Mindy's Musings: Lessons from High School Musical

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To which group did you belong when you were in high school? No, I wasn’t one of the popular girls with the boyfriends and the high profile relationships. If you knew me now, you might think so. But on the contrary, I was one of the wallflowers of the top section. So what does that make me? A nerdy nobody? Haha.

At least here in the Philippines, we do not have the harsh stereotypes that we see in American teen films. Yes, there are cheerleaders, basketball players, honor students, and choir members, but we are not limited by those categories. The students are generally kinder; we do not box one another and put labels. In fact, some of us even transcend the classifications and become members of multiple groups. There are violin players who also act, and at the same time belong to the top ten.

This is what should be encouraged not just here, but everywhere. Look at High School Musical. They are doing the exact same thing! The star basketball player falls in love with a math genius. A transferee. And how did they become enamored with one another? Accidentally through a school play. The message is beautiful: Break the status quo. One must not be limited by the labels that are imposed by society. If you know that you can do much, go on. Do not be afraid to try.

The third installment of the film series had the students facing the same issues, but this time with a more pressing deadline: graduation. They are concerned with the relationships that they formed during high school. Troy and Gabriella must now attend separate colleges to pursue their different dreams. For Troy, it is to become a basketball star, while for Gabriella it is being a lawyer. Troy must stay in New Mexico while Gabriella has already been accepted to Stanford University, which is miles away from Albuquerque.

Then Troy suddenly gets a jolt: he is being considered by Juliard, an academy for the performing arts in New York City. To pursue the theater arts is so starkly different from becoming a hoops star that it confuses him to the very core.

This moment in a young adult's life is really one of the most confusing. Ah, the first major decision of your life. I know how that felt! You have to really assess yourself. What do you want? What are your strengths? Can you utilize your talents for a possible career? And if you have many talents, which do you choose? What do you really want to be? Are you willing to do that for the rest of your life? And in our third world situation, is your ideal job financially secure?

Enter the mentors. You know you are not alone. There are people around you who have already been there, and have made this important decision for themselves. And they are willing to give advice to you, baffled teenager. Who are they? Your mentors can be your parents, your teachers, your older friends, your grandparents.

In High School Musical, Mrs. Darbus, the eccentric but adorable drama teacher of East High, took the mantle of adviser. During one important scene, she gives Troy an important message regarding his crucial decision. Troy listens, but in the end, he knows his choice is up to him. And that goes for you too.

--- Did you like that? Then read more of Mindy’s Musings at www.wikipilipinas.org! You can also e-mail your comments, suggestions, and shoutouts to mindy@wikipilipinas.org.

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