sure I will prove time and time again in future posts). I struggled with being away from home, I was having a hard time making friends, and college courses were proving to be more difficult than high school classes.

My freshman year was rough, and I did not really expect my sophomore year to go any better. I had joined the student team responsible for freshman orientation my freshman year, which meant that I had to return to campus early, even as a sophomore. As scared as I was to come back early (especially with how hard it had been my freshman year), I was determined to make my mark on Dickinson through New Student Orientation. It was decided that my mom would come up and stay with me in my dorm for a few days.

Since my roommate wasn’t coming back to campus for a week after I arrived, my mom came to spend the weekend with me and stayed in her bed. It was nice to have a piece of home with me while I readjusted to college life. One night, we decided to turn in early, cuddle up in my bed and watch a movie. Guess which movie my mom had never seen and wanted to watch? Yup, we stayed up huddled around my 17 inch laptop screen watching “Tangled,” and it is still one of the greatest memories I have with my mom (She loved it, by the way.).

The summer between my Sophomore year and Junior year I spent a month studying abroad in Spain. While I knew that I would struggle with being away from home, I also knew that this was the chance of a lifetime. I made sure to bring some DVDs with me that I enjoyed for comfort, and of course, “Tangled” was one of them.

Predictably, the first two nights in Spain were rough. After I hung up on the phone from crying to my parents, I wanted something comfortable. Something predictable from home. I wanted to watch “Tangled.”

I put the disc into my computer and decided to check which languages the movie could be played in. Since there was a Spanish option and I wanted to immerse myself to the best of my ability, I watched the Spanish version. To this day, I still enjoy watching the Spanish version almost as much as the English version. I probably like the soundtrack just as much (Pro tip: for high-budget productions like Disney movies, where all of the songs are original and created specifically for the film, even the songs are translated into all of the languages that the movie can be played in. Neat, huh?). In this way, “Tangled” (and its soundtrack, which I immediately downloaded) got me through a difficult time abroad. I even used a quote from “Tangled” to describe my time in Spain: “Dreams came true all over the place.”

My junior year, “Tangled” followed me in the most regrettable sense possible. I came back from abroad seeking a new look. I had been wearing my hair long, but was ready to chop it off. New hair, new me. Unfortunately, my stylist didn’t quite understand what I wanted. She kept cutting my hair shorter until styling it became so impossible in the mornings that I started looking like I had just taken a broken shard of glass and cut it myself. Yeah, we’re just going to glaze over that part…

As graduation approached in my senior year, I was feeling sentimental, like everyone does. I looked back at my college career thinking about different things that had inspired me and kept me going. When I started coming up with ideas for designing my graduation cap, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be using “Tangled.”

But how would I do it? I have never been the most artistic person, so I made sure to buy several sheets of cardstock for when I invariably screwed up. As “Tangled” is all about chasing your dreams, it wasn’t too hard to find a perfect quote to use for my graduation cap. I made sure to include my quote as well as incorporate different designs from the movie. I even put a “blonde braid” of yellow yarn around my tassel. You can’t tell that I’m proud of it, can you? I’ve even pasted a picture of it below, because it is possibly the most artistic thing that I’ve ever done (and will ever do) in my life.

Graduation Cap

“Tangled” will always hold a special place in my heart. When people ask me what my favorite Disney movie is, I am always prepared to say that “Tangled” is the subjective favorite, but I have an objective favorite as well (“Pocahontas,” for the record. I’m also willing to fight anyone on this).


How about you? I would LOVE to see your creative graduation caps! Do you have any movies that have influenced and inspired you? Bonus points if they’re Disney movies!

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