Let’s face it: whether you’re in high school, college, or dealing with your first job/internship, growing up isn’t easy. There’s no secret manual to being an adult, and becoming one usually involves a learning-through-doing process — also known as “the hard way.” It’s a stressful time…but it’s also crazy and fun, and one day we’ll look back on it and laugh. In the meantime though, here are eight slice of life K-dramas about growing up that you’ll totally be able to relate to.
“Because It’s The First Time” is a K-drama centered around six friends dealing with the ups and downs of being young adults, complete with the difficulties and mix ups of love. With a bittersweet and comedic feel, “Because It’s The First Time” is the perfect summer K-drama to watch while you reminisce about the past and look forward to new changes in your life.
Catch the first episode of “Because It’s The First Time” below:
2-4. The “Reply” Series
The “Reply” series is – thankfully – one of those few K-dramas with multiple seasons. Each season features six friends who live in a certain time in Korea: 1997, 1994, and 1988. The characters – and the relationships with their families and friends – will make you laugh, cry, and dream along with them as you experience the hardships of being young. Overall it’s a very inspirational drama series; it’s also a throwback to some fascinating history in Korea. My personal favorite is “Reply 1988,” which features the student protests against the dictatorial South Korean president Chun Doo Hwan, the Walkman, and Yoo Jae Suk as a 17-year-old budding comedian.
Catch the first episode of “Reply 1988” below:
5. “Fight My Way”
“Fight My Way” is a popular and aptly named slice-of-life drama that follows four long-time best friends as they struggle with the trials and tribulations of being adults. For the most part, the show is pretty realistic (no chaebol heirs have appeared — so far) and the characters are relatable people with problems and road blocks that will ring true with much of its audience. Yet the vigor and fighting spirit they have as they go after their dreams and fight against these problems is both contagious and hard not to cheer for. And when you’ve run out of episodes, you can check out “3 Fight My Way Quotes That Are So Relatable” to carry with you.
“Fight My Way” airs every Monday and Tuesday. Watch the latest episode at Viki!
6. “School 2013”
“School 2013” is a popular K-drama that captures the lives of several high school students in one of the worst ranking schools in Korea. Just when the school seems bound for disaster, two very different teachers enter the scene to save the day. Brace yourself: the rich and intricate backgrounds of each character will have you falling in love with them right away. You’ll cry for them, laugh with them, cheer for them, and many times, want to hug them through the screen (if only we could break the fourth wall).
“School 2013” also brings up many of the problems with the present school system as the students fight to survive against the injustices of school politics, stress, and exams. But it’s not a drama without a happy ending, either – the cute friendships between the classmates and their teachers are adorable – most especially, the bromance between Nam Soon and Heung Soo (played by Lee Jong Suk and Kim Woo Bin, respectively).
Catch the first episode of “School 2013” below:
7. “Dream High”
Who hasn’t heard of “Dream High“? It stars Park Jin Young, Suzy, Taecyeon, Kim Soo Hyun, IU, and Wooyoung all in one K-drama. But if you actually haven’t seen it, then you need to go watch it right now. It’s a high school drama with an artistic spin – Kirin Arts High School is an academy for aspiring singers, dancers, and songwriters; the remedial class of Kirin High holds, essentially, the failure students. Yet it’s up to the quirky kids and teachers who make up this particular class to prove they might actually have the most potential in the entire school. “Dream High” is a K-drama full of hope – it says that, at the end of the day, if you work hard and keep enduring, then your dreams are reachable. You’ll have the OST on repeat for weeks.
Catch the first episode of “Dream High” below:
8. “Sassy Go Go”
“Sassy Go Go” is a bubbly and cute high school drama about two opposing clubs in Sevit High School – the low-ranking street dancers and the top-ranking elite students. The situation is a bit like that of the Montagues and Capulets, except with a less tragic ending: despite the viciousness of a competitive environment, the students learn to become friends and band together to solve their problems. The romance between the enemy leaders of each club makes for twice the cuteness.
Catch the first episode of “Sassy Go Go” below:
“Twenty” is a Korean movie featuring Kim Woo Bin, Kang Ha Neul, and Lee Junho, in which three twenty-year-olds try to discover what to do with their life and how to succeed in the future. This is mostly discovered through a number of hilarious mistakes and badly thought-out plans. It’s an adorable movie, in an R-rated way, and you’ll definitely laugh out loud at the boys’ antics as they learn how to handle the uncertainty of becoming adults.
Which K-drama can you most relate to, Soompiers? Any favorites that weren’t on the list?
Ariana K. Welsh is a college student who spends most of her time obsessing over K-dramas with her sister, dancing to loud music, and writing into the wee hours of the night. Her current fave things in life are: snow, Waldeinsamkeit by R.W. Emerson, and Butterbeer.