The holiday season has come and gone, and now is the time when New Year’s resolutions fall apart like a freshly baked croissant. The “most wonderful time of the year” brings an enhanced sense of camaraderie, and while the way families enjoy that time may look different, a commonality in many households seems to be movies. With their inspiring themes of joy and discovering what holidays are “really all about,” the messages in movies can be carried into everyday life. But they don’t have to stop when you leave your aunt’s house late on December 25 with an empty promise to keep in touch with your cousins. The outgoing friendliness that the holiday season brings can be applied a little bit more, regardless of what the calendar says, here on this campus.
In a time where large gatherings have vanished and many in-class interactions have been replaced with seeing classmates on three-inch boxes on a screen, it’s hard to feel connected. Masks have even made offering a friendly smile challenging. We should all take a cue from some of my favorite movies in learning that friendships come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes the most unexpected ones are the most fulfilling.
What could the most feared monsters in Monstropolis and — as Pixar describes him — a “short, lime green spherical monster with one large green eye,” possibly have in common to form such a bond? That’s just the point. The two could not be more different, and yet Mike Wazowski and his friend James P. Sullivan succeed in bringing a healthy dose of laughs and tears to audience members. The duo’s friendship works because they accept each other for exactly who they are. They don’t try to change one another; but, instead, use each other’s differences to work together and save an entire company from corruption.
Another movie finds the bitter and grumpy Carl Fredricksen withering away inside his house. Upon planning a surprise trip to Paradise Falls for his lovely wife — which they’ve been planning for 60 years — he finds that she has a terminal illness and will soon pass away. Through action-packed scenes of bird-stealing and explorers lighting houses on fire, grumpy Carl learns a very valuable lesson: It’s about the journey, not the destination. The fact is that the opportunity that exists in college is — just like taking a trip to Paradise Falls with 10,000 balloons tied to your house — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Never again will you be surrounded by so many peers with “minimal” responsibilities. The “real world” is fast approaching. The best way to tackle such a challenge is with your closest friends that will be there to believe in you, have your back, and stick around through the highs and the lows — just like Russell and Carl did for each other throughout the movie.
So say “hello” to a passing stranger or knock on a stranger’s door in an effort to fulfill your “assisting the elderly badge.” Take a chance and do something you wouldn’t normally give a second thought to — like starting a band or joining an interesting club. Monsters Inc. and Up have shown that there should be nothing that gets in the way of becoming friends with one another. And the way we find those people is through being active and taking chances and being involved in campus activities. Look up a little more, because your Mike Wazowski or your Russell might be standing behind you in the lunch line or be in that club that your friends have been trying to convince you to try out for the past month. This time in our lives will be gone before we know it and we should make use of the 1,900 potential friendships that surround us every day.
Connor Moss ’25 is an English and math major from Pittsburgh, Pa. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.