When Angelica Skyler said “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. And when I meet Thomas Jefferson, I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel! Work!” I️ felt THAT.
These words were the start of my Hamilton obsession. The Hamilton craze has swept the nation – no, the world – because of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ingenious ability to speak to any and all of our ~feels ~ while telling the story of an old white man, through hip-hop rap battles. It is a story of determination, drive, and diligence that I️ think all incoming college freshmen should take a closer listen to.
Here are my top 5 lyrics from some of my favorite Hamilton songs that you should seriously download and rap at the top of your lungs in your dorm room or, heck, the communal showers down the hall.
I’m young, scrappy and hungry / And I’m not throwing away my shot (My Shot)
You gotta shoot your shot. Take every opportunity and chance you are given. Now is the time to say yes to any and everything. Put yourself out there and try new things. At Carolina, we have “Fall Fest” at the start of each new year where every club and organization get a booth to showcase what they’re all about. Pledge to sign-up for at least 10 listservs. Now is the time to fail and try again. Take classes that both interest and scare you. Figuring out what you don’t like is just as important as figuring out what you do. Take advantage of mentors and anyone willing to give a word of wisdom. Never are people more willing to give you advice or a helping hand as when you’re young. SPEAK UP. Ask questions when you don’t understand something. If you have to shout, shout. If you have to ask 3, 4, 5, times, ask. Make your presence known and (politely and professionally) advocate for yourself. Professors are your biggest allies in all of this. Pick their brains and form a professional relationship. Connect Connect Connect. Do not throw away your shot.
They’ll tell the story of tonight / Let’s have another round tonight (The Story of Tonight)
In all the craziness of classes and clubs and generally figuring out life on your own, don’t forget to have fun. Take some nights to let loose and go out on the town. Meet new people that will soon become best friends. Honestly, you’re still just a freshman, you will have plenty of time to worry about your future and graduation and internships, etc. Take this year to enjoy being independent and figure out how you balance personal and professional life. Make some memories to tell your kids about one day (or to never tell your kids about). You won’t look back and reminisce on all the class projects and papers you finished in a timely, organized manner because of your successful sleep schedule. You’ll laugh with old friends about the irresponsible stories of younger days.
Surround yourself with people who will push you to be a better student and a better person. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Find organizations and groups that you are passionate about and build relationships with those peers. These are the people that will have your back and be there for you when you need academic or personal support. Surround yourself with people who both inspire and intimidate you with their work ethic and character. These people will bring out your full potential and make you a better person. (P.S. this applies to romantic relationships as well. Make sure you’re looking for a mind at WORK)
The world was wide enough for both Hamilton and Me (The World Was Wide Enough)
Particularly as college students, I️ think we can get caught up in this feeling of having to be the best, and always win over our peers. Don’t get caught up in the competition. I️ love Carolina, but sometimes there is a culture of unhealthy overachievement. Like, if you’re not doing something productive at all hours, you’re doing something wrong. It’s okay, and necessary, to take time for yourself away from school and work. You won’t fall behind. We should build each other up and help each other forward. There is no discredit in succeeding together. Stepping on the backs of others only eliminates an ally. Campus, and the world, is wide enough for all of us.
If you stand for nothin’ Burr, what’ll you fall for? (Aaron Burr, Sir)
You are entering an adult, independent life. You can be whoever you want to be. This is the time to begin to figure out what you want to do in this world. What do you believe and why do you believe it? What do you value? How, and with who, do you want to spend your time? You definitely don’t have to figure it all out your freshman year, or even by the time you graduate. (I️ am definitely in a quarter-life crisis – if that’s a thing – as a junior right now.) However, you should begin to figure out at least what your value system is, and what core principles you will stand up for as you move through this world – wherever that may lead you.