What I Learned From College Theatre
This week is the last week of undergraduate schooling I will ever have. After four years (or 48 months, 208 weeks, 1,460 days, or countless hours), I will finally have reached the end of my college career. All the hard work and sleepless nights finally culminate in me receiving a piece of paper saying I poured my heart and soul into what I was doing. I’ve spent the past few weeks reflecting on what I learned in school and what I have gained from the program that I will be getting a diploma in next Saturday.
When I first started school, I thought theatre and journalism were wildly different and there would be no way to marry the two. At the start of my freshman year, I thought I would never step onstage again; I had convinced myself that my life in the theatre, which started at age 11, was over and I would focus my attention entirely on being a writer.
Boy, was I so wrong.
I learned a lot from doing college theatre even though it was outside of my major, but it’s hard to quantify exactly what. I have gained more creative instincts from working in the theatre. I was fortunate to work with incredibly talented directors and students. I learned the value of diversity and putting my talents in use in other aspects of theatre. I learned to trust my instincts and put faith in the path that I chose for myself.
Journalism and theatre worked much better together than I thought they would. Many skills that I learned in one program mattered just as much in the other. I gained a better sense of how to tell a story. I learned how to sell my work. I found that I could marry my two professional choices; freelance writing and acting are both similar in terms of career trajectory, and I can do both at the same time. I learned that I don’t have to sacrifice my artistic abilities in order to support myself as an adult.
I didn’t go to one of the major schools for theatre (though I did go to the #1 journalism school in America). I’m not getting a BFA or even a BA for that matter. That isn’t going to hold me back from pursuing my dreams, however. I don’t regret a single minute of my time at the University of Missouri. I gained so much experience at this school. I worked in the ensemble and as principles, I’ve been published in seven different publications, I learned more about myself as an actor and writer and I gained some of the best friends of my life.
The past four years have been filled with wonderful moments and terrible moments. I wouldn’t trade a single one for anything. I’ll miss this university and I’ll miss the people who have been in my life for the past four years, but they’re always only a text or phone call away. And let’s face it, after four years of papers, exams and homework, I am so ready to pursue my dreams and start my life.