Lessons from Dory

by Olivia Miller


This weekend to celebrate my birthday and the end of New Student Enrollment (NSE) a few coworkers of mine went to see Finding Dory the much anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo. Like any PIXAR movie, Finding Dory was both heartwarming and heartbreaking with moments for tears and laughter throughout, and in my opinion I thought it was better than Finding Nemo and found myself wanting to be more like Dory, despite the short-term memory loss.

Dory is a character who is always looking on the bright side of life and the motto “just keep swimming,” but there were two specific lessons from her movie that could be applied to student affairs. The first lesson comes from a scene where Dory is arguing with Hank the octopus, who acts like a sour pus throughout the movie. He strongly believes that everything should have a plan and Dory argues back that “the best things happen by chance.” As someone who leans more towards Hank’s thought process (and has Discipline and Deliberative as their top two strengths), it is always important to remember that not everything comes from a well-thought out planning process, sometimes we just need to throw caution to the wind and see where it finds us. Of course, this is easier said than done, but if we repeat this enough times perhaps we can believe and act on it.

The second lesson Dory taught me was that “there is always a way.” This is in light of not only the main plot of finding her parents, but overcoming any obstacle. With Dory’s endless positivity and unique out-of-the box thinking, there is always a solution. Even if you want to give up and step away from a problem, there is always a way. That much was true when on the last day of NSE I met with a student who needed classes that were either closed or unable to fit her schedule. We sat there for almost three hours, brought in my supervisor for the last hour, and together tried to find the way to fix her problem. It did not end perfectly, but together we kept swimming until we found the way.

What movie characters have inspired you within our field? Tell about a time when you “just kept swimming”

Student Affairs - the First Years

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