A thank you to “Star Wars”

I have never been a fan of “Star Wars.” 

When I was in high school, my friends would encourage me to watch the “Star Wars” movies with them. I’d always refuse because films that were shot before I was born just didn’t appeal to my particular taste. I also thought getting into such a diverse and complex franchise would take too much energy, and I always had something better to do. 

That is until quarantine hit, and I came upon this Disney+ show called “The Mandalorian.” I was bored out of my mind and had just finished a recent series, so I clicked on it, hoping it would at least put me out of my boredom. 

It did that and much more. I finished all eight episodes of the first season in about two days and was devastated to find out they hadn’t even announced a second season yet. Fast forward a few months to the fall of 2020, and that’s where the real journey begins.

October to December 2020 was one of the most mentally challenging times of my life. I had been away from campus for long enough to be so sick and tired of the same routine every day. Yet, there was no light at the end of the tunnel for me to hold onto. Things were not looking great mentally, and I was so afraid my schoolwork would suffer as a result.

“Star Wars.” Lifestyle writer Michelle Tian reflects on falling in love with TV shows from the “Star Wars” franchise over the fall of 2020. COURTESY OF ACEOFSPADES VIA CREATIVE COMMONS

And then a “Star Wars” edit popped up on my Instagram feed. It showed two characters —  Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano —  and their platonic love for one another. I had no idea who they were, but the edit was so beautifully made, and I tried to find more about these characters. This became an ongoing cycle until I was so invested and decided to start “Clone Wars” — a TV show that focused on them. 

As I started familiarizing myself with the “Star Wars” universe as a whole and falling in love with their many characters, “The Mandalorian” also announced their second season would be back on October 30th, which made me nothing short of exhilarated. 

I watched all the “Star Wars” shows I could find and eventually moved on to the movies, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved them — especially the ones I’d refused to watch in high school because the cinematography was too old fashioned for me. 

Looking back, I can say with full confidence the only reason I’d ever miss the fall of 2020 was because of “Star Wars.” Even though I was still in a fragile mental state, the thought of just waking up every morning to finish the episode I started watching the night before made me look forward to getting out of bed. It made me feel like I had something to do and that there was room for the unexpected, even if I was following the same routine every day. 

I’m not going to go as far as to say that “Star Wars” saved my life, but it made the dark, dreary days of a far-from-normal winter shine just a smidge brighter. I found strength in the characters of that universe and drew from their mindset because I knew that they wouldn’t drown in self-pity if they were in my situation. It made me want to be better — for them. Slowly, that morphed into a motivation to become better for me. 

A 16-year-old me would most likely be confused and maybe even appalled to learn that I’d fallen in love with a franchise that wasn’t made by Marvel Studios, but 20-year-old me cannot thank “Star Wars” enough for helping me find purpose in what seemed like the most meaningless time of my life. 

The months of October to December of 2020 were painfully bland. Looking back, it’s not something I’d want to live through again. But I’ve never been so thankful for a bunch of laser sword-wielding creatures who decided to battle in an intergalactic war — one for me and many others to find a home in.

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