After several recommendations along with hearing Andy Samberg’s name attached, I had to watch Hulu’s PEN15. The comedy is hilariously awkward, bringing you back to the struggles faced when entering seventh grade, specifically for those of us who grew up in the early 2000s. But this show isn’t just for me, who was nine years old in 2000—it’s still beneficial for the current generation of middle schoolers to tune in as well. While you’ll cringe hearing the ancient sounds of AOL dial-up and take a peek into a time where there was no Invisalign, there are still some overall similarities that you can learn from and take with you into junior high today.
1. BFFs are important
Best friends are what get you through the hard times at any stage in your life. True friendship provides support in exchange for the same in return. Best friends are there before, during, and after boyfriends or girlfriends. Best friends are essential no matter what age you are, and if you’re lucky, the friends you meet in your teens will be your friends in your twenties, and this is when you’ll need them most. Be a good friend and you’ll have good friends, some that will stay with you throughout your life.
2. Popularity is stupid
Popularity is all about perception, with conditions that drastically change by the day (sometimes by the hour). Being cool is an idea that doesn’t actually exist. Being yourself is the only thing you need to worry about, because who you are is going to change a lot during and after your teenage years. The worst thing you can do is steer yourself off track by following guidelines that fall into the idea of popularity. You’re going to keep changing, and that’s good—just make sure you’re always making changes according to you.
3. No one knows what the fuck they’re doing
This is true at any age, but in seventh grade (with the madness of puberty and vibrating genitals), we’re trying more than ever to at least look like we know what we’re doing. Every part of us is changing, and even those changes change. And there is no way to pause any of it. But know this: everyone is insecure, we only show it in different ways. Those who embrace their insecurities are usually the ones that are able to work through them and overcome. Those who try and hide their insecurities tend to exploit others’ vulnerabilities as a way to ignore their own. As much as you can push insecurities down, they’ll always resurface, one way or another. Embracing your weird helps you attract the kind of tribe that’ll lift you up and keep you moving forward. Forward is where you want to be.