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What High School Musical Can Teach You, A College Intellectual

This spring break, I decided to go home and see my family in CT. For those of you who don’t know, I have a 5 year old sister, and I seriously needed to see her (we spent approximately five minutes hugging when I came home Thursday night). Well, my sister decided that we would watch a movie last night, and after a little convincing, I got her to watch the first High School Musical. That’s right, the amazing trilogy that defines all of our childhoods. I was worried that my sister wouldn’t like it, as it’s a little dated, but she ended up loving it! (We’re watching the second one tonight in case anyone was wondering.)

As we were watching the movie last night, I was surprised at how relatable it still is. I’m a freshman in college, but I still related to the lessons Troy and his friends learn throughout the movie. This made me realize how helpful HSM could be for all college students! So, without further ado, here are some lessons that you can learn from this iconic trilogy:

PS. Spoilers ahead! (Although, let’s be honest, if you haven’t seen the HSM movies by now what even was your childhood???)


Don’t Stress the Little Stuff

Troy Bolton: The #1 basketball player and a surprisingly good singer, but an extremely high-strung person. In all three movies, he’s always stressed about something:

HSM 1: Troy stresses about what his friends and family will think if he takes up singing.

HSM 2: Troy stresses about how to balance making money and being recruited for college while balancing his personal life.

HSM 3: Troy stresses about what college and career path to choose.

These plot points can give viewers whiplash as they watch Troy try to do the right thing, make mistakes, and sing emotional ballads. Yet, by the end of the movie, everything works out! Troy realizes the right decision and always makes things right. While real life isn’t a Disney Channel Original Movie, it does have a way of working out in the end. Like Troy, the stress that we experience really doesn’t impact the end result of a situation. Rather than freak out, it’s better to take a deep breath and work through a situation.


Stay Out of Drama

Gabriella doesn’t ask for drama, but she seems to frequently get caught up in it thanks to Sharpay’s schemes. Nevertheless, she takes the higher road in HSM 2 by refusing to play these petty games. Whether or not you think that she should have fought for herself a little more, you can’t ignore Gabriella’s maturity. By choosing to not engage in the drama at the Country Club, and instead do what is best for herself, she is making herself her number one priority. This is something all college students should do for themselves. Sure, some drama is inevitable, but removing from yourself from the situation (no matter how enticing it may be to tell the other person off) is really the best way to handle it.


Don’t Be Afraid To Stand Up For Yourself

Speaking of Sharpay, there is something to be learned from her. Despite the fact that she’s seen as the villain of the series, she’s never afraid to stand up for herself. Sharpay is full of attitude, but that can actually be a good thing. It’s so easy to take on too much in college (re. when Gabriella is pressured to join the Scholastic Decathlon club thing by Taylor in HSM 1), but Sharpay would never get stepped on. While you don’t want to be a villain, don’t be afraid to grab a little sass from Sharpay’s book. It’s important to stand up for yourself!


Make Time For Fun

Yes, HSM is set in a fictional, perfect universe. Yes, the students at East High are never seen doing any homework. No, college is not like this. However, students should take some time out of their overwhelming days to just have fun. You don’t have to go out to a party. It could be as simple as taking twenty minutes to read your favorite book or shooting some hoops with the boys (is that still a phrase? Don’t think I’ve ever heard it used before. Oh well!). As Troy is basically saying this gif, bring it on (the fun, that is)!


Try Not To Take Everything So Seriously

Although it’s raining in this scene, Troy and Gabriella don’t let it get them down. Instead, they literally dance in the rain (they do this in HSM 2 with the whole sprinkler ambush too). The point is, they don’t let something so small stop them from enjoying themselves. This is something that I still struggle with. Often times, a grade that isn’t as good as I want it to be will get to me and impact the rest of my day. However, it’s important to try and not let things that realistically won’t impact your long-term future affect you. If you do, you’ll find yourself never able to be happy.


Be True to Yourself

Although Ryan Evans never exclusively revealed his sexuality, both the director of HSM and the actor who played him, Lucas Grabeel, thought Ryan to be gay. Regardless if he was or not, he wasn’t afraid to give some of that iconic Evan’s sass in every dance move. The next time you’re hesitant to do something, ask yourself: did Ryan care that guys weren’t “supposed” to be apart of theater? No! Did Ryan ever stop himself from dancing his butt off in every dance number? No! And did Ryan ever stop himself from wearing one of his iconic hats because no one else wore them? No! So don’t let the fact that what you want to do or express yourself with isn’t the most popular thing. As long as you’re happy, you’ll be your best self.


Get Enough Sleep

Don’t be Chad in a tree, folks. Don’t be Chad in a tree.


Never Dumb Yourself Down

Taylor McKessie is arguably the best of the female characters because she never lets anyone or anything tell her she can’t do something. She never backs down or lets boys get in her way (something that actually leads to a little feud in HSM 3 when she calls Troy and Gabriella’s relationship a “crush”). Although some people can see her as insensitive or bossy, I think it’s a perfect interpretation of what a determined girl can look like. I mean, this girl gets into Yale after all! She’s obviously doing something right. Take a lesson from Taylor and never let anyone tell you that you can’t show off your smarts.


Appreciate Your Friends

Lastly, never undervalue the importance of friends. Friendship is stressed throughout the whole HSM trilogy. It’s our friends that define us, and this is something that Troy and the gang definitely understands. After all, we wouldn’t be anything without our people there to support us.

P.S.  And you thought I was going to use a “We’re All In This Together” gif, didn’t you?


PPS. Whoops.


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