There’s more to TV series and K-dramas than just entertainment. From school violence to self-love and social stigmas, here are some valuable life lessons you never knew you’d learn from some of your favourite titles.

Lesson #1: Don’t let technology run your life

Probably one of the best portrayals on why we shouldn’t rely too much on modern technology, Black Mirror is an anthology series of mini-movies that act as a cautionary tale, depicting the dire consequences of society’s reliance on high-tech gadgets and the pursuit of technological advances. The intent of the series forces us to take a hard look at how we’ve unconsciously allowed technology to consume our daily lives, and hopefully change for the better before it’s too late.

Lesson #2: Bullying affects more than just the victim

In this digitally advanced society, bullying has become increasingly prevalent with the use of social media. With the rise in cyber-bullying cases and other forms of school violence, K-drama Beautiful World is an eye-opening series that aims to broaden our understanding on the effects that bullying has on not just the victim, but their family too. Though the premise of the show focuses more on the aspect of school bullying, the resulting repercussions that victims suffer are similar – especially when it comes to the hopelessness and disparity the family goes through when no one is willing to tell the truth.

Lesson #3: Nothing is worth sacrificing your wellbeing

As a paper-chasing nation, it isn’t unusual to see students hard at work even on the weekends. While it’s good to keep up your grades, it shouldn’t be done at the expense of your mental health. In this critically acclaimed K-drama, Sky Castle gives an unflinchingly honest look at the cutthroat Korean education system and the daily pressures that parents often put on their kids – to the extent where they neglect the child’s overall wellbeing. Aside from casting a spotlight on the topic of education, it also serves as a reminder that you’re worth more than your grades.

Lesson #4: Own your flaws

It’s never easy to admit your mistakes, let alone embrace your imperfections. Take it from Russian Doll, which tells the story of Nadia Vulvakov (Natasha Lyonne) who is trapped in a time loop that makes her relive the time period leading up to her death, over and over again until she can find a way out. Though she encounters different variations of her untimely death, she’s still able to retain the memories of each day, allowing her to fix what might have gone wrong previously. It is through this constant replay that Nadia willingly accepts her shortcomings in an attempt to better herself as a person – and ultimately leave her time loop.

Lesson #5: Don’t be afraid to be yourself

Despite being a prince of lowly birth who is in search of his identity, Haechi chronicles the life of Yi Geum (Jung Il Woo) as he goes on a journey of sacrifice, courage and self-discovery which helps him to realise his value, leading him to his eventual place on the throne. We may not be of royal blood like Yi Geum, it’s safe to say that we can all relate to his struggles in finding his true purpose in life. Through this show, it instills the notion that each one of us is unique and equally deserving of self- love, no matter our backgrounds.

Lesson #6: Always be hopeful

A household name in the UK, the sci-fi series Doctor Who is not only known for its out-of-this-world adventures but also as a representation of hope. This is one aspect of the series that has remained constant since its inception in 1963. Together with her human companions, The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) often gets into life-threatening situations. But even when faced with insurmountable odds and danger coming at them, she never loses hope that things will work out well – and it’s a lesson everyone should remember.

Lesson #7: Only you have the power to break social stigma

Although society has evolved over the years, there are still some deep-seated stigmas that continue to plague us. Centred around the Geoje prison camp during the 1951 Korean War, Swing Kids brings together a group of misfits with opposing ideologies as they overcome their own prejudices to form an unlikely tap dance team. In a world rife with racial discrimination, patriarchy and societal stereotypes, this film works towards breaking free from this cycle of old-school bigotry.

This article was adapted from our latest issue of Teenage Chapters 2019, out on newsstands now.

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