17 Quotes From '13 Reasons Why' That Remind Us Just How Hard High School Can Be

Liz Alterman | May 5, 2017 TV
17 Quotes From '13 Reasons Why' That Remind Us Just How Hard High School Can Be
Image: Beth Dubber/Netflix; design by Anne Meadows

13 Reasons Why quote
Beth Dubber/Netflix; design by Anne Meadows
When you're an adult, you may sometimes feel nostalgic for your teen years, but many moms and dads recall the angst, awkwardness, and stress that dominated their high school experiences. The much-talked-about Netflix series 13 Reasons Why reminds us just how difficult navigating friendships, love, and adolescence in general can be (in case you'd blocked it out!).

Aside from the difficult topics of suicide and assault, the show, based on the best-selling book by Jay Asher, contains dozens of heart-wrenching observations that will make you remember just how challenging it can be to find your way during those formative years.

If you're the parent of a tween or teen, these can shed a little light into what your son or daughter may be feeling at different points in their journey toward adulthood. 

 

If you or someone you know has expressed suicidal thoughts, please let them know they are not alone. Text START to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at www.sprc.org 

 

  • 'Always Watching'

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    For some, high school is a veritable pressure cooker. Knowing that all eyes are on you makes it very hard to feel comfortable. But being true to yourself, no matter what your peers might think or say, is wonderful -- though easier said than done.

  • 'Everything Affects Everything'

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    As the series unfolds, we see how one action sets a chain of events in motion. It's a great reminder to be mindful of how much we have the ability to affect one another at all times. 

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  • 'Don't Touch'

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    High schoolers Hannah and her friend Jessica are both victims at the hands of one young man who doesn't understand the first thing about consent. It's heartbreaking to watch, but presents an excellent opportunity to talk to our sons and daughters about permission and the power of the word "no."

  • 'Impact'

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    A kind word, a small gesture, even a note meant the world to Hannah, the teen who commits suicide in the series, when she was feeling low. It's important for both kids and adults to consider the impact they can have on others -- both for better or worse.

  • 'Love'

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    Clay is devastated by the loss of Hannah, the girl he worshipped from a (very close) distance, and when the school's counselor Mr. Porter utters these words, they offer no comfort to the heartbroken teen. 

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  • 'It Has to Get Better'

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    In the wake of Hannah's death, Clay realizes something has to change so that history doesn't repeat itself. He's right.

  • 'Don't Understand'

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    This quote speaks to how easy it is for all of us to misconstrue information. It's important to base judgments and opinions on your own firsthand experience rather than speculation and hearsay.

  • 'Losing a Friend'

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    Friends are just as important as family to teens. Losing a close friendship is often like a death. Communication can be key to mending that rift, as long as there's still time and both parties are willing. If Hannah and Jessica had patched up their friendship, both young women would've benefited. 

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  • 'Pretending'

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    Parties are supposed to be a blast, but when you're in high school, you often feel like you don't fit in. Alex attends Jessica's party, hoping to win her back, but, unfortunately, for all, it doesn't work out that way.

  • 'Take Responsibility'

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    When Alex creates his list, it pits Hannah and Jessica against each other and subjects Hannah to Bryce's unwanted advances.

    More from CafeMom: '13 Reasons Why' Is Actually a Show for Parents (Yes, Really)

  • 'Right Moment'

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    Clay had so many chances to let Hannah know his true feelings but his fear of rejection kept him from speaking his truth. We can all learn from this modern take on the old adage, "He who hesitates is lost."

  • 'Rumors'

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    High school hallways are filled with rumors but it's up to each individual to decide whether he or she should believe them -- or worse, spread them. 

    More from CafeMomIt's Easy to Think Suicide Is 'The Easy Way Out' Until Your Mom Tries to Kill Herself

  • 'Turn Off the Noise'

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    When you're feeling down or depressed, it's all-consuming. Hannah struggles to tune out the voice of self-doubt that constantly reminds her she's not good enough. A new voice, like Clay's, telling her she was special could've helped her silence the noise.

  • 'The Truth'

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    Both teens and adults sometimes latch onto rumors and run with them because they're usually more scintillating than the truth. But when they're at the expense of others, it's best to just shut them down. Anyone who stood up for Hannah and squashed the cruel and demeaning things said about her might've prevented this story's tragic ending. 

  • 'What Goes On'

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    When we look at certain people we might imagine their lives are perfect, but when you really look inside, you see that they all have their issues. Hannah, Justin, Alex, Jessica, Skye, Tony, and Clay all had a lot going on in their lives outside of school that added to their stress.

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  • 'Disappointed'

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    Hannah feels upset with herself when she allows her hopes to rise --only to be dashed over and over again. You truly feel for this young woman who wants her life to go in such a different direction from the course it's taking.

  • 'Everything Matters'

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    Though difficult to abide by, if you remember that each action and reaction matters not just to you but to everyone surrounding you, you may alter your behavior to make it more considerate and compassionate.

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