On January 20, 2006, “High School Musical” aired on Disney Channel, and the world was forever changed. Well, maybe not. But it certainly impacted the souls of young people everywhere. Arguably the best Disney Channel Original there has ever been, HSM created an empire and franchise that for years mesmerized the masses. As any Disney fanatic would, I bought the soundtracks, watched the HSM2 premiere night in my living room, begged for HSM video games, loaded my backpack with HSM school gear and even cuddled with Troy Bolton every night as I fell asleep under my HSM bedspread. And yes, even at 14 years old and practically a grown women, I paid 10 bucks to respectfully say farewell to the East High Wildcats in HSM3 on the big screen. (Cries internally.) I’ll admit it – HSM captured my heart back in 2006, and now a decade later, it continues to make me feel wondrous. To some, my HSM glorification may seem trivial and unnecessary. But perhaps there is more to the Disney movie than meets the eye. Whether we are undergrads, grad students or working nine to fives, HSM is incredibly relevant. It delivers some take-home messages that are surprisingly powerful and important – teaching us lessons that are definitely necessary for our ever-maturing minds. It’s time to take a trip down memory lane and appreciate HSM for all it has given to us.
As Kanye West so beautifully pondered, where are our real friends? The ones that call you at 3 a.m. just to see how you are doing? The honest friends that stick with you to the real end, until the wheels fall off, until the wheels don’t spin. How many of us are real friends ourselves? The point: real friends are few and far in between. And HSM taught us that when you find these special people, keep them close. Even when school is over, those friendships can last forever, lifting you up and supporting you no matter what.
Even though “Stick to the Status Quo” is downright a classic showstopper, don’t let the catchy tune fool you. Take the lyrics with a grain of salt and live life the exact opposite as it advises. DON’T stick to the status quo in life! Never be complacent with the way things just are. Be determined to embody the very change you wish to see in the world! If aspiring to be a hip-hop dancer or a cello virtuoso makes you happy, go for it – no matter what others may so. At the end of the day, do you!
Haters Gonna Hate
HSM taught us that life is full of bitter, petty, jealous people who just can’t stand to see you succeed. In short: there will always be haters, and as annoying as they may be, their sole purpose in the world is essentially to hate. But, we can not let these little nuisances get to us! We must channel our inner Gabriella and take the high road when Sharpays come into our path. As a former country singer once admitted, “the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate,” but we just got to “shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off.”
You Can’t Hurry Love
A long time ago, The Supremes warned us that “you can’t hurry love, no, you just have to wait.” But it took Troy and Gabriella for us to realize what Diana Ross was talking about. We would like to think that the guy or girl we have a crush on will be the one we exchange vows with someday. Unlike fairytales, people will come and go in and out of our lives, and we may not find that special person right away. That’s reality.
No matter how big or unattainable your dreams may seem, pursue them and work for want you want. HSM taught us that having dreams matter and we should always reach for the stars. Remember “Breaking Free?”
We’re soarin’, flying
There’s not a star in heaven
That we can’t reach
If we’re trying
So we’re breaking free
Teamwork Makes The Dream Work
Who would have thought that a basketball team and drama club could come together to strive for a common goal? HSM taught us that being different is okay, and even better, when we put aside those differences and begin to work together, anything is possible.