What “The Big Bang Theory” teaches us about our twenties
Through Twitter, I found an article from USA Today College that uses The Big Bang Theory to provide tips about graduate school:
What ‘The Big Bang Theory’ teaches us about grad school (usatodayeducate.com)
For those of you who haven’t watched The Big Bang Theory, it’s about four nerdy scientists — Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj — and Penny, the attractive blonde they befriend.
I enjoyed the article, but it made me ask myself if The Big Bang Theory could provide lessons not only about graduate school but also about your twenties. So these are five points that I came up with:
You don’t have to be a hunk to find love.
Leonard is no ladies’ man, but he’s a stud compared to the other scientists. Howard is creepy and lives with his mother, Raj can’t talk to women unless he consumes alcohol, and Sheldon is repulsed by sex (or “coitus,” as he calls it.)
Yet they’ve all managed to find love. Leonard has an on-and-off relationship with Penny, Howard got married, Raj is dating a woman with social anxiety (they communicate through texts), and even Sheldon has found a girlfriend.
So even if you’re not conventionally attractive or have a few quirks, it’s still possible to find your match — especially when you put your best qualities forward.
Don’t let what others say intimidate you.
While Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj are all academically gifted, Sheldon is the most brilliant, and he never lets anyone forget it. He constantly brags about his own brilliance while putting down the work of his colleagues.
Here’s Sheldon giving a “motivational” speech to a class of PhD students. With a speech like that, it’s easy to feel discouraged and want to give up on your career before you even start.
People in your field might say that you’ll fail, but how could they know that when they have no idea how strong, capable, and determined you are? Also, they could be discouraging you not because their field is tough, but because they’re bitter or insecure or crazy like Sheldon.
Your dreams won’t always come true right away.
Penny moved to LA with the hopes of becoming a successful actress. Five years later, she still works at the Cheesecake Factory, and her highest-profile acting gig is a hemorrhoids commercial.
It’s easy for us to get discouraged when our career goals take us longer to achieve than we planned. We feel like failures, and we question whether our dreams were worth pursuing in the first place.
But we need to give our dreams time to grow because success rarely comes all at once; it comes gradually through years of hard work and persistence, which makes that success all the more deserved.
Get out of your routine.
Sheldon lives according to a meticulously organized regimen. He eats food and wears clothes based on the day of the week. He sits in the same spot on his couch. And he maintains his relationship with Leonard through a convoluted Roommate Agreement.
But what happens when something threatens this regimen? Take the episode where Sheldon’s longtime barber falls into a coma. Sheldon refuses to use another barber (even visiting his comatose barber in the hospital) before being persuaded to let Penny cut his hair.
It’s comfortable to only do what’s familiar and not deviate from your routine. But it can also stick you in a rut and close yourself off to new experiences and opportunities that you could only benefit from if you have the courage to step outside your comfort zone.
Don’t become too dependent on your parents.
While you might need your parents’ support while you find a job or pay off your loans, you shouldn’t use them as shelter from the threatening world of adulthood. After all, you don’t want to end up like Howard with his mother.