Show Context: In six different musical numbers during Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton sings about not throwing away his shot; though once, it’s directed towards his friend, instead of referring to his own shot. In the end, however, Hamilton famously throws away his shot by shooting at the sky, instead of at Aaron Burr.
In your life: It sounds awfully cliché (thanks, Drake..), but you only live once! You’re only going to be a college freshman once, so take every awesome opportunity that comes your way! Don’t wait until you’re a senior with numbered days to take a shot at something that could end up being life changing.
Wicked – There are two sides to every story
Show Context: The musical itself shows the other side to The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch’s side of the story and her friendship with Glinda, the good witch. It shows how Elphaba had always tried to be good, but her situation (being green) proved to be difficult.
In your life: Look at both sides of everything. There’s something to learn from everyone you meet, and usually it’s not from your first impression of the person. Get to know people and learn their story before you make a judgement on them.
Catch Me If You Can – “This end can be my start”
Show Context: Catch Me If You Can is a musical based on the life of conman Frank Abagnale, Jr. At the end of the show, 18 year old Frank, played by Aaron Tveit, sings his final goodbye. The character, realizing he has no one left to go to, surrenders and gets arrested.
In your life: We’ve all just had new starts in our lives! The end of high school, and beginning of college for all of us is our new start. We’ve all been dealt a blank slate when we said goodbye to what our lives were like before September rolled around. Use this time now to establish who you want to be and create that new beginning in a place where it's totally acceptable to do so.
Les Miserables – Never be afraid to fight for what you believe in
Show Context: Enjolras is the terribly charming leader of the rebellion. He believes in liberty, equality, and fraternity, all of which middle class French citizens were deprived of in the 19th century. He was fearless going into the rebellion, and stood strong through the entire rebellion, until his extremely brave death at the barricade.
In your life: Life isn't a spectator sport. When you really believe in something, don't just hang out on the sidelines and wait for someone else to do all the dirty work. Take a stand! Maybe you've finally found that perfect job or internship; you won't get anywhere without proving how qualified and awesome you would be for the job.
The Addams Family – It’s great to be different
Show Context: When Wednesday Addams meets a boy who makes her feel “normal” things, she asks her family to host “one normal night”, obviously referring to her clearly not-normal family.
In your life: Normal is boring. It's never fun when you feel pressured to fit in, so stand out! Being yourself is key in college. Be the kind of person you really are.
Newsies – Seize The Day!
Show Context: Nineteeth century newspaper delivery boys, led by Jack Kelly, are finally having the courage to “seize the day” and protest against the newspaper they deliver.
In your life: Live in the moment, and take every opportunity that's thrown your way. Right now, this moment is the only one of it's kind that you're going to get. To quote Newsies, "now is the time to seize the day, stare down the odds and seize the day". It's hard to expand on just how great these lyrics are. They speak for themselves.
Avenue Q – “Everything in life is only for now”
Show Context: The finale of Avenue Q states that life is going to go on with or without finding your purpose, and things – both good and bad – are only “for now”.
In your life: If you're having a bad day, just hold on because it'll pass. Even the worst moments in our lives truly are only for now, and even they'll end eventually.