10 Netflix Shows Every Student Should Watch

Here are 10 Netflix shows that can help teach you a lesson or two about uni life and navigating all the ups and downs to come.

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Netflix is every student’s best friend. Whether cuddled up on the couch with your significant other or watching on your phone at the back of the lecture hall, Netflix has taken over everyone’s free time and is the talking point of many university students. While Netflix is a procrastination magnet, it can also be edutainment (educational entertainment) for a student's downtime. Below are 10 Netflix shows that can help teach you a lesson or two about uni life and navigating all the ups and downs to come.
1. Dear White People

This show's center is on African American university students and their struggles with subtle racism and institutional prejudice in Western education. I recommend this series to help students understand the struggles that minority students face in university and that you need to be mindful of how you act and the consequences of your behaviour on others.  Māori and Pasifika students are NZ university's largest minority groups, and many of the show's themes are relevant in a New Zealand context. This show is good for learning cultural awareness and acceptance of others.
2. Riverdale

Riverdale is a modern retelling of the classic Archie comics and looks at how these characters would live in the 21st century dealing with murder mysteries, the supernatural, and high school dramas. This show is many people's guilty pleasure as the themes of friendship, romance, and loss are relatable to everyone.  The characters are realistic and feel like someone you might know from university or your social circle. Take the show's high school setting and apply that to a university, and everything from navigating the challenges of education to students' downtime is a takeaway for any viewer.
3. Fatherhood

A new Netflix movie about a single father raising his daughter and the challenges of parenthood. Some students are already parents and must balance parenting with studying. I would suggest a watch to understand the sacrifices parents will make for their children, and if you ever personally encounter a parent at university this show could help aid their stress by becoming a study buddy or assignment partner.
4. How I Met Your Mother

You will not find a better TV show which shows friendship and all the complexities that it brings. Heartbreak, jealousy, loyalty, love, and laughter are just some of the many themes that it tackles, and watching this show can teach students how to appreciate those closest to you and embrace your friendships for all that they are worth. Others might include the other show about ‘Friends,’ but I believe students will get a better takeaway from HIMYM in the long term.
5. The Circle (USA)

The circle is a reality TV show where the contestants create profiles of themselves (half of these profiles are fake) and spend a whole session interacting with one another only through virtual communication. This show takes catfishing to the extreme as the viewer sees contestants become entirely invested in relationships (platonic or romantic) with people they have never met and end up revealing personal details about themselves to strangers. Students watching this will learn the risks of catfishing and this then can be applied to interactions with strangers online.
6. The Social Dilemma

This documentary focuses on social media and the threat it has on people who use it. Every student has at least one social media platform, and no matter which you use, it has the same potential risks of privacy, addiction, and misleading information. Students should watch this to learn what social media really is, how to stay safe online with your information, and how you interact with others. Having the world at your fingertips is a great power, and with great power comes great responsibility, as Uncle Ben once said.
7. Black Mirror

Have you ever watched films like Inception, Shutter Island or Tenet and wanted a mind-melting TV show that broaches subjects like LGBTQ virtual love, the threat of technology, and political corruption? All this and more are featured in this series which from the start pulls no punches in establishing a hard-hitting message on society norms and zeitgeists through hypothetical dystopia situations in different episodes. People watching this will need to prepare themselves for graphical content, but the themes are relevant to so many situations that I can’t list them all here. As such, I would recommend this show to students interested in ‘bigger picture’ jobs, e.g., government agencies, law, IT/Tech realms, etc. 
8. Any of the Dave Chappelle Netflix specials

Dave Chappelle is one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time. His Netflix specials are a hilariously (and potentially offensive to some) satire on the many issues plaguing American society, from police brutality to Donald Trump to LGBTQ rights and so much more. Many students I knew didn’t watch the news or were uninterested in current events because it was presented in a boring fashion and not relevant to them. Dave Chappelle can have the viewer roaring with laughter and then pondering the deeper message behind his jokes. Student’s watching this will appreciate having a laugh, but also getting a better understanding of issues that would not be important to them otherwise.
9. You

'You' is a psychological romantic thriller about a man who falls in love with a woman and goes to extreme lengths to be with her. This show is a fascinating insight into relationships and particularly how not to act when pursuing a potential partner. I suggest watching 'You' to help understand themes like love and the boundaries for either pursuing or being in a romantic relationship with another person.
10. Malcolm and Marie

A 2021 romantic drama detailing the ups and downs of a couple’s relationship fleshed out through an ongoing argument all in one evening. This film successfully captured the many complexities of a relationship, and neither character is right or wrong in this instance. I suggest a watch (although not with your partner) to see a visualisation of how tough relationships are and to think about what it is that you want from your partner?
And there you are, 10 Netflix shows every student should watch in their downtime. Enjoy these shows, learn a thing or two and share this with your friends.
-Taylor Tutawa, Nxtstep Content Writer

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