Ah, sweet college -- the perfect fusion of freedom and dependence, childhood and adulthood, midterms and hangovers. For many students, it takes escaping high school and heading off to college to find out who they really are and who they really want to be. It's okay to miss it sometimes, or even most of the time.
Fortunately, television will always be here to help you relive your glory days. These college-set series cover the good, the bad, and the hilariously pathetic parts of higher learning. For every randomly selected roommate who became an instant best friend, there was a mind-numbingly boring professor with a two-hour lecture on the origin of language. For every idyllic fall day on campus, there was a boxed macaroni-and-cheese mishap. And for every deep, personal revelation, there was a moment of being too hungover to get out of bed, let along get to class.
When you're jonesing for a walk around the quad and some anything-can-happen hopefulness, turn to these five college TV shows.
1. 'Undeclared' (2001 - 2003)
This short-lived Judd Apatow comedy series did for college what the critically acclaimed "Freaks and Geeks" did for high school. Future superstars like Seth Rogen, Charlie Hunnam, and Jason Segel navigate the wild west of the dorm tower, dealing with familiar struggles: a roommate's jealous high school boyfriend, demoralizing fraternity rush rituals, embarrassing part-time jobs, and being "sex-iled" to the common room, just to name a few.
2. 'Felicity' (1998 - 2002)
Who'd have guessed that J.J. Abrams, the creative mind behind the cinematic revivals of Star Wars and Star Trek, would also have a beloved college relationship drama on his resume? "Felicity" was a star-making turn for both Keri Russell and Keri Russell's hair -- fans and the media completely lost it when she went from curly mane to gamine pixie cut in Season Two. It also launched the careers of Scott Foley, Greg Grunberg, and Jennifer Garner. The titular heroine spends much of the show stuck between accessible Noel and dream man Ben, but the series is fundamentally a coming-of-age story with more than romance on its mind.
3. 'Community' (2009 - 2015)
Not everyone arrives on campus at 18 with a perfect transcript, an expensive pea coat, and a beanbag chair full of uncrushed dreams. "Community" is a tribute to the misfits. Joel McHale and his co-stars play a diverse group of unlikely friends who find their way to the same community college through all manner of mistakes and second chances. If you prefer your sincerity with a heavy dash of sarcasm and never met a pop-culture reference you didn't like, this is the college comedy for you.
4. 'A Different World' (1987 - 1993)
"A Different World" moved away from its Huxtable roots after just one season when central character Denise was written out after actress Lisa Bonet became pregnant and left the show. Bonet's shoes were filled by unforgettable coeds like the refined and traditional Whitley, the geeky Dwayne, the mature Jaleesa, and the rest of the outspoken and tightly knit student body at the fictional, historically black Hillman College.
5. 'How to Get Away With Murder' (2014 - )
That's not a topic you'd find on many course listings, but getting away with murder is the most in-demand curriculum at Philadelphia's Middleton college. In the ShondaLand thriller, law professor Annalise Keating schools her exclusive group of eager pupils in the ways of manipulating witnesses, tampering with evidence, and literally burying bodies.