13 Reasons Why You Should Be A Better Person

13 Reasons Why You Should Be A Better Person

Yes, we all know it. Thirteen Reasons Why has finally been released on Netflix. This is a huge SPOILER ALERT. Sorry.
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As soon as I woke up on Friday I had to binge-watch the first five episodes of the newly released Netflix series and avoid all of my actual adult responsibilities. It's good. So good. It opened my eyes the way they were opened the first time I read the book when I was, you guessed it, thirteen. Little eighth grade Terri was a huge book enthusiast and honestly, I thought the cover looked cool, so I picked it up at my library while I was waiting for my brother to be done with his meeting and I didn't put it down until I was left sobbing in my bed at 3:00am the next morning. It's sad. So sad.

For those of you who don't know, Thirteen Reasons Why is a book by Jay Asher about a girl named Hannah Baker who committed suicide during her sophomore year of high school. Instead of a single note, she makes 7 cassette tapes (with two different sides) meant for the 13 people/reasons why she decided to end her own life. It's sad, it's awful and it's incredibly heart-wrenching. But it rings the truth. People can be mean and high school can be absolutely awful.

After reliving the story through the new series, I had to write about it. Yes, Hannah Baker decided she had 13 reasons to end her life, but that's never the right answer. She had people that hurt her feelings and awful incidences that made school difficult, but there were so many ways it could have been prevented. I found myself realizing that her story is more relatable than it should be and I wanted to address the reasons she killed herself and what we, as decent humans in society, can do to prevent it. It's about to get real. Here are the 13 reasons why Hannah Baker killed herself and the 13 reminders for why we should all be better people.

1. Sometimes A Rumor Based On A Kiss Can Cause A Snowball Effect

Boys (and girls) like to exaggerate about their experiences to try to look cool in high school. Girls sent pictures to the wrong boys and the whole school saw them. Justin exaggerated about a kiss and somehow the next day Hannah was labeled a slut. It happens everywhere. Do me a favor and take some time to self reflect. Every time you spread a rumor about someone or stretch the truth about the date you just went on, realize that your own insecurities don't give you a reason to negatively affect someone's life. Don't start them and don't share them. It's hurtful, it destroys reputations and it never ends well for either side.

2. Putting A Label On Someone Has Repercussions

People are not things. We do not need labels. Alex's list was unnecessary. "Best Ass" is not a compliment. It's demeaning and its wrong. Labeling Hannah immediately put a target on her back. The rumor about her and Justin on top of her new title gave her an immediate reputation that she didn't do anything to deserve. It put a spotlight on her and it changed the way people treated her. All it took was a label on a stupid list. Life isn't all about Mean Girls, just stay away from the Burn Books guys. How would you feel if you had a label on your ass?

3. Believing in Rumors Causes Scars

Whether your ex-friend Jessica physically hits you in the face and leave a rockin' shadow across your eyebrow or you buy into the latest gossip around school, rumors can cause some major scars. When you truly know someone and you hear something nasty about them, don't just believe everything that's said. You have the power, as a decent human, to ask the individual if the information is true. Don't take everything you hear as gospel. Especially if it comes from others. Think about it from your point of view; who knows you better, you or everyone else?

4. Candid Shots of The Student Body Aren't Always Welcome

Don't stalk people. Yes, I'm talking about Tyler. I was in his shoes once, the Student Life Editor of the yearbook. It's a great job because it allows you to actually have a reason to talk to the cute boy in your math class about his experiences over summer. It's not weird to ask for his number, too. Tyler took it too far. Taking pictures of someone in their home is illegal. Don't do it. Sharing the pictures you take of them in their home is the next level of wrong. Especially when it adds onto the slut-shaming titles they already possess. It's anti-Nike: just don't do it.

5. Posing Isn't The Same As Being Yourself

Courtney Crimson, the popular girl in school, said everything to please everyone she met. She pretended to be Hannah's friend to get more votes and be more popular. She played the game to get what she wanted, then she started her own rumor about Hannah because she didn't need her anymore. This, my friends, is called manipulation. It's wrong. It hurts. Being fake nice to everyone doesn't actually count. You have to be yourself. You have to actually give a care about others. You have to be an actual friend to those you love. That is all.

6. Don't Ever Assume Anything About Anyone

In the diner, Marcus assumes that Hannah is willing to fool around because of all the stories he's heard. Of course, believing in the rumors is where everyone always goes wrong. Instead of listening to people talk about individuals they've never met, actually take the initiative to talk to them yourself. Take into account that you never know the full story unless you're involved or you've talked to everyone involved. Better yet, if you're not involved in the issue at hand, stay out of it! Problem solved.

7. Don't Worry About What Other People Think Of You

I know it's easier to say than do, but it's true. You have to understand that boys tell rumors because they wish you'd be with them. Girls tell the same rumors because they're jealous of you. The best thing to do in these situations is to know that you're better than the people who have to participate in the twisted game of gossip roulette. You know who you are and you cannot let the opinions of those who have never even met you affect your view of yourself. As George R.R Martin wisely said, "A lion never concerns himself with the opinions of a sheep."

8. If It Isn't Your Information, Don't Share It

Hannah trusted Zach with her poem and he shared it with the entire school. It was deep. It meant a lot to her and he stomped all over it by spreading it around. When someone trusts you with something, whether it's a poem or a secret, don't go blasting it to everyone. If it's not your information, it's not your job to share. Some things are personal and you have to respect that.

9. Never Hold Back From Telling Someone How You Feel

Poor Clay had to listen to the tapes of the girl he had a crush on. He had to sit through her stories of struggle and realize that he could have been there. It wasn't his fault because, no, he couldn't read minds. But he never told Hannah how he truly felt. Guys, if there's one thing I've learned in my short 19 years on the planet, it's that you have to tell people how you feel about them. There's really nothing to lose. Just be genuine. Don't be afraid to show that you care. It's important to know that you're loved in this world, the least you can do is share it.

10. If You Are Witnessing A Problem, Fix It

If you see something going wrong, do something about it. I'm not saying to put yourself in danger when you encounter violence, you can get other help for things like that. I'm talking about knowing that your friend Jessica is too drunk to make decisions and still allowing Bryce to take advantage of her. I'm talking about not confronting Bryce about the issue, even after the fact. Just say something. Even when the incident is as small as watching someone flick the back of someone's head. Say something. Being a bystander is just as bad as doing it yourself, my friends.

11. When You Do Something Wrong, Own Up To It

Jenny knocked over the stop sign that led to an accident and ended a young boy's life. Hannah couldn't get over it. The situation could have been avoided if they would have immediately reported it. Whether you accidentally break your mom's favorite lamp or you lose your best friend's favorite sunglasses, own up to your mistakes. They don't always lead to the loss of a life, but you need to take charge of your decisions and learn from them. When you don't acknowledge that you've done something wrong, you not only hurt yourself, but you hurt others as well.

12. No Matter How Upset You Are, Never Let Anyone Take Advantage Of You

Hannah was upset and she didn't stop Bryce from taking advantage of her. It doesn't matter who you are; you are worth so much more than that. Never allow someone to do something you aren't comfortable with. You are in charge of your own body. Be proud of who you are. Know you're valuable and make sure others respect that. If someone does take advantage of you, make sure you contact authorities immediately and take necessary action. On the other hand, don't take advantage of others. Make sure you're safe. Make sure you have consent.

13. If Someone Says They Need Help, Listen

Mr. Porter didn't take charge when Hannah told him she wanted to kill herself. Don't be like him. Be a friend. Let people know that everything will be alright. If you or someone you know is struggling, not just with thoughts of suicide but with any kind of crisis, please use these resources:

The Crisis Textline: text CONNECT to 741741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: https://kwentonijhingness.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/logo.jpg

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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