Lesson Learned

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.

Coaching his heart away, head coach John Beilein hopes to lead the Maize and Blue to victory.

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.

The official movie poster for Miracle which appeared in theaters in 2004.

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.


Another captivating quote from Hobbes. If this does’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.



  1. epdale10 · December 5, 2014

    First off, as an avid hockey fan, naming dropping Miracle makes me forced to read your blog. Anyways, I think you bring up some compelling aspects about how work ethic shapes us individually. It is true that our success comes down to how hard we try to be better, however, we are not all born under the same circumstances. Yes, we are all born human, and thus making us imperfect, but that hardly qualifies as the “same circumstances.” It’s the fact that we are all born so differently that makes traits like work ethic so important in our success.


  2. jmd96 · December 6, 2014

    I really lied this post. I thought it was great that you attended a theme semester event so early on into the year and also how you were able to relate it to what you have learned throughout the semester. Having not been to the first theme semester that you attended, I also think you did a very good job of explaining the main meaning of what was being said. Hearing that personally, made me reevaluate what was actually important to me in my first year of college. I also really liked how you were able to relate it to miracle and show that it is about finding balance between your job, or academics, and what you love in life, your family.


  3. brendangaughan · December 7, 2014

    Wow, this blog really brought back memories for me! Now halfway through my junior year (yeah, disregard the fact I am a junior in Polisci 101), I still remember when I went to the themed semester’s opening ceremony two and a half years ago. A very similar message was emphasized at the one I attended too; which in my opinion is exactly what they should do. Because of the rigorous academics and the competitiveness within this university, it is crucial for all incoming freshman to be informed that god-given talent will not set you apart from the majority any longer. At the University of Michigan, students need to put in that much more effort to stand out like they once did in high school. Granted, there will still be a handful of incredibly gifted individuals who will prove my statement wrong, but I assure you that with a poor work ethic, all of the hard working students that heeded coach John Beilein, Professor of Linguistics Robin Queen, and the other professors’ advice will surpass the students that never put in the extra work. Not only will hard work ethic prepare you for the real world, but it will make your life easier outside of academics and athletics. No matter what future goals you might set for yourself, it will take patience, focus, and a lot of hard work to achieve it. Therefore, it is a very important lesson to learn sooner rather than later.


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