Why I Heart My Media

I love my media because it enables me to romanticize my life, to make me feel like even the dull or ugly moments of reality can become something beautiful.

Motivated fitness girls on TikTok turned making coffee or working out until you break sweat into something incredibly desirable, that one dude that gives college-essay recommendations turned taking out the trash into quiet moments of serenity, and my favourite movie (The Fall [2006]by Tarsem Singh) gets me excited beyond recognition about a future in filmmaking.

And while it’s important to not get consumed by or sucked into hustle-culture, it feels nice to sometimes not only just eat every kind of garbage that crosses my path but to dedicate time and energy to my meals because they fuel my body and largely decide how my day is going to unfold.

Since I’ve moved into my own apartment I even like cleaning. To me, it is far easier to romanticize my circumstances and daily tasks if I’m the only person I have to take care of. It’s like I get to form my own romanticized little world within me that is ruled by my media.

Whenever I lack motivation for something, I just spend some time watching somebody doing exactly what I should be doing (studying, cleaning, working out). By the time I’m finished, I´ve gotten so fed up about my own laziness (and, of course, motivated by the aesthetics because, that too, could be my life) that I immediately get to it.

I’ve started to write this assignment a few weeks ago. In my first draft I wrote:

The aesthetics and dreams my media has sold to me can make me incredibly jealous, too.

Everytime I have to watch a recorded lecture, the jealousy for all the students who get to sit inside the auditorium, surrounded my their classmates, listening to the collective tapping of the keys or scribbling on the paper, having the ability to ask their questions directly to the lecturer without any screen separating them, sometimes threatens to overtake me.

For years, my favourite sitcom (How I Met Your Mother, in which the main protagonist is a professor) has constantly indoctrinated me with an aesthetic idea of university. I watch it when I am healthy, when I am sick, on my good days and on my bad, on my birthday, on vacation, and after unwrapping the presents on Christmas.

This show is of course not the only medium that have taught me the aesthetics of university; shows like Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls or Ivy League Youtubers have heavily contributed to what I expected my experience to be like.

Hours on hours have I observed students meeting up to go to lectures together, complaining about their commute, getting lost on campus, going to the library afterwards, holding a hot to-go cup of tea in cold winters.

It’s like media sold me a certain life structure; you will move out and be able to design your own space, you will be able to work on the best version of yourself, and you will be able to sit in an auditorium in university, complaining about the commute, a hot cup of tea between your frozen fingers.

With some of it, media was right. Hopefully one day, media will be right about the rest, too.”

Now that the lectures can be held in person again, I look back on this rant with delight and realize that a few weeks later, I actually did get to meet up with my friends before, complain about the bad weather on my way and go study with them afterwards.

It’s funny how we always believe that media sell us lies when perhaps in reality, the tropes will prove to be true and have just not yet revealed themselves.

My relationship with media is messy, but I’m glad that it is. Maybe the disappointment about promises unfulfilled made my first “real” lecture that much more special.

Before classes started and my only source for assignments were my fellow classmates, I made the following meme:

I quickly came to realize that I was wrong in my initial assumption that this was not going to be too much work, as I did not even realize we had assignments before our course begun.

I really despised my media that day for not signalizing me earlier that I had readings to finish and recorded lectures to watch.

But now I get to be a stressed out twenties-something university student complaining about the workload, like in all those movies and shows.

And isn’t that something?

Student 14011034


Published by Life in Media

Website dedicated to the Media Life/Life in Media project of Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

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