6 K-Dramas To Watch If You Want To Gear Up For University Life

For many, it is that time of the year of making the transition from high school seniors to university freshman. On the cusp of adulthood, the first step towards university life brings many adventures. It’s a step towards dreams and hopes for the future, and it can bring with it new friendships, the first brush of love, and the lure of the unknown as you face whatever challenges lie ahead.

University life can be thrilling as well as intimidating, so here are six K-dramas that can help you get into the swing of things, giving a taste of what college life was for some of these drama characters.

Cheese in the Trap

Hong Seol (Kim Go Eun) is from a humble family. She is a bright student who works hard at home and in college to maintain her grades.  However, her structured life gets complicated when Yoo Jung (Park Hae Jin) decides to focus his attention on her. Yoo Jung comes from money and is an extremely mysterious young man. He can be caring one moment and cold as steel the next. He is brilliant at what he does and is popular as well, but can be domineering. His strange ways perplex Hong Seol, and she tries to keep away from him. Intrigued by Seol, the arrogant Yoo Jung finds himself warming towards her and looking out for her. But he has his own ways of showing his concern, which can get rather overwhelming for the one receiving it as well as the one at the receiving end of his wrath. Seol, who comes from a sheltered background, realizes that Yoo Jung suffers from psychological issues. A tender friendship and relationship develops between the two, but can they tide through their emotional baggage?

“Cheese in the Trap” is a character driven show, and though it gets a bit complicated as it entwines a love story with a psychological thriller, the drama does not disappoint at all. The show, which had a dedicated fanbase, scores for its performances by its two leads, whose chemistry was endearing despite the complexities of their situation.

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Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Weightlifting champ Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) trains hard, loves hanging out with her friends, and tucking into food. She is very comfortable in her skin and not really conscious about her body weight nor her short bangs. But things change when she falls for a doctor, who is the older brother of her friend Joon Hyung (Nam Joo Hyuk). Joon Hyung is a swimming prodigy and has feelings for Bok Joo, which go back to their days in elementary school. Bok Joo, unaware of Joon Hyung’s feelings, goes on a weight loss spree, which is unthinkable for a weightlifter, and she gets conscious about her appearance. In Joon Hyung’s eyes, she is perfect the way she is, and the romance which develops between the two is cutely charming.

Lee Sung Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk’s chemistry was undeniably awesome. The show also goes beyond being just a sporty campus romance, and themes like body positivity, self-image and self-confidence are cleverly woven into the narrative. Who can forget Bok Joo’s “Do You Like Messi?” which became a memorable one liner.

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Yoo Na Bi (Han So Hee) is a sculpture major at an arts university. She has finally called it quits with her overbearing boyfriend and is a bit cynical about love. In walks the handsome Park Jae Uhn (Song Kang), her fellow student, who is the reddest red flag who ever walked the campus. Jae Uhn is a heartbreaker, one who believes in loving and leaving people. Jae Uhn is happy to date, but when it comes to committing himself to someone and relationships, he takes flight. Na Bi, well aware of the kind of person he is, finds herself falling for him despite all her reservations. What develops between the two is a dangerously messy friends-with-benefits kind of relationship. They cannot keep their hands off each other, as their intensely crazy chemistry is what drives these two, but what about the emotional fulfillment?

“Nevertheless” can be stressful in many ways, because you know these two are heading towards heartbreak hotel. But nevertheless, you cannot help but keep watching the drama unfolding on stage.

My ID is Gangnam Beauty

Kang Mi Rae (Im Soo Hyang) has always been conscious about her appearance and gets surgery to change the way she looks. In college, she meets the handsome and popular Do Kyung Suk (Cha Eun Woo). Mi Rae and Kyung Suk were in middle school together, and though Mi Rae seems to have forgotten her old school mate, he remembers her. Kyung Suk likes her for who she is, and her looks is the least of his concerns. Kyung Suk makes his feelings apparent, but it is Mi Rae’s own deep seated insecurities which comes to the surface and between the two.

“My ID is Gangnam Beauty” goes beyond a college romance and significantly addresses the unrealistic standards and fixation on beauty. Many desperate to gain acceptance amongst their peer group can lose their own sense of self-worth in the bargain. Im Soo Hyang articulates the anxiety of her character, who was once bullied for her looks and mocked for changing them, well. And Cha Eun Woo charms as the thoughtful Kyung Suk who tries to instill confidence in the girl he loves.

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“Age of Youth”

Jin Myung (Han Ye Ri), Ye Eun (Han Seung Yeon), Ji Won (Park Eun Bin), Eun Jae (Park Hye Soo) and Yi Na (Ryu Hwayoung) are housemates. Though they share the same roof, their very different personalities cause friction initially, but soon it develops into a deep bond of sisterhood. Each one of them is also battling her own issues, be it family, finances, love, as well as emotional complexities. There are deep secrets too, as each one fears being judged by the other and society.

“Age of Youth” is a breezy watch and highlights the many layers of female bonding. What appeals through the episodes is how each one of these girls, who initially cannot stand the sight of the other, empower and stand up for each other. The drama will take you back in time and also gives a glimpse into what sharehouse life is like.

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My Roommate is a Gumiho

What is university life without a touch of fantasy? This is especially if the object of your affections is a mythical being and by default is also your college professor. Lee Dam (Hyeri) is a history student who accidentally swallows the bead of 999-year-old gumiho, also known as a mythical nine-tailed fox. The fox in his current form is the gorgeous Shin Woo Yeo (Jang Ki Yong), who also teaches at Lee Dam’s university. The bead that Lee Dam has swallowed is extremest crucial to Woo Yeo, because it will help turn him into a human. In his bid to protect the bead, he makes Lee Dam move into his home. But that’s when the equation gets tricky – is it the bead or Lee Dam he wants to protect? As the two start sharing a home together, they are faced with several situations, including love. As Woo Yeo develops feelings for this sprightly 20-something-year-old girl, Lee Dam is willing to move heaven and earth to be with him.

“My Roommate is a Gumiho” is a rom-com with great comic timing from Hyeri, who balances the serious demeanor of Jang Ki Yong. Though the show feels stretched and gets a bit long with typical tropes added in, it is still a fun watch.

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Hey Soompiers, which one of these is your favorite university drama? Let us know in the comments below!

Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yang Yang and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min HoGong YooCha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram.

Currently watching:Nothing But You

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