As a college student on the cusp of actual adulthood, many things I know about life come from the little experience I have. I’ve barely lived my life in all of my twenty years of existence and I must admit that I know nothing. Recently though, I’ve been learning a little more with the help of the Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe – a show about a half-human, half Crystal Gem kid from Beach City that wants nothing more than to save humanity and have as much fun as possible.
I started watching the animated series about a week and a half ago due to an increase in midterm stress. I also had an iTunes gift card from Christmas that I hadn’t spent. So I bought the first season of Steven Universe on iTunes and was at the very most; expecting some laughs and at worst expecting boredom. What I got was neither. Instead I gained a new favorite TV show and set of characters that I love dearly. Most importantly though, I’ve gained some life knowledge to implement in my everyday life that I would like to share:
Everyone is different. And that’s okay.
Steven struggles with learning his Crystal Gem powers like any other growing kid with supernatural abilities. The difference for Steven however is that everyone wants him to be just like his mother Rose Quartz. Rose is no longer around to show Steven how to be the best Crystal Gem he can be, but he makes due with his three friends Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. Steven, as hard as he tries, is not like his mother Rose; he is just Steven. And being just Steven is completely alright. Carrying that into my college life, the fact that “yes, I am different and that’s alright”, is essential to not only how I will map out my future but also how I practice self-care. It’s important for me as an individual to step back and say, “My parents are like that, but I am like this and I’m just fine.” It reminds me that it’s alright to be the oddball in the family because, as cliché as it sounds, there is only one me and I am wonderful.
Don’t forget to have fun.
Even with the seriousness of saving humanity on his young shoulders, Steven manages to have a blast. He’s a young kid with superpowers, how could he not enjoy it? And through the fun that he has, Steven learns more and more about himself and the Crystal Gems as he becomes closer to reaching his potential. It is also clear in the show, however, that fun has a time and a place. Not everything can be all sunshine and rainbows, but that certainly doesn’t mean that everything has to be serious. Finding the middle ground between these two will help me better myself as an individual, and hopefully have fun while doing it. Sure, I can’t break out into song during an exam, but I can dance while I study or jam out while I write a paper. Almost everything has the potential to be fun, we just have to look for it.
It’s alright to not be perfect.
One thing I especially like about Steven Universe is that all of the characters are complex. There is no character that is the epitome of perfection, just like in real life. Every single character has their faults, but the important thing is that they work through them. The show isn’t about ‘fixing’ yourself, or even just loving the best parts of you. It’s about knowing your faults and accepting the bad to be a part of you as much as the good. The most important thing that I’ve taken away so far is what creator Rebecca Sugar explains best in a Behind the Scenes clip, “The characters aren’t perfect and that’s what makes them so great.” Being perfect is completely overrated in a world where it is impossible and stressful. Imperfection is what makes something great. Imperfection is what makes something unique. And being imperfect can be fun; discovering imperfections can be fun if you look at them a certain way. I may not get an A on every assignment, but now I know what I’m not good at and from there I can choose to either work on it or leave it alone. Everything is about perspective and a positive one really makes a difference. Like Steven’s dad says, “If every pork chop were perfect, we wouldn’t have hotdogs!”
Written by Vanessa Dolfinger