On October 24th, 2008 the Disney movie High School Musical 3: Senior Year was released. I was six years old at the time. Now, twelve years later my time as a high schooler is drawing near. I decided to rewatch High School Musical 3: Senior Year to see how my point of view has changed now that I am a high school senior myself. In about four short months I will be wearing the same red graduation gown as the cast of High School Musical wore at their graduation. Although my peers and I do not break out into song and dance in the hallways, the life of a graduating student at East High draws many similarities to a graduating student at Lincoln-Way Central.
The movie opens with East High Wildcats playing their rival high school in the state championship. Initially East is losing, but after a rousing speech from the coach the basketball team pulls it together. Troy Bolton’s dad, also known as Coach Bolton tells the team to forget the score and focus on the joy of the game. He states, “Sixteen minutes left in a Wildcat uniform, so make it count.” A recurring theme in this movie is the importance of enjoying where you are now in life. As a high school senior, it’s easy to write off high school and just focus on the future, but as High School Musical 3 shows us there is so much to love about being a senior. Of course, as a senior you get to attend prom; and, you have a much more established sense of self. Also, for perhaps the first time ever you get to make a life changing decision.
However, these decisions don’t come without stress. Throughout the movie several cast members make a comment about life moving too fast. For Troy and Gabriella there are still many decisions to make in a short amount of time. Troy struggles balancing his dad’s aspirations with his own. While Gabriella struggles to combine her past high school self with her new college self. In fact, all the cast members suffer from some form of uncertainty. This certainly parallels the life of an average high school senior. Many students do not know where they want to attend college. Additionally, many students do know what they want as a career. Troy shares in the movie that he feels like five different people. It’s difficult for an eighteen-year kid to choose what they want to do for the rest of their lives; and, High School Musical 3 makes sure to portray this aspect of young adulthood.
Additionally, High School Musical 3: Senior Year depicts the sadness of having to say goodbye to your high school friends and the familiarity of your hometown. Gabriella contemplates staying home for a year despite being admitted to a prestigious university. Moreover, within the movie, the seniors at East High decide to put on one last musical in attempt to hang onto their last year as a wildcat. For the seniors at East High the musical is there last hurrah.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year was the last movie in the series. This movie being the last of the series cannot be forgotten. I watched this movie with my friend Emily Kuehl and she states, “This movie notes how senior year of high school is filled with lots of lasts. Last musical, last dance, last basketball game, last year as a wildcat etc.” Perhaps this is the best lesson we can learn from High School Musical 3. It is very important that as a senior one tries to enjoy every moment. I have three siblings who have been through college. While they all enjoyed college, they all share the same advice: enjoy having all your friends in one place. Of course, you will still be able to see your high school friends when you return home; and, of course you will make new friends at college. Realistically though, after high school it gets difficult to spend time with everyone. Moreover, people change and the person you are in high school may not be the person you are after college. My advice to a high school senior is to try your best to savor the last fleeting moments of high school. It might be difficult to do this since often students are excited to move off to college and be independent. Although it sounds dramatic, after you graduate high school your life will never be the same. The last song in High School Musical 3: Senior Year declares, “Step into the future, but hold on to High School Musical.” After high school, seniors will go on to do great things, but it is important to remember who and what shaped you as a young adult. High school is not forever, but it is still a significant part of growing up.