MTV’s ‘If you really new me’ cuts to the heart of high school

By Hanna Taft, Staff Writer

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How do students perceive one another? Maybe as the laxer, the cheerleader, the rebel, the artist or even the valedictorian. However, very few, if any, really know what goes on behind the facade, and MTV wants to get to the bottom of high school’s deepest, darkest secrets.

If You Really Knew Me is an extraordinary representation of high school teenagers going through life changes and tragedies all alone–none of their friends or peers know what they are dealing with. Each episode visits a new high school with new kids and different issues.

 In If You Really Knew Me, which premiered July 20, students participate in “Challenge Day” where they break away from their respective cliques and learn about other students they may not have known even existed before. Often, by the end of the episode, teens who were once strangers cry on each other’s shoulders. “Challenge Day” uncovers many realities for these naïve students and helps them realize that the kids they pass by every day in the halls are people facing similar problems.

If You Really Knew Me is fresh, honest and relatable. Although the viewer does not personally know the school dynamic or the students featured in that episode, anyone can relate to the issues and problems that arise. One student featured on a particularly striking episode revealed that his mother is homeless and he has no idea where she is, or even if she is alive. Just hearing about this horrible fact helped other students face their own battles. The kids pour their hearts out on national television and it is clear that their emotion–and their suffering–is real.

The show brings school communities closer together and teaches them that high school is not a popularity contest. Its message is clear: high school should be about meeting all kinds of people and realizing that just one student can affect another in surprising ways. The show emphasizes that high school is a time to define yourself, not as the jock or the band geek, but as someone who is a well-rounded, nice individual who cares for others and their well-being.

Students can take a lot from this show because it sends the message that life is short, and the four years spent in high school should not be spent judging people and putting others down, but rather spent getting to know the other students and cooperating to make school a better and friendlier environment for all kinds of people.

If You Really Knew Me has had an unbelievable beginning to its season. This show is effective but not manipulating, and it teaches kids to be aware of their peers and their feelings. Catch all the episodes on mtv.com to see If You Really Knew Me is helping kids around the country become better people who are living better lives.