13 Things To Know About Life, Kissing, And Surviving High School From The Cast Of Degrassi: Next Class

Like most people, I learned pretty much everything I ever needed to know from the seminal Canadian TV classic, Degrassi. (I mean, where else was I supposed to learn about the very important terminology of “whale tales,” right?)

This is why I–and pretty much everyone else on the Internet–was totally thrilled when I learned that the series was being reborn on Netflix as Degrassi: The Next Class. This week, I was lucky enough to sit down with Ricardo Hoyos, Ana Golja, and Sara Waisglass–who play Zig, Zoe, and Frankie, respectively–and get some dish on the new season. Since the series differs from other shows in that it’s totally unafraid of approaching real issues that teens actually deal with, as well as having actual teenagers play the roles, I figured I’d have the cast give us all some advice. If you live in the US, the new season premieres on Netflix today. You’ve obviously got to watch it, but before you do, here’s everything they have to say about Degrassi’s new season, plus some real-life advice on dating, kissing, surviving high school, and more:

What you’ll be able to relate to on this season of Degrassi: Next Class:


1. You know how sometimes you just feel sad, and you know you don’t really have a reason to be that sad, but you can’t seem to get yourself out of the funk? Sara’s character, Frankie, definitely does.  She said, “I think [viewers will relate to] my character’s plot. She’s feeling so sad and doesn’t really have a reason to be sad, she’s just feeling it. She has to deal with that and figure out her own ways to be happy. I think that’s really important and something that everyone goes through. That’s easy to relate to.”

2. Ana talked about how it’s hard to know who you really are sometimes, saying, “Even with my character Zoe, her issue is pretty universal, because she’s just struggling with not knowing who she is. She’s getting down to the core of who she is and what matters most to her.”


On kissing:


3. If you’re nervous about your first kiss, Sara says to follow the advice she took, saying, “My first kiss, I remember I was so nervous and I was like…I can’t believe people actaully do this, but the most important thing is calming yourself down and letting whatever happens happen and not forcing it. Like, not saying, my lips are gonna do this.”

4. Ana agreed, saying, “Go with the flow; it takes two to tango.”

5. Ricardo had an oldie-but-goodie tip: “Practice on your hand.”


What you should actually be doing on Valentine’s Day:


 6. Sara has some simple-yet-perfect tips for tackling V-Day: “My friend and I established a tradition a couple of years ago and we watch romantic movies and just stuff out faces with brownies. Last year we went to my favorite crepes place and just had good times.” Looking for movie recommendations? Sara advises that you check out You’ve Got MailSleepless in Seattle, and Titanic.


How to cope with a really bad date:


7. Sara had what might be the most awkward date experience ever–getting stood up. She dealt by not falling for the guy again when he tried to get back into her good graces, saying, “we planned it three weeks in advance. I went there and was waiting around for him. After a while I texted him and he texted me, like, ‘Yeah, I can’t come.’ I went home and was so devastated. He didn’t talk to me for four months after that. The only time he talked to me was when I was on some public appearance and he was like, ‘Hey,’” and I was like, ‘You’re an asshole.'”


How to survive high school:


8.  Ana thinks that “you should never have to try to fit in. Always surround yourself with the right people.”

9. For Sara, it’s knowing who you shouldn’t hang out with: “Do not surround yourself with people who make you go home and question yourself.”

10. Ricardo thinks it’s important not to go into high school with a fatalistic mindset, saying, “Just don’t take anything too, too seriously. High school is only the beginning of your life and you have the whole rest of your life to be and do what you want.”


Finally, here’s what’s important to think about when you watch this new season of Degrassi:


11.  Sara said,“I think something that’s really important that Degrassi does that I have yet to see other shows do, is actually use kids to play the roles of high school students. I think that’s something that makes it a lot more heart-breaking when you see these issues being tackled. For example, in Pretty Little Liars they’re all like, 30-years-old and playing high school students. I see that a lot. I’m seventeen and I think that that definitely is a reason why people are attracted to the show and it makes it that much more hard-hitting.”

12.  Ana emphasize the fact that what happens on the show is really similar to what a lot of real-life teens deal with every day, saying, “When the characters are going through these things, we are in our personal lives as well. We’re just going on a giant journey, essentially.”

13. Ricardo thinks it’s cool that the high school environment portrayed on Degrassi is so genuine. He said, “The environment that [Degrassi] is shown in–high school–makes it different from most shows. I don’t think a lot of the topics that we talk about are on most high school shows with young people portraying it. It makes it really unique.”

Are you watching this season of Degrassi? What’s your favorite part about it? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram

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