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Analyzing Soul’s Message & Relation to Lost College Students

Pixar’s movie “Soul” premiered on Disney Plus on Dec. 25. Despite being a “grown” college student, I still was excited about this movie. After settling down, chowing down on some popcorn and spending 1 hour and 47 minutes contemplating my life’s meaning, I can easily conclude that “Soul” unlocks underlying emotions, thoughts about one’s purpose, and the desire for a slice of New York-style pizza. Beyond that, I think this is the perfect movie to watch when you’re feeling lost in life, especially as a college student.

If you’re reading this but haven’t watched this movie yet, please kick back, indulge and come back later! Unless, of ocourse, you’re looking for spoilers. In that case, keep reading.

Anyways, before entering college, I was excited to endure brand new beginnings; however, as I began to navigate through a fresh experience, I also started to face the reality of losing myself. When tackling an unfamiliar environment, it becomes simple to conform to the people, ideologies and actions around you. Not only did I find myself doing this, but my peers also slipped into their disoriented façades. The college experience can undoubtedly mold its undertakers into unrecognizable versions of themselves.

At this point, you may be thinking, “what does this have to do with ‘Soul’?”

In “Soul,” the protagonist, Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), attempts to assist his counterpart, 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), in finding their purpose. At the start of their journey, Joe pushes 22 to find a purpose by using the flawed process of forcing the activities he enjoyed onto 22. Like the popular college hazing strategy of peer pressure, the film noted that it could become easy to develop hobbies that others propel onto you. In that, becoming latched onto activities that others are wrapped around isn’t always positive, but often, it is an introductory sign of losing who you are.

Beyond the initial attempts to search for 22’s spark, the storyline confronts the overall idea that nobody can be pleased with life until they search for something that makes them genuinely happy. “Soul” characters fight the battle of figuring out how they can be satisfied with their lives to their accord. Akin to the fictional film’s theme, in college, becoming consumed with troubled thoughts or a bleak attitude is more normal than you may think. I’ve been there and done that, and I probably will again several more times. And that’s okay! Throughout those instances of turmoil, without having an activity, a person, object or anything else around you that can provide happiness, it’ll be impossible to find contentment and even more possible to feel lost.

“Soul” concludes with what we assume to be our purpose, often followed by unrealistic expectations. Disappointments tend to come from expecting too much, which is what Joe repeatedly encountered throughout the movie. Those unrealistic situations become incredibly frustrating in college as students’ welcome new opportunistic experiences. “Soul” truly encompasses all of our internal struggles and brings those dissociative feelings to light in order to convey its underlying meaning.

The animated film delivers the message that you should live your life to the fullest based on whatever your “full” life is to you. Everyone becomes fulfilled by doing different activities. For some, it may be performing, writing or doing something as simple as watching a new film in bed. Nevertheless, in college, the only person who will determine what will satisfy your cravings and desires in life is you. Once we, like the characters in “Soul,” rely on celebrating our sparks while embracing life, then maybe we won’t feel so lost.

In the end, the only purpose of life is to live it.

Keila is a second-year Journalism student at the University of Florida. She was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. As a true Florida native, Keila is obsessed with all things Disney. She loves reading, writing, film, glitter, the color pink, and the oxford comma (scary, we know). Keila hopes to have a career central to writing, editing, and media.
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