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‘Cat in the Stacks: Five Lessons from ‘The Force Awakens’


I’m Michelle Callaghan, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.

Our #FalveyForce finals event from last semester may be long over, but Star Wars fever never dies. Since we didn’t have much Force Awakens knowledge to incorporate in our event last year (given the film had yet to premiere), I present to you one more addition to our Star Wars excitement:

Five Lessons for Students
from Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Never be afraid to refuse to do something you disagree with.

Finn abandoned the First Order. Finn is awesome. Be like Finn. Say no to the things you don’t want to say yes to. How can you be more like Finn as a student? Speak up! If you disagree with an opinion in class, find a way to make your position known. Your life is yours and your brain is yours. There is no point in going with the flow if the flow isn’t going with you.

Bad circumstances don’t have to mean a bad you.

Rey hasn’t had the easiest life. She’s a pretty good scavenger, sure, but it seems like she never gets enough portions for all the work she does. And yet, she’s so hopeful and so strong anyway. Sure, you might be swamped. Studying piles up fast. Sleep deprivation is real. But at least you have more to eat than inflatable green bread, eh? Be like Rey.

But don’t be like Kylo Ren, because…

…your temper tantrums are freaking everyone out.

Seriously, relax. Some things aren’t going to go your way. You don’t have to go about smashing and slicing things with your really cool tri-saber. Honestly, you’re just embarrassing yourself.

Stop it, Kylo.


Go watch a kitten video.

What you’re running from will catch up to you.

Whether you think you made a huge mistake and exiled yourself into isolation and hiding, or you’re trying to ignore the clear signs from the Force that you are meant to save the galaxy, whatever you’re trying to put off will inevitably find its way back to you. Face it and get it done.

Just because you’re not Han Solo doesn’t mean you can’t fly the Millennium Falcon.

Look, some people are really awesome at some things. Some people really get it right. You might think you’re not destined for greatness because you’re trying to compare yourself to what came before you, but that’s useless. Work hard and be the best you that you can be – because Rey looked perfect in that pilot’s chair even after forty years of Han Solo.

Official film poster via

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.

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Last Modified: January 28, 2016

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