BWW Blog: Ode to Self-Evolution
Congrats, you've made it to college! The freedom you feel while in college is truly something special and you get to put your life in high school behind! It's the fresh start you've dreamed of! It's also a great time to hone your talents and really figure out who you are. There's a lot of expectations coming into your freshman year, and a lot of new things thrown your way. And it's totally fine if things don't go the way you expect them to!
My best advice is that things can change, and probably will change, and that's okay. It's inevitable that you've come into college with a specific dream or idea of what you'll study and everything. This is my favorite piece of college advice because my college journey has been long and taken a lot of turns, so I would consider myself an expert on the topic! Both in higher education in general and specifically within the field of theater, I've really found myself in college. I hope that sharing my experience with all of you will confirm that it's okay to change your mind and change your path and eventually I promise that you will find a solution that works for you.
My college story begins at a college in Washington DC, that shall not be named as I never had any issues with the school itself and would still recommend to anyone! I started as a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major. I had done theater for three years in high school but I had wanted to go into a more typically academic field, because there's a lot of societal standards about making money being the only way to be successful that I felt pressured to conform to. I did like the subject matter of my first major -I'm very social justice oriented and as a bi woman I am particularly connected to all the things we talk about in WGSS programs- but I realized I like the concepts but was not cut out for the academic side of the field. I did do student theater for two years at this school with an amazing club there, but after my first semester I started to feel very lost in the actual academic world of college. I stopped going to some of my classes and eventually only signed up for one or two a semester. It started to become a source of panic for me. I was at this expensive school in this great city and I wasn't living up to my potential whatsoever. I was lying to my parents about the number of classes I was taking and hiding my grades from them. It was just not a great situation all around and I felt trapped.
My third year at this school I declared a theater minor, and this helped. I still was a WGSS major, but I was able to marry what I wanted to do with what I felt like I needed to do. This was a great first step! But the time came that it was the end of my third year and I just didn't want to continue this way. I talked to my academic advisor and learned that I would need to spend an extra semester if I stayed at this school...and I did not want to stay at this school. It was too expensive, and I didn't feel connected to anyone on campus. I didn't mention this earlier because it wasn't relevant, but I only had 2-3 people I could call friends. There was nothing that was keeping me at this school. So I decided to transfer! I had spent at least two weekends a month going up to see New York theater as I am a gigantic theater fanatic and have many feelings that could fill up a whole other blog post. So long story short, I ended up living my dream and moving to New York City for college.
Transferring to Brooklyn College was the best decision I have ever made in my life. First
of all, living in NYC is amazing. I had a lot of friends in the area already thanks to the magic of theater twitter, and I had moved here with my partner. This was a stark
contrast to my barely having any friends back in DC. I started as a WGSS major again
when I transferred here but I very quickly became a theater BA and by my second
semester I was ASMing one of the department shows. I was literally overwhelmed with
how happy I was when I was accepted into the theater department. It was all I had ever
wanted, even if I hadn't figured it out until I had been in college for three years already
in another major. In three semesters, I have worked on seven department shows and a
show with our musical theater collective, and I have one or two shows coming up this
Another simpler way that I have changed my path in college is that I came
into college theater focusing on (assistant) stage management and props. And although
I do love those still, I've also been a sound board operator and a wardrobe crew
member, and I'm about to be a costume assistant for my second time! This change is
smaller than my dramatic college transfer, but I've very much enjoyed expanding my
horizons and doing technical theater things that I didn't expect I would do and enjoy
before. And, now I have a lot of school friends. Which, after three years of not having
that, is pretty awesome! I love them all very much. It's unfortunate that by the time I
graduate I will have been a college student for seven whole years, but it's worth it. It's
worth figuring myself out and finally getting to the place that is the best for me.
Obviously not everyone who reads this will be within a 4 hour radius of New York City.
Not everyone will be a theater tech student. Not everyone will be sent into an academic panic that makes them question their self-worth. There are many specific details in my life story that might not resonate. But I want to drive home again my point. Sometimes people continue on the paths they've originally imagined themselves traveling, and sometimes they take a fork in the road and take a different path.
Maybe your journey will take you more than four years, maybe it will take you to a completely different academic department, maybe it will be an easy change, or maybe it will be something that is harder to make happen. Whatever the case- let it happen! You're young and college is the perfect place to figure out who you are and what you want to do. You have my full support!