Posted: Saturday, February 2, 2013 12:58:34 AM
While many people watched television for entertainment, I’ve always been the nerd who looked for those educational shows: Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and news channels like NBC. However, I found myself also drawn to shows that could combine entertainment with education in unique ways. Instead of shows like the Justice League, with heroes constantly fighting evil villains, the one show that I had to replay again and again was Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide.
Ned’s Declassified followed middle school student, Ned Bigby, who had a survival guide in which he provided tips for stressed or troubled students. The episodes covered anything from love to weasels. Most of the plot revolved around Ned and his friends going through experiences that later became tips he summarized and added to his guide. The episodes were humorous, the tips were practical, and the cast was truly memorable. I still remember the minor characters like Coconut Head, a comical and unlucky classmate, and Suzie, Ned’s love interest. This show came out in 2004, around the time I was in 4th or 5th grade. Talk about perfect timing. Ned’s episodes gave me important tips that all lead me towards a successful middle school career. Some of the tips that I carried to high school include getting to know my teachers and making the most of time in the computer lab. In fact, I have around 70 of my own tips that I have taped on my wall based off of my own experiences. This habit was inspired by Ned’s guide.
While I was hoping the show would continue into high school to parallel my own transition, I realized that thanks to Ned, I became confident and ready to tackle high school even without a TV guide. Back then, I was extremely nervous about school: I wanted to be the straight A student and still attempt to be popular (or at least well-liked). What I really enjoyed about the show was the variety of characters and the stories behind each one. But by far, Ned was the most inspirational: he wasn’t anybody specially talented, smart, or popular. He was far from perfect: he made mistakes and at times opposed his own tips.
However, he had a moral compass unlike anyone else in the show. That’s what I really adopted from Ned’s Declassified. I learned the importance of owing up to your errors and fighting for the right causes. Too often we assume that the heroes are the ones who fight evil with superpowers or gadgets. Ned, to me, was a hero who was guilty of falling for those adverse temptations, but eventually rising above them. Furthermore, he used his experiences to teach his viewers right from wrong; a senior in high school, I find myself passing on advice to the underclassmen in a similar way. I’m going off to college without a survival guide, but because I watched Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, I’m going to college with the right set of morals.