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

Perhaps you have heard of the CBS reality TV show, Survivor, in passing, the show where castaways are marooned on an island for over a month, or maybe your parents watched it back in 2000. The show has just completed its 40th season, making it obvious why it has stood the test of time, lasting 20 years now. As someone who’s watched Survivor since I was four years old, seen every season, and analyzed every episode, I’d consider myself a superfan, to put it mildly, and through the years, I have dissected what makes the show worth watching for every Wednesday night at eight.

1. It’s not The Bachelor

A lover of all reality television, I’ll admit I’m a bit too invested in shows like The Bachelor because they certainly are entertaining; however, Survivor is the original, the first to do it all, allowing the show to feel authentic. Contestants are not searching for fame, are not picked for their looks or their body types, but for their intelligence and genuine love of the show. Additionally, the concept is smart– convincing a jury of people to hand you a million dollars after booting them off the show only a few days prior. Moreover, the hour you spend watching Survivor is not wasteful, but high-quality, well-produced, thought-provoking television that will leave you reeling yet wanting more. You will never encounter a fanbase so passionate.

2. It helps you be more intuitive and self-aware

If I’ve discovered anything from the hundreds of Survivor episodes I’ve paid witness to, it’s the criticality of paying attention, giving time, to the relationships around me. On a show where the blindside is relished and betraying one’s allies is not only condoned but often praised, the successful contestants commonly demonstrate an awareness of their actions and devote the necessary time to build and preserve social relationships with the other contestants. I’ve learned to ask myself, are my relationships where they need to be right now? and if not, how can I make them better? It’s conditioned my intuition, cultivated that gut instinct you can really depend on, and implanted a sense of skepticism in me–without being too overboard, of course–that has been advantageous in my personal life.

3. It is incredibly entertaining

With intricate and nail-biting physical challenges, compelling social dynamics, staggering strategy, and epic blindsides, you will be thoroughly entertained for the full hour. Take my word for it; it’s the one show where I put my phone down and it stays down the entire time. Prepare to make winner predictions, intensely root for one contestant, and then proceed to be crushed when he or she gets voted out. It’s gut-wrenching. 

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4. You will recognize lies from a mile away

Survivor has single-handedly sharpened my lie-detecting skills, teaching me the cues and body language to look out for when you think someone is deceiving you. Instead of provoking a constant sense of paranoia in me, believing everyone at every turn is lying, it rather instilled into me an important idea: people are not always honest, and it’s important to be aware of it and attempt to catch it when it happens to you.

5. It is a microcosm of society, but better 

Especially during trying times like these, it can be defeating to turn on the news and cultivate a permeating belief that the world we live in is plagued by injustice, that certain groups of people share privileges others do not. On Survivor, too, there are people who dominate the game, while there are people totally powerless and at the bottom. However, Survivor is an adaptable, quick-paced, and ever-changing game where those who start on the top do not stay on the top, encouraging me that perhaps outside the barriers of the island, things can change as well. On Survivor, I see winners of all sizes, races, genders, and sexual orientations, and some of my biggest role models growing up were female Survivor contestants who had no fear of being ruthless and looking out for themselves first.

Throughout the years, I have learned a great deal and had fun while doing it. Although Survivor’s 41st season is postponed due to the pandemic, I wait in anticipation and even more excitement for the next season. In the meantime, I highly recommend you go onto Amazon Prime, or CBS online, and start watching today; you won’t regret it. 

The tribe has spoken!

Jamie is a sophomore at Kenyon College, where she plans on double majoring in Classics and English. Hailing from Westchester, NY, you can find Jamie with a book in hand, watching a Christopher Nolan movie, or obsessing over Survivor.