As young, inexperienced college students, many of us are seeking good advice and reliable role models to help get us through life’s challenges. For Mitch Albom, that source of inspiration was Morrie Schwartz, his old sociology professor. A compilation of the good advice and meaningful conversations with his dying professor, Tuesdays with Morrie offers a refreshing perspective on the meaning of life and how to slow down in a world where people seem to speed through their lives.
The story is told from Albom’s perspective, a workaholic who spends much of his time away from his family as a traveling journalist. After seeing Morrie on an episode of Nightline, Albom decides to pay his former professor a visit which evolves into weekly visits every Tuesday. During these visits, Albom and Morrie reminisce on the meetings they used to have at Brandeis University, and Albom records their conversations to create a project complied of Morrie’s advice in what he calls their “last thesis together.”
What makes Tuesdays with Morrie so beautiful and memorable is its rich lessons and beautifully crafted relationship between a professor and his student. While sometimes the book offers variations of clichés we’ve seen before — “If you really want it, then you’ll make your dream happen” — its wisdom lies in Morrie’s more subtle dialogues: “Without love, we are birds with broken wings.”
In the story, Morrie battles ALS, a debilitating disease that he says leaves his “soul, perfectly awake” and his body “imprisoned inside a limp husk.” Because he knows he’s dying, much of Morrie’s advice deals with making the most of life and prioritizing relationships and love over other trivial aspects of life. Perhaps one of his most touching pieces of advice says, “find someone to share your heart, give to your community, be at peace with yourself, try to be as human as you can be.” In a moment when so many aspects of our lives are uncertain, it’s refreshing to have the important parts of our lives spelled out for us: love, community, and self-care.
While Mitch Albom writes this piece as an adult who has already experienced college and is caught up with his career, younger audiences can still benefit from the teachings he learned from Morrie and how he’s implemented them into his own life. We are just students in search of what sets our souls on fire, but like Albom, we also become so absorbed in our work that we forget to appreciate the smaller, and perhaps more important, parts of our lives. I have prioritized assignments and studying over time with loved ones and have even let those things take precedence over my own well-being countless times; Tuesdays with Morrie is a good reminder to slow down and appreciate the beautiful parts of life that you may be missing along the way.
As Morrie says in the novel, “everyone knows they’re going to die but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.” I believe this is true, especially for college students who are overworked and constantly sacrificing the deepest parts of themselves to meet deadlines and grades. It’s time we pause and remember what keeps us excited, and if you’re looking for some inspiration on where to start, Tuesdays with Morrie has an abundance of wisdom for you to absorb.