Comfortable and Furious

Hidden Gems: Documentaries Every College Student Should See

For college students, the constant immersion in textbooks, lectures, and the whirlwind of campus life can be overwhelming. Documentaries, however, offer a unique reprieve—a chance to step back and engage with the world from new angles. Not only do these films provide a break from the academic grind, but they also enrich your understanding of complex global issues and personal stories that textbooks might not cover.

While you’re juggling assignments and possibly even about to decide to try essay writer online to help manage your workload, incorporating documentaries into your study routine can offer a refreshing, educational supplement. These films can inspire new ideas, provoke questions, and even influence your academic pursuits and career paths. Here’s a curated list of documentaries that every college student should watch, each offering valuable insights into different facets of life and learning.

Insightful Picks for the Curious Mind

“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (2011) – Mastery and Discipline

This documentary delves into the life of Jiro Ono, an esteemed sushi chef whose dedication to his craft offers a masterclass in discipline and perfection. Students can draw parallels between Jiro’s commitment to sushi and their own pursuit of academic excellence. The film is a compelling reminder of the rewards that come with passion and perseverance, qualities that are transferable to any field of study or endeavor.

“The Act of Killing” (2012) – Confronting Past Atrocities

Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, The Act of Killing is a powerful and disturbing documentary that challenges former Indonesian death squad leaders to reenact their real-life mass killings in whatever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers. This bold approach to storytelling forces both perpetrators and viewers to confront their past actions and the real impact of violence. It’s an essential film for students of history, psychology, and film studies, providing a unique lens on memory, trauma, and the human capacity for cruelty and denial.

“The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” (2014) – Innovation and Activism

Exploring the life of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz, this documentary highlights the impact of technology on education and the open-access movement. It is particularly relevant for students in tech and legal studies, provoking discussions on ethical issues and the role of technology in shaping modern education. Swartz’s story is a powerful catalyst for debate on digital rights and academic freedom.

“20 Feet from Stardom” (2013) – The Unsung Heroes of Music

This Grammy-winning documentary shines a spotlight on the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. “20 Feet from Stardom” not only celebrates the raw talent and stories of these often-overlooked artists but also delves into the complexities of race, gender, and artistic recognition in the music industry. For students studying music, sociology, or cultural studies, this film offers a profound look at the dynamics that shape the entertainment industry.

“Particle Fever” (2013) – The Quest for the Building Blocks of the Universe

“Particle Fever” follows the first round of experiments at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, documenting the monumental efforts of physicists to discover the Higgs boson particle. The documentary captures the excitement, frustrations, and sheer joy of scientific discovery. It’s an excellent resource for students in physics and engineering and anyone interested in the workings of the universe. The film is a testament to the human spirit’s pursuit of knowledge and the collaborative efforts driving modern science.

“Man on Wire” (2008) – Facing Fear and Taking Risks

Philippe Petit’s daring tightrope walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 is not just a tale of physical bravery but also of immense psychological resilience. This documentary serves as a metaphor for the balancing act that students perform—managing coursework, social life, and personal growth. Petit’s story encourages students to embrace risks and face fears, which are critical lessons for personal and professional life.

Documentaries as Educational Tools

These films do more than entertain. They serve as potent educational tools that supplement traditional learning methods. By presenting real-world applications of theoretical knowledge, they enhance critical thinking and broaden perspectives. They also provide practical examples that can be discussed in classes, integrated into assignments, or serve as inspiration for student-led projects and discussions.

Incorporating documentaries into your learning routine can transform how you view your studies and the world. Whether you’re a sociology major analyzing human behavior, a business student exploring innovative entrepreneurship, or a political science major examining policy impacts, documentaries offer invaluable insights that are as educational as they are engaging.

Conclusion: Expanding Horizons with Documentaries

For college students looking to deepen their understanding of their subjects—or just see the world in a new light—documentaries are an excellent resource. They provide context to the theories discussed in classrooms and offer a real-world application to academic knowledge. As you navigate through your college years, take time to explore these films. They might just change how you think about your major, your career path, and the world.

Documentaries can significantly enrich a student’s academic experience, providing a well-rounded education that textbooks alone cannot offer. They teach, inspire, and open up new pathways of thinking and understanding. As you continue your journey through college, remember that learning isn’t confined to the classroom—it’s a lifelong process that can be wonderfully supplemented by the power of documentary film.



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