What We Can Learn from Toy Story 3's Andy Going to College

Toy Story 3 Spoiler Alert!

Toy Story is one of those movies I feel like I grew up with. It’s one of the few I can remember going to see in the theater as a kid, and one of the few I made sure to own on DVD. andy-toy-story

I was thrilled to hear that Toy Story 3 was releasing this summer. I’d heard the plot line was going to send Andy to college, so I was curious how the story would handle it. When the movie opened and the nostalgic home videos by Andy’s mom of him playing as a young boy started rolling, I cried. I admit it, I started crying. Maybe there’s some residual from having recently had a baby, and maybe I’ve just got a soft spot for remembering those carefree days myself.

Then, we find Andy in his room, a much taller, older version of the sweet boy of yester Toy Story. He’s preparing to leave for college. His room looks like a typical teenage boy’s – walls draped in posters, pennants and other teen paraphernalia. Under the window is a chest, and inside we find all of his, and our, favorite toys. Woody, Buzz, the Potato Heads and all the rest have been tucked away. The toys realize Andy’s leaving soon and make one last-ditch effort to remind him of their presence, but it fails.

Andy’s mom soon arrives with empty boxes and trashbags and encourages Andy to start sorting, trashing and packing before he leaves in a few days. Nervous, the toys await their fate, as Andy chooses whether or not to take his toys to college, store them in the attic, or bid them farewell.

It’s a place we all find ourselves after high school – ushering in an exciting, more mature life, and saying goodbye to our childhoods.

I remember packing up my room, trashing most of it. I didn’t keep the homecoming mums, the senior prom champagne flutes, or most of my toys. And I don’t regret it. I don’t sit here now wishing I could hold the cardboard, glitter-covered stars from prom that I took. I have the memories of how beautiful the scene was that night, and that’s good enough for me.

pound-puppyHowever, I did hold on to a few things. I kept my Pound Puppy, my Barbies (even the one whose hand was mauled by the dog) and a stuffed bunny my grandmother made. I recently pulled them out of their storage totes and put them in my daughter’s room. I love that she’ll have something of mine to play with in a couple years. Maybe it will help her realize that I was a little girl once, too.

It doesn’t hurt that it reminds me, as well, that I was once a little girl.

I liked Andy’s decision for how to handle the toys – to box some in the attic and take his favorite with him. I don’t know how I felt about his final decision though. One day he’ll have kids of his own, and they won’t be able to experience the joy that Woody and Buzz brought to him.

What can we learn from Andy? It’s OK to grow and move on, you’ll always have your memories. (Mom might even have a video laying around!) There’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to be a kid again. And it’s just fine to listen to your heart.

When you left for college, what did you save and what did you toss? Tell us below!








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