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5 Meaningful Lessons Glee Taught Me

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

Ryan Murphy’s television show Glee, which premiered in May 2009, became an instant sensation with fans all around the world. The show’s main plot consists of a bunch of ambitious misfits joining a glee club led by a dedicated Spanish instructor in order to escape the harsh reality of high school.

Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), a high school Spanish teacher aspires to revitalize the school’s failing Glee club, New Directions, by becoming its director. With comedy, musical numbers, romance and provocative subjects, the show tries to appeal to a wide range of listeners, primarily from children to teenagers and adults. While it was a tremendous hit, it attracted a lot of viewers who were moved by the stories told on the show and saw it as a source of inspiration or advice in their own lives.

Even though Glee has been off the air for a while now I’ve recently begun to watch it again on Amazon Prime Video.  As I was watching Glee I began to remember why I started to watch it in the first place. Even though Glee is a show filled with dancing and singing, Glee is also filled with so many life lessons. Here are my top five takeaways:

  1. Don’t be concerned with labels

You’re just perfect as you are. Finn was the quarterback of the football team when he first joined the glee club, and he was mocked by his teammates for joining perpetually. Finn, however, made the choice to stay in the glee club and even claimed that it taught him how to be a man. If you enjoy singing, dancing, or doing anything else, just because some people don’t like it doesn’t mean you have to quit and conform to society’s norms.

2. Allow nothing or no one to stand in the way of your dreams

Do you believe Rachel Berry would have won the Tony Award if she had listened to what everyone was saying when they called her a loser, threw a slushie in her face, or said she wouldn’t make it? Don’t allow others to discourage you or lead you to abandon your aspirations since they are all you have.

3. Even if it hurts, do the right thing

When Finn’s engagement with Rachel comes to an end, he sends her on the path she was supposed to take: pursuing her Broadway ambitions. It was the last thing he wanted to do, but it was a mature move beyond his years, and it demonstrated just how much he loved Rachel by refusing to stand in her way to greatness. Putting others first might be a difficult lesson to learn, but Finn understood it better than anyone.

4. No matter how dark it gets the sun will rise again

Kurt was there for Karofsky after he attempted suicide after being tormented at his new high school after they saw him out with Kurt. Kurt knew how difficult grappling with something like that can be. We all meet stumbling blocks from time to time, but you just have to keep going because things will get better.

5. Be able to admit when you’ve made a mistake

When Finn and Kurt found out that they would soon become step-brothers, Finn was first offended by Kurt’s sexual orientation. Later, he stepped up and admitted he was wrong with a cover of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” that rates among Monteith’s best Glee performances. Finn’s reversal was made all the more dramatic by the late actor’s ability to properly play both sides of the story without overcompensating either.

When Glee concluded in 2015, it left a lasting impact. Fans, many of whom grew up watching the show, were exposed to controversial topics like LGBT issues, bullying and teen pregnancy, and the show should be applauded for its inclusivity lessons. Glee deserves credit for inspiring a lot of other projects that have taken the musical-meets-TV trend and turned it into truly amazing shows.

Moira McGuire

Illinois State '24