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.

The Journalism School at the University of Missouri. (Photo by Mojourcomm via Wikimedia Commons)

The Journalism School at the University of Missouri.
(Photo by Mojourcomm via Wikimedia Commons)

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.

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