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Jan 22 2018
by Erela Datuowei

Why Grown-ish's Portrayal of Drugs Disappointed Me

By Erela Datuowei - Jan 22 2018
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I'm a huge fan of the show "Black•ish". I find its content humorous and relatable, so naturally I jumped for joy when I heard a spin-off show called "Grown•ish" was going to be made. "Grown•ish" centers around Zoey Johnson, the oldest child in the Johnson family and her journey through college. I started the first episode and I was immediately hooked on Zoey's feelings of womanhood, newfound independence and comradery with her fellow classmates, but then I got to the second episode and was bitterly disappointed.

The second episode focused on a genuine difficulty that many college kids have. How do you balance your new course load while trying to maintain extracurricular activities, a sleep schedule and some semblance of a social life all at the same time? In the end, I was hoping for an answer like time management or prioritization, I would have even settled for taking an easy class to pass with an A. However, as it turns out, the answer was none of the above. Instead, rather than facing the fact that she had bit off more than she could chew, Zoey seeks an alternate method of coping with her rapidly spiraling schedule. Eventually, she is pressured into finding her "thing", A.K.A. a drug to help her cope.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that students in college don't do drugs. This isn't even the first time I've seen the same premise presented in a college-centered show, but it hit me hard this time. Maybe it's because I identified so strongly with Zoey or may be it's because I was sick and tired of mainstream media pushing the idea that you can only survive college on a cocktail of Adderall, Xanax, steroids and Plan B.

First of all, I take personal offense to the insinuation that I need to medicate myself in order to do well in school. The only "thing" that keeps me going is potentially disappointing my immigrant parents. But my ego aside, I think it's damaging to promote drug-use to incoming students who might struggle to cope in a new environment. Championing drugs as the solution to a problem that usually rights itself once a student gets into the rhythm of adulthood is misleading at best and life-altering at the worst. We, as students, already suffer from the stress of academic requirements, peer pressure and the transition into independence, the last thing we need is encouragement to self-medicate. Building dependence on a substance to get through college in your life is hardly feasible in the long run.

Drug abuse among college age students is twice that of people who don't attend college. Saturation of media content advertising it as a standard does nothing but set students up to fail in the future. Stay above the influence and take a stand against drug abuse, I guarantee you'll be all the better for it in the future.

Lead Image Credit: Freeform


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Erela Datuowei - Brooklyn College

Incoming Freshman at CUNY Brooklyn College with a love for music and dogs.

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