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Dabbing the tears off my face sounds like the last thing I would want to do at 2am on a Saturday night. Apparently, it happens more than I’d like, all for different reasons and for different people. But you will always find me coming back, for a laugh, a good time, frustration, relaxation, admiration, inspiration, love and muse. Survival show in reality format is, to put it simply, a program that showcases both of the participants’ performances and their daily training lives. They can surely take away a few hours each week from you, but what they bring to you can be worth much more than that.

Indeed, not everyone will for sure enjoy this type of show, but there are lessons to be learned everywhere if you look for it. Let me walk you through mine from years of watching:


1. We are still young

It sounds so intimidating but exciting in high school, the thought of  going to university and starting a new life. Barely passing the age of 20, I know that I’m still so young and the world is still this mysterious and uncertain place I choose to step in everyday growing up. But when things are overwhelming, the notion of youth feels far away, the weight of future might crush the sparks of childish joy and the craves of daring voyages. The world is still so vast, and I let it take over. It feels different seeing people my age through the screen, going on different paths and fighting for different dreams. Probably it is made this way, focusing on the waves of youth rushing through their bodies and lights in their eyes to emphasize this stage of life, childish and still maturing. It feels like a constant reminder that I, and any one still living their youth, that we are still young. The responsibility we bear is indeed heavy, but there is space for us to grow, to make mistakes, to have uncalculated fun and to learn. The door is not closing down, we are still young.



2. We are on the same path, but we are different

I think it is just a nice reminder of how distinct we are as individuals. We often group people into categories, for example, these IBCoM students will have a career in marketing and they will focus on content creating. Sounds concrete enough. But watching the contestants in these shows, sometimes it is fascinating how people doing the same thing can be so individual, so themselves. There are molds to fit in to turn into the same shape, but the products will be varied in ingredients, in textures, in colors.

You are not a side character in your own story, no matter how ordinary you think you are. And I know people are seeing you, especially those who love you, and for sure there are so many who do.


3. There are people also fighting for your dream

After all, these shows are vote-based. In life, there will be times when you feel like you are on your own, it’s just you versus the world. But these survival shows somehow always highlight the help the contestants can get from others. Fans and idols’ relationships sound like a far-away example for us, but there will be friends, teachers, families, competitors or even people we are not aware of their existence. They are putting their efforts in our lives, for us to chase after what we want.


There are still many things that got me fascinated. After all, aren’t you curious about how your life can change just after one show?


Author: Bao Thu Nguyen

Editor: Gwendolyne Cheung 

Illustrator: Hanh Tran 

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