Moment of Eighteen drama (and high school and college in general)

I was reluctant to start watching a high school drama (they bring back stressful memories), but I decided to try it, and so far, I’m looking forward for the next episodes. I finished the first two episodes and I am enjoying how mellow the acting is. The actors aren’t going over the top and crazy (like in Boys Over Flowers–I still need to finish that)–rather, they seem like relatable people. I can recognize some personalities from the drama in my past classmates and I enjoy trying to pinpoint ‘who is who,’ in a way. I hope that more directors and writers tone down high school dramas and make it realistic to some degree, but also maintain the romance and ‘coming of age’ plot.

I don’t know how it is in other places, but high school was lots of work for me and the expectation to get into college (especially a University of California) was high. I see this expectation in the drama with regards to female lead: poor thing, she has to try hard to please her mother and other people’s expectations in that regard. Thankfully, my parents never pushed me to get better grades because I had my own inner motivation to do well.
Another stigma besides getting a less-than-perfect score: community college. Even though most students and teachers agree that community college is a cost-effective choice, they still push for attending a Cal-State or UC (like UCLA --I’m in California). That itself isn’t a bad thing, but community college has less prestige and a reputation of being a place where one can get stuck. I currently attend community college and I believe that I have met awesome and amazing professors. They have invested in my education and growth as a person ways that I know many professors in the prestigious universities won’t do. I bring this up because the female lead’s mother kept on pushing Seoul University onto her daughter. Is prestige more important than saving some money and following dreams? If the quality of education at Seoul University is higher than that of another university, than I understand. However, if someone graduates from a lesser-known college/university, shouldn’t their hard work still be respected? (There is a scene in ep. 2 where the female lead’s mother goes to see the mom of the #1 boy in the class and after she leaves, she says scornfully that the boy’s mother has no right to gloat since she graduated from a no-name college–I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

Anyways, I hope by the end of the drama, the parents stop trying to make their children perfect and that they respect their dreams. I’m sure that projecting unrealistic goals and desires onto adolescents and teenagers creates stress and sours relationships.


You’re very right, of course. But it seems that in Korea the university you graduated from is in direct relationship with the jobs you can find and the salary that you’ll get, not to mention respect, marriage prospects (arranged marriage or otherwise) etc.
My friends in India told me the exact same thing. And they are desperately pushing their children too. Not to mention that in India English-medium schools and colleges are considered the only good path to a good career, so they don’t study their own language enough.
I don’t know about America or other places in the world. In Greece, where I liveuniversities are very good, and they are all public, there are no private ones. But if someone says they have graduated abroad, it does count as prestige.

It is unfortunate, but that is the real-life situation in Korea (I’ve cross-checked this with Koreans and by reading lots of articles), and I suppose k-dramas reflect this realistically. It’s one of the few things that are realistic: like the over-drinking, the stigma for divorcees and single parents, the parent-to-child violence, the bullying in schools, the inhuman working hours and strict hierarchy in the workplace.

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I remember reading an article about some Indian teenagers who took their lives after finding that they had failed an important test. In actuality, there was a system error or something that happened when the tests were being graded. Here is one of the articles:

There is a Kpop idol that briefly made a comment on a short video that stayed with me, even though it is relatively simple: the score you receive on your test is not the score of your life.