Everything I need to know, I learned from Jess Day

Two things, kiddos: a) I have been rewatching New Girl in an attempt to catch up with season 5 (and am thoroughly enjoying myself) and b) yesterday was our queen, Zooey Deschanel’s, birthday. What more could anyone expect out of me than a column dedicated to Jessica Day, one of the cutest, most endearing characters on television?


Polka dots are life.
Look — I am a Cece, I am definitely not a Jess, despite our matching names and affinity for constantly being one of the only girls in a group of guys. Besides that, we don’t have a lot in common besides our bangs. This all being said, I absolutely love polka dots in any and all forms. I like them big, I like them small, I like them on cardigans or skirts, I’d probably even wear polka dot pants. Jess made it perfectly clear that she loves polka dots and that does not make her better or worse than any other person.


Singing is always appropriate.
Some people sing a lot, some people don’t. Jess Day is a s i n g e r. Jess sings any time and anywhere, She sings when she’s uncomfortable, she sings when she’s happy, she sings when she’s cooking, she sings before intercourse. She constantly sings. Though some of her roommates get irritated with her constant creation of sing-song statements, we all know that deep down, it is adorable.

It’s okay to figure stuff out.
Probably the main thing I love about New Girl is the realism in the fact that these characters are all over 30 years old, yet they have little-to-no idea what they are doing with their lives. Jess doesn’t always know what’s going on. She moves in with three random Internet strangers after a bad breakup, she is unemployed temporarily, she tries and tries again as a teacher and eventually moves up to being vice principal, a job she loves.

Dating-wise, Jess goes through what we all go through. She is cheated on, she accidentally becomes the “other woman,” she dates a variety of guys who are all great in their own ways but don’t work out for one reason or the other. She falls in love with one of her best friends and they try to work and struggle with very realistic relationship issues. Jess is just one of us — a perfectly-styled version of one of us.

Feminism is important.

Jess openly speaks about being a feminist many times throughout the show. Beyond that, she really embodies what a feminist is. She loves her guy friends so much but she does not hesitate to lecture them about any and everything that may be offensive to women. Jess supports women, she works on teaching the men in her life to be less offensive, and she is a very independent woman who knows how to love and be loved. I love seeing feminism represented on TV and Jess does that a lot.

Love is hard.
As I mentioned before, Jess has been through a lot of dating and love stuff. Though she has her down moments (“I just wanted to listen to Taylor Swift alone!”), Jess is ultimately an optimist. She somehow manages to break up with Nick, her live-in boyfriend, love-of-her-life, and close friend while maintaining their friendship. Jess constantly reminds us that love is hard, but it is ultimately worth it. Dating sucks. It really, really sucks. But that is no reason to throw in the towel or doubt yourself in any way.

Take risks.
When Jessica Day wants something, Jessica Day goes for it. When Jess gets let go from her job as a teacher, she briefly works at a fast-food type casserole restaurant. Instead of pitying herself forever, Jess gets back out there, goes on interviews in which she openly cries, and eventually lands herself a teaching job. The school she works at is hard and weird and has budget issues. Instead of quitting, Jess makes the mean bully teachers be friends with her and she works her way up into a position of power, in which she can actually make some changes for the better.

With Nick and with Sam and with Russell, Jess takes a situation that seems difficult and fights for what she wants. Russell is older, divorced, and intimidating? So what? Sam thinks her name is Katie, he’s super hot, and a doctor? Who cares! Nick is a man-child who doesn’t believe in banks or technology and refuses to go to the doctor? Ehh, that’s not so bad, right? Jess follows her heart and her dreams and takes the risks she needs to take in order to find her true happiness. And that is inspirational.

Be there for your people.
Jessica Day is the perfect example of a friend. I personally like to think I am the kind of friend that would do anything, ever, no matter what for my friends, but Jess reminds me that I can always try harder and be better. Jess is there for each and every one of her friends in whatever unique way they might need her to be. Jess and Cece have an incredible long-lasting friendship. Jess and Schmidt have a super touching connection, one which includes her being there for him whenever he needs someone the most. Jess fights to befriend Coach in order for him to see her more as his buddy Nick’s girlfriend. Winston and Jess have so many weird things in common — they just understand each other. And Nick and Jess, though obviously different than the rest of the friends, maintain their friendship through everything. Even before they ever hook up, Jess took care of Nick in ways he didn’t even realize. When it comes to her family, Jess is the same way. Jess protects her dad from bad girlfriends, she worries about her mom’s happiness, and she constantly tries to enhance Abby’s life by keeping her out of trouble.

Jess does it all. She is always there for her people.

Your best friend is everything.


I love Jess and Cece’s friendship. I love seeing strong female friendships on television, and these two truly have something special. Jess and Cece are so different, but they always come together in the end. The most important friendship moment, in my opinion, between Cece and Jess is when Cece reminds Jess that she was her first student. We get an incredible flashback of Jess and Cece’s first meeting, in the school library when they were kids. Jess is her perfectly weird self and sits down to help Cece understand math. Cece shares that her father has recently passed, and Jess offers up her own dad to Cece, further proving that Jess has always had a gigantic heart. The scene always makes me cry because I love the history

Know, love, and be yourself.
Jess knows herself. Jess loves herself. And Jess is always herself.

If I had one life lesson for all of you, from any of the characters, movies, shows, or songs I have ever written about, it would be this. If you can figure out how to know herself, love yourself, and be yourself — you have got it made. It is important to not stand down to people who challenge you or try to make yourself feel bad for who you are. Jess does this and she surrounds herself with people who love her for who she is. And that is amazing.

(Images via FOX and FOX / GIPHY.)