As graduation approaches, another chapter of my life is coming to an end. First and foremost, my life as a college student at CSC is coming to a close, and second, the series finale of One Tree Hill. Finally, I made an emotional connection with a TV show, something I’ve never felt before. I have always been a firm believer in the idea that we watch movies and television to find a small part of ourselves in the characters, yet it doesn’t happen in this magnitude frequently.
I find myself in each one of the characters of One Tree Hill. As my adolescence fades with only a few short weeks left, I feel like I’m about to lose a small part of myself once it ends. It has been a show that I’ve turned to for guidance, peace, and inspiration over the years.
The series, which is based in fictitious Tree Hill, North Carolina, follows the lives of two half brothers who are raised in separate homes. The beginning of One Tree Hill is filled with teenage angst and the fear of post high school life, something I related to.
Truthfully, out of all the characters early on, I identified most with Peyton Sawyer, portrayed by Hilarie Burton. Peyton is the first character, at the time of the pilot back in 2003, that gives faith to the old souls who didn’t quite fit in.
Peyton broke the stereotypes that ‘90s television ingrained in adolescents like myself. Even though she is a cheerleader, Peyton doesn’t fit the cliché cheerleader stereotype, since she drives an old school convertible and wears band t-shirts. Anytime she’s not on the sidelines falling in and out of love with Lucas Scott, portrayed by Chad Michael Murray, she’s listening to punk rock and creating art.
Peyton gave me solace in high school. I was a little flighty and mostly caught up with the thoughts in my head. I wasn’t alone. Peyton’s character showed me the same emotional roller coaster; she found peace in music like I did.
After the sixth season, Peyton and Lucas left One Tree Hill. I was devastated when my two favorite characters left the show, but I quickly found another connection to a female heroin.
Quinn James, portrayed by Shantel VanSanten, is a free spirited photographer who loves her family. Throughout the series, Quinn is lighthearted and protective of the people she loves most. I find numerous similarities between Quinn and me, especially our love for photography. Seeing Quinn open her own photography gallery gave me the inspiration to keep growing within the field and establish my own photo gallery.
The deeper connection to Quinn comes from her grace when handling situations, even though she lets her temper get the best of her at times. The guidance she gives to her loved ones, in times of their life crisis, is easily relatable.
Even though these two characters are the ones I identify most with, they aren’t the reason that I watch the series religiously. It is the late nights sitting on the edge of the couch and yelling at the television, because, as lame as it is after nine seasons, I’m attached to each character. Over the past nine years they have grown to be a part of my life, almost like family.
The series is like none other, and it’ll be heart-wrenching when One Tree Hill comes to an end in two weeks. Sure, there will be new TV shows and life will move forward, but with the ending of this series my adolescence also comes to a close.