Use “Thirteen Reasons Why” As An Opportunity for Positivity and Growth

As soon as I got wind of a “Thirteen Reasons Why” adaption nearly six years ago, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Even as the talking grew to whispers, I held onto hope that whether Selena Gomez was going to play the lead or not, one of my favorite novels was being made into a film adaptation.
When “Thirteen Reasons Why” dropped on Netflix nearly two weeks ago, I was already feeling as if this television adaption was going to ruin the fantastic novel that Jay Asher wrote. Although I was anticipating a great number of friends and family watching the show, I couldn’t have predicted its popularity nation-and-worldwide.
As the Netflix series soared to popularity, its presence on social media was inevitable. As I scroll through my Twitter feed, I see things such as “Jeff Atkins deserved better” with a series of four pictures clearly from a photoshoot separate from the show.
Although I won’t argue that Atkins surely is attractive — as well as the other actors in the show — aren’t we forgetting what the real meaning behind the show is? If we can only focus on how good-looking someone is from a show about a young female committing suicide, then something is surely wrong with us.
Another tweet I’ve been seeing is that we “have to watch what we say; we might never know how it will affect someone.” Really? We need a television show to tell us how we should treat one another?
I feel like the meaning and emphasis regarding the real life possibility of suicide in a teenager’s life is truly being ignored by most of those watching “Thirteen Reasons Why.” Everyone is jumping in on the popularity of the show, and they’re forgetting to take this all seriously.
Although we shouldn’t need a television show’s portrayal of a girl suffering through depression and ultimately committing suicide to tell us how we should treat others, we should all focus on treating others as we would want to be treated.
We may never know what someone else is going through or has gone through. If we are going through a rough time, we take things deeper to heart, evident through many of the things that Hannah experiences throughout the show.
And as the show explains, everything bad seems to come in drones – one thing leads to another that leads to another. Oftentimes, we don’t have the choice to control how things in our lives happen to us; we can only control our actions and reactions.
Although we may not be high-schoolers anymore, we must, as college students and growing adults, begin to realize the consequences that our actions have. We need to be treating one another with respect, and we must cherish one another for the contributions they bring to everyday life.
I’m calling for every Wittenberg student to watch “Thirteen Reasons Why,” and if you already have, watch it again. Take a look at the chain of events in Hannah’s life. Look at how one thing that happened to her affects countless others, and vice versa.
As you go through all of season one, reflect on your high-school experience. Is there something you said to someone that you regret? Is there something positive that you wish that you would have told someone? Use this Netflix original to alter your mindset for a more positive outcome.
Remind everyone close to you that they matter and that you love them. You may never know the struggles someone goes through on a daily basis, so take this show as an opportunity to remind them of their worth.

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