Welcome, Retrievers, to a new semester here at UMBC! There are many ways to prepare for the start of classes, including but not limited to looking at course syllabi, keeping track of due dates, maintaining a (somewhat) stress-free environment or perhaps watching how others might stumble through school. Who better to watch navigate these metaphorical halls than the talented protagonists of Broadway? There are many musicals that depict the lives of students and the countless ways the characters learn to manage their situations.
“School of Rock” is a great one to listen to in order to enter the semester with the right attitude. Dewey Finn is a rock star wannabe who impersonates a teacher in a stuck-up school and teaches his straight-laced students to ‘stick it to the man.’ Not only does Dewey learn to reevaluate his priorities and responsibilities, but also he discovers a true passion he never before explored. His students also learned to let loose a bit and pursue their own dreams, instead of the ones their parents dreamed up for them. This musical reminds its audience that it is important to remember to take the time indulging in those hobbies that keep life exciting, even when outside factors might make it seem overwhelming.
A great motivational musical that makes a great addition to any workout or study playlist is “Legally Blonde.” It follows the story of Elle, a sorority girl majoring in fashion merchandising who decides to follow her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School to convince him that she’s more than just a pretty face. Though at first she didn’t take the course load seriously, she got a chip on her shoulder as well as her priorities in order. Elle quickly realized she is much more than anyone had given her credit for and that it was possible for her to be fashionable and intelligent.
Another musical to keep in mind this semester is “Wicked.” Though the plot is not solely focused on school, the story bears an important message about staying true to what you believe. Elphaba and her sister Nessarose start school at Shiz, where Elphaba faces many different types of challenges. Not only is she labeled as an outcast almost immediately because of her green skin, but also realizes she must reevaluate her ambitions when she learns of the corrupt government she previously wanted to be a part of. Elphaba and Glinda form a friendship despite the differences in their personalities, and learn that ‘everyone deserves the chance to fly.’
These are just a few of the musicals that depict the life of young adults feeling their ways around the scattered mess that makes up their realities. Many of these shows are meant to be humorous, such as “Mean Girls,” “Be More Chill” and “Legally Blonde.” Others might explore a more serious or dark theme, such as “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Carrie” or “Heathers.” There is an option for everyone, no matter the reason for listening and watching. So Retrievers, with these musicals of wisdom, go forth this semester with the confidence to accomplish those goals, chase those dreams and keep the necessary inspirational words close by.
Photo credit: “Dear Evan Hansen,” “School of Rock,” and “Wicked” playbills. Photo by Megan Friedman.