As the summer nights start to sizzle away, I know I’m not the only one worried about how school is quickly approaching. Some of you may be headed off to new territories — a new school, maybe a new city and atmosphere – while others may be dreading their return back into those not-so-hallowed halls full of people you really can’t give two shits about.
Whichever camp you fall into, you’re probably being bombarded with shows that love to tell you how much fun being in school is. Good thing you know better because school isn’t exactly all butterflies and rainbows for you because NO ONE spontaneously bursts out into song (unless you’re in an art school, but that’s a different story). It can also be a source of stress and tears.
To help you ease back into the academic world, here are ten TV shows that tell you what school really is like:
1. Lizzie McGuire
I wish I could say that the most important lesson Lizzie McGuire taught me is you might get a kiss from Aaron Carter if you sneak around music video sets. In all seriousness though, this show did a great job of depicting what high school life is really like, such losing best friends and dealing with body issues. Minus the early 2000’s accessories, Lizzie McGuire was one of the best examples of what a teenage girl goes through a daily basis.
2. Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide
We may not go chasing ferrets or run from leather jacket-clad bullies on a daily basis, but I have to admit, Ned’s tips really do help. It may take Ned and his friends, Cookie and Moze, to discover those handy tips but at least we know we’ll use them at some point.
3. Boy Meets World
It doesn’t matter if you started watching this show in the early nineties or years after its tearjerker of a finale (I love you too, Mr. Feeny), this was one show we related to easily. Whether the episode was about a certain teacher that inspired you to do better or hoping to spend the rest of your days with the girl/boy next door, you secretly thought this show was about you.
You might not be the next Drake when you finally leave high school (or you might be. What’s stopping you?), but we know that even Drake had his share of hardships. Before rapping about “Started from the bottom now we here,” Drake was “Wheel Chair Jimmy” on Canada’s most beloved series, Degrassi. This show was frighteningly realistic as it hits just about every issue a kid could go through — drugs, sexual abuse, questioning your sexuality, bullying, school shooting… You name it, Degrassi has probably already covered it—twice.
5. Friday Night Lights
You don’t have to be from a small town to relate to characters on Friday Night Lights. You don’t even have to be an avid football fan to get sucked into this show. Their heavy focus on family and community is what makes this show so relatable.
We might not have two very good looking guys fighting for our affection (because let’s be real: sometimes we’d rather be sitting in the dark on Tumblr than socialize with people in real life), but Jenna’s life in Awkward is truly one of the only shows currently on the air that shows what it’s really like to be a teen today. From bullying to depression, it’s one of the very few series out there that isn’t afraid to show that high school is no easy street.
The chances of you entering school again because you lied about getting your degree in the first place is probably slim to none. However, Community is a great quirky show that somehow portrays the college experience. While we might not be building pillow forts every day, Community is about the kinds of friendships you build after you leave high school.
8. Saved By The Bell
While not 100 per cent accurate (what show is), this list would be incomplete without Saved By The Bell. What I love most about this show is that these characters are more than their stereotypes, but rather a combination of the people you have or will encounter at school. It’s also nice to see this iconic group of friends struggle with friendships and relationships in more or less the same ways you do. If you’re looking for a corny perspective of high school, this is your show.
9. My So-Called Life
If we had to rank any of these shows in order, My So-Called Life might just get first place. This show vanquishes any hope that high school is full of gumdrops and hot boys as it shows how confusing those pesky teenage years really are. Leave it up to Angela to go through rebellion, heart break and the struggles of finding out who she really was to make us feel something.
If there’s one thing you’re dreading about going back to school it’s having to deal with people you can’t stand. Daria is the perfect show for those considered “outsiders” and who would rather do what they want, regardless if its popular or not. Think of it as a wallflower who’s finally able to tell her side of the story. The bottom line is, we know that school sucks and we’re not going to sugarcoat it.