Junior year of high school. Just that one little phrase can incite fear in any teenager. That one year in your life notorious for high stress and pressure. And I am willing to admit I am someone who gets caught up in those warnings, stressing myself out over a problem before it even exists and getting caught up in the myth that is “junior year” (dun-dun-dun).
Then, about a month into junior year, I started watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. I know what you’re thinking. No, it wasn’t McDreamy’s perfect hair that changed my life. Just about every episode of Grey’s features new patients who are onscreen for minutes as the doctors run in and out. However, the writing and portrayal of these characters are so heart-wrenching and powerful that it changed my outlook on life.
Even now, as I am on the 10th season, I can still remember patients from the very first season who were on for seven minutes out of the hour because of the realizations I had about them. As I sat in my bed late one night crying over the elderly couple on Grey’s who wanted to protect each other from the truth that one of them was dying, I realized just how small my school problems I had stressed over the night before really were. Or take the episode that opened with Meredith Grey talking about how we all complain about having a terrible day because of little things like the stomach flu, traffic, coffee spilling on us, or, in my case, a difficult test or a lot of homework. In this episode, however, Grey emphasized that when really bad days come around, we realize those seemingly “terrible” ones had been the best days of our lives, and we wish for them back.
The late-night binge-watching of Grey’s Anatomy got me thinking. Everyone always says that high school were the “glory days” and the best time of their life, but I would always brush it off and say, “Yeah, but times have changed since then. School has become more stressful, expectations are higher.” But since I started watching Grey’s, I haven’t thought that way anymore. Now, whenever I feel stressed about anything school related, I remind myself just how relatively minor my problems are. Now, I’ve decided to continue pursuing what I love to do, even if it means I won’t necessarily make the most money, because life is too short to be miserable.
Although some people may scorn the idea that something as seemingly “vapid” as a television show could have such a profound impact on my life, it’s actually not that unprecedented of a suggestion. Multiple studies have been done that found that fiction shows and books increase the empathy of their audiences. So it’s not too crazy to say that for me, Grey’s Anatomy is a lot more than gorgeous people working in a hospital who go through extreme situations that make for great cliffhangers. It’s a reminder that just a few well chosen words or actions can be powerful enough to connect audiences and evoke emotional responses. A reminder to enjoy life, which, for the moment, includes junior year of high school.
My best friend and I dressed up as Meredith and Christina from Grey's for Halloween.
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