Spring break is a mental sanctuary for us students, relieving us of our checklist of weekly duties and allowing our short-circuiting minds to catch up on sleep, some sun (if you're lucky enough to get some), and much needed free-time.

However, if you're anything like myself, a week off can leave a student who's used to busy days with too much free time to think about what we're doing with our degree.

So I did what any college student would do with too much time on their hands and an underlying existential panic: I turned to Netflix to soothe my woes.

What I didn't expect was to be flooded with inspiration on how to navigate the modern working world. What I found were Netflix documentaries highlighting people in diverse careers that are making a significant impact in unconventional fields.

So here's a few hidden gems that I found...

1. Abstract — The Art of Design

degrees: studio art, art history, graphic design, engineering, photography, architecture

Abstract takes you into the lives of leading designers in their field who's work pervades our daily lives more than you may have known. From photography to shoe design, after watching this you'll surely see the world from an artist's point of view. 

2. Chef's Table

degrees: hospitality, food science, culinary arts, business

This wonderfully done series brings you into the mind's of world-renowned chefs and breaks down how they've cultivated their creativity to master their craft. The eclectic chefs presented in Chef's Table will surely ignite your passion for food, whether it be to make it or to eat it. 

Just waiting for them to cover an episode of #saltbae

3.  Algorithms: the Secret Rule to Modern Living

degrees: programming, computer engineering, computer science

Love numbers and applying them to solve problems? This doc explains the extensive use of algorithms as a way to navigate our modern lifestyle. From web analytics, online dating, airport traffic, and even organ transplants, algorithms have massively influenced our lives to free our time for more work and play. 

4. Food Choices

degreesfood science, nutrition, agriculture, environmental science, Life Sciences

Open your eyes to the story behind the food on your plate. Food Choices critically analyzes the impact of a modern diet on our health, environment, and identity.

Leading nutritionists, scientists, and doctors explain their research on our misconceptions on what we consume and will inspire you to improve your life and others for the greener. 

5. Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory

degrees: music, child youth & families, neuroscience, gerontology, social work, public health

This doc brings you into the psychological turmoil that people face when they age in nursing homes.

Alive Inside touches on the shift occurring in gerontology care with captivating cinematography. The joint effort of neuroscientists, social workers, and musicians discuss the miraculous effect of music on the health of the elderly and the sick. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll dance with this inspiring and revolutionary documentary. 10/10.

If this doc hits you in the feels and you want to look for ways to get involved, check out local places to volunteer at this link!

6. Particle Fever

degrees: physics, engineering

Particle Fever takes you inside of the biggest and most expensive experiment in human history as leading scientists try to recreate the moment of the Big Bang and find the origin of matter. The theory and minds behind this project will inspire anyone who's wondered how to mesh origin theory and physics into one career. 

7. The Bionic Vet

degrees: animal science, biomed, engineering 

Passion for animals and the science behind helping them? The Bionic Vet is a series that unveils the work of Noel Fitzpatrick, the man behind state-of-the-art techniques that are healing cases that were considered lost causes.

For those with an interest in veterinary college, let this doc inspire and teach you modern science and its innovative ways to heal your furry friends. Plus, the puppies are pretty cute too. 

8. Mitt  

degrees: political science, law

Every little kid grows up wanting to be president and if that dream still rings true with you, Mitt is a documentary that will take you into the day-to-day life of Mitt Romney to see exactly what it takes to be presidential. Politics, family, debates—this doc will show you the humanity behind the podiums.

7. Happy

degrees: human

If the workload of working toward for your future career has you revelling in anxiety and with a mild feeling of crushing existentialism, then this documentary is for you.

Happy takes you to different countries across the world to glimpse at the societies that house both the happiest and most stressed communities.

It will bring you back to the essence of what it means to be a human being, rather than a human doing, and leave you with the feeling that if all else fails, at least you can take Lennon's words of wisdom and aim to be the happiest grown-up you can be.


Netflix is really changing the game with creating quality content that highlights average people crafting their lives to be extraordinary. 

Documentaries offer a more honest view of the world when you want a break from the scripted drama of cable TV. The explosion in the number of these documentaries and the diversity of their content is absolutely awesome. And hey, if watching any of these documentaries had you inspired, clearly there's a niche for film-makers to fill and people to inspire!

So even if none of these titles resonate with you, take the time to go through the hundreds of fascinating docs provided by Netflix and get lost in someone else's view of the world.