10 Life Lessons College Students Can Learn from “Moana”

title credits for Moana movie

By now you should have seen the totally-worth-the-hype masterpiece that is Disney’s Moana — it came out in November, after all. But if you haven’t, that’s okay, because it’s coming to Netflix on June 20th. (You’re welcome 😉 ).

Like in any kids’ movie, there are a fair amount of life lessons sprinkled in with all the catchy musical numbers and comic relief scenes. But surprisingly, there are plenty of lessons that college students can take from this movie. Here are a few.

(WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead! It’s summer break, so just go see Moana. Rent it on Redbox. Borrow it from a friend. Do whatever you need to do to watch it. It’s worth it!)

1. It’s okay to want a different path than your parents envisioned.

Moana contemplating her destiny

College is where you figure out who you are and what you want to do with your life.

2. Tough situations show you where you need to go.

Moana staring at a giant wave

Failing a couple of courses may not be what you wanted, but how else would you have known you needed to change your major? (Speaking from experience here…)

3. Sometimes, you just gotta go for it.

Moana paddling her canoe

Take that art class. Talk to that person. Apply for that study abroad program. Carpe diem!

4. Of course, it’s gonna take some effort.

Moana having trouble sailing

College isn’t easy, so you have to put in the work to succeed. As another well-known Disney princess said, “The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work.”

5. Buy an alarm clock.

Moana's chicken screaming

You can’t pass your 8 AM English class if you can’t wake up for it.

6. Buy some pencils, too.

Maui signing Moana's oar with Hei Hei's beak

Not everything is online in college. You’ll still have to complete tests by hand. (Don’t forget to buy a couple of Blue Books from the bookstore!)

7. If you don’t know something, find the answers for yourself.

Moana finds the hidden cave

You have endless resources at your disposal, especially when you go to NC State. If you’re looking for advice or information, just ask!

8. You’ll have to do stuff you don’t want to do.


Could be a group project, could be an internship, could be just talking to someone you don’t know. Jumping into the unknown is tough, but it’s worth it in the end.

9. But your friends always have your back.

Moana's friends on the island

Friends, family, neighbors, coworkers… there are plenty of people willing to help you succeed in college. Stick with them and you’ll be unstoppable!

10. You’ve totally got this.

Moana high-fiving the ocean

Taking 18 credit hours next semester? Tackling a gigantic Capstone project? Figuring out how to juggle a full course schedule, a part-time job, and a 30-minute drive to school? You can do anything you set your mind to. (This commuter guide can help!)

Have a great summer!


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