I find it hard to believe that the end of the semester is just days away. While I feel I have learned so much since being at U of M, I decided to bring it back to a time when I just arrived on campus. On September 8th, I attended the themed semester’s opening ceremony titled “Game Plan: Achieving Success at Michigan and Beyond”. I was excited to learn as much about this university as possible in the hopes of avoiding looking like a typical, scared freshman with a campus map glued to her face (my map didn’t leave my side for weeks, so I guess that plan backfired). The advice given to me was overwhelming, but I knew it would be significant in my weeks to come here at Michigan. The wonderful words of wisdom given to me have not only helped me succeed at Michigan thus far, but have also reminded me of one of my favorite sports movies ever, Miracle. Both the ceremony and the movie teach valuable lessons regarding work ethic and creating a balance between finding time for both hard work and pleasure.
The speakers at the opening ceremony included men’s basketball coach John Beilein, Professor of Linguistics Robin Queen, and many more. These prominent individuals preached how important work ethic is within the world of sports and academia. Natural talent, athletically and intellectually, can only go so far before one has to put in hard work. In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes said “nature hath made men so equal”, meaning that all men were created equally and it is up to the individual how he or she wants to live his or her life. By this, he means that although every person is born under the same circumstances, how one utilizes their skills is what separates those who want to achieve success and those who actually do achieve success. Hobbes’ words are personified in the 2004 retelling of the classic 1980 Olympic hockey game between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. In Miracle, the American Olympic hockey team put in excruciating and borderline excessive hours of work to defeat the prestigious and arrogant Soviets. Despite being fatigued, the clear underdogs, and having just met each other months before the start of the Games, the U.S. men’s hockey team displayed the kind of work ethic that would transport them to victory.
Hobbes also said that above all, men want peace. However, how they achieve that peace is up to them. One major theme within Miracle is Herb Brooks’ struggle to balance his work with the love of his life and his two beautiful children. For Brooks, achieving peace means being able to spend time with his family while still having a chance to win gold. The coaches and professors gave me similar advice. Work as hard as you can, even when you feel as if you have nothing left, but realize that failing a test or getting a C on a paper will not define who you are as a person. A straight A+ student will only have peace once he or she realizes what is truly important in life.
After being on campus now for three months, I found the advice given by Michigan’s finest to be extremely realistic and helpful in achieving success at this school and beyond graduation. Miracle, although mainly seen as a historic telling of a monumental win for the U.S., also teaches many valuable life lessons that I believe Hobbes would be proud of.