When I started watching "One Tree Hill," I just expected it to be a show I watched while eating my breakfast or at night before going to bed. I thought it was going to be a typical show about high school and the drama that accompanies it. I was wrong, and I am thankful that I was. "One Tree Hill" didn’t just become one of my favorite shows; it changed my life a bit.

While watching the relationships and the plot expand, I learned so many things that I didn’t expect to learn from a television show.

1. It is possible to offer forgiveness to others who have done you wrong so many times.

Dan Scott, during the first few seasons of the show, was an awful man. That is something that cannot be disputed. It is obvious that he treats Lucas, the boy he doesn’t even want to admit is his son, horribly. However, his relationship with Nathan is not much better -- he was a hardass on him about basketball, always belittling Nathan’s accomplishments by comparing them to his own. This is all without even mentioning that Dan killed his own brother, Keith, in cold blood. Dan Scott was a horrible man, but he changed — Nathan didn’t truly accept that until Dan put his life on the line for Nathan. In that moment, Nathan began to regret not spending much time with his father in recent years despite the pleas of his son Jamie. Even though it took a long time and they didn’t get much time to spend together afterward, Nathan found it in his heart to forgive his father. Grudges don’t need to be held forever and people can change.

Nathan and Haley

2. True love does exist.

You can tell me that "One Tree Hill" is just a television show all you want, but I’ll still tell you that Nathan and Haley are one of the best couples of all time. They started off being polar opposites and not remotely interested in each other. But, over time, their love grew and they grew together. Nathan and Haley stuck through each other’s sides through the good and the bad. They got married before they even graduated high school and had a child not far after graduating (actually, the day of). They worked through Haley’s music career, Nathan’s basketball career and injuries, disapproval from family and friends, and inevitable jealousy. Through it all, their love grew and blossomed and it made me so happy.


3. High school does not define you.

High school is four years long. In the grand scheme of things, that is just a little blip. Brooke was known as the bitchy cheerleader in high school who was hot, but not very intelligent. She put on a confident facade but, while dating Lucas, showed her true vulnerable and insecure self. Throughout high school, she was always just the girl to hook-up with (and to show up naked in your backseat), but she ended up finding an amazing man to marry who loved all of her insecurities. While she wasn’t good at typical school subjects, she managed to open up her own clothing company that grew to be a common household name. Just because you’re not who you want to be in high school doesn’t mean you can’t become who you want to be.

Peyton and Mouth Dancing

4. Yes, boys and girls can be just friends.

People always say that if a boy and a girl are friends that one will eventually develop a romantic interest. However, that is definitely not always the case. In "One Tree Hill," Lucas and Haley were best friends forever. They grew up together and were basically like brother and sister. They spent so much time together and, through it all, remained just friends. Having a friend doesn’t need to be gender exclusive.


5. Mental trauma is something that needs to be taken more seriously.

Even though it is 2017, people still aren’t treating mental illnesses the same as physical illnesses, even though they have the potential to be just as (and sometimes even more) debilitating. I was heartbroken for Clay about how he lost his wife and I was terribly shocked to find out that he had a six-year-old son. Clay lost his wife suddenly and was mentally scarred. As a result of PTSD, he totally blocked out a portion of his life to the point where he didn’t even remember he had a son. Through lots of therapy, Clay began to regain his memory of his son Logan. Because of this proper help, he was even able to establish a proper relationship with his son after so many years.

6. “Me Too” isn’t something to be taken lightly.

People walk around assuming that the worst can’t happen to them... Until it does. No one plans to get assaulted or mugged or raped, it just happens. When Brooke and Peyton were at a college party, someone drugged Peyton’s drink, a boy who Peyton thought was cool and similar to her. He began sexually assaulting her and it would’ve gotten much worse if Brooke didn’t try and call her. Sexual assault happens every day. Sexual harassment happens every day. It is the scary reality.

Jimmy, the school shooting

7. How you treat people does matter.

Mouth had a best friend named Jimmy, but slowly grew apart from him when he made other (“cooler”) friends. Jimmy was left with no one else and it was hard to make new friends because people saw him as the strange, quiet kid. People mistreated Jimmy and took advantage of him and he hit a breaking point. Jimmy planned out and began to execute a school shooting. Nobody expected it mostly because people chose not to care about Jimmy and to ignore him instead. How you treat people does matter.


8. Stuff doesn’t always happen for a reason.

Whitey and Peyton were connected on a deeper level than most people are and they weren’t even that close to each other. Peyton went through a lot, more than a teenage girl should need to. Her mom died while she was young. Her dad was gone a lot because of work, leaving her home alone often. Her birth mom came into her life and died when they were establishing a close bond. She was stalked and assaulted by someone who claimed to be her brother. Her heart was broken over and over. Why did such a nice girl have so many bad things happening to her? Whitey, on the other hand, lost the single most important thing in his life — his wife, the love of his life. She died much too soon and Whitey regrets not spending all of his time with her. He visits her often at the cemetery and still spreads her love, like giving the blanket that she made to Nathan and Haley. There is not always a reason and there is not always an answer.


9. Kids can teach us some of the best life lessons.

Jamie Scott was an amazing little boy. He taught us to not give up on our dreams — he didn’t quit basketball even when his dad urged him to. He taught us that family isn’t always blood-related — he grieved the loss of Quentin, his closest friend. He sees things in the simplest way — he helps Skills and Mouth resolve their problems because they are best friends above all. He shows love an compassion — he cares from Grandpa Dan even though the rest of his family despises Dan. He knew how to be a good friend — He was Julian’s friend and even his best man at his wedding. Kids aren’t dumb; they are quite the opposite.