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Student Blog: As Eliza Says in Hamilton: “Take a Break”

How I am taking a “break” this summer from theatre.

Student Blog: As Eliza Says in Hamilton: “Take a Break”

Happy June! It is hard to believe that Summer has already arrived. It feels as if the school year only just started. Time sure flies by when you're having fun (or also when you are drowning in schoolwork and feeling burned out as a result of the pandemic... but I won't drone on about that). Unlike most of my peers who are also studying theatre who may be participating in Summer Stock theatre or other various activities within the industry, I have decided to take a break. I am stepping back from the world of theatre and giving myself some much-needed time off.

You may be reading this and asking: "Why is this BFA Theatre major not doing theatre this summer? Doesn't she love it? Isn't it her future career?" And to that I could give you a ton of different responses, but for times sake I will keep it short. This year has been hard. Not only on me, but on everyone. With the pandemic putting a pause on all things live theatre and performing arts, it has been quite emotionally draining to push forward and almost "pretend" like everything was normal as I continue to get my degree. While of course it was great to keep training, many classes were online for the past year and even in person they required masks and social distance. This was, of course, disheartening. Socializing and making friends became a challenge and schoolwork became exhausting with zero breaks and paper after paper. Personal problems and challenges continued to arise this school year and I began to realize that I was beyond burned out. Not just with theatre, but with life. Each day was beginning to feel the same and I was quite honestly becoming bored.

Of course, I love theatre. It is a huge part of my life. It has given me so many amazing opportunities and beautiful rewards. I won't talk your ear off about how much theatre means to me, but in short it means a lot. However, with that being said, I don't want it to be my whole life. Growing up and doing theatre, it was a hobby. Something fun to do during my free time and over the summer. However, the moment I decided to pursue training professionally, it became a future career. While I agree that a career can (and should) be something that you love, there is a fine line between a career and a hobby. I have realized over this past year that theatre has taken up my life and that I don't have many other hobbies. I know that sounds sad, but it was honestly a great realization to make. I decided that I want to start branching out and learning more about myself and what I enjoy- besides theatre. I think it will be good to take a break from performing and constantly training and making theatre. It has become monotonous and I want to find more things that I enjoy.

So, now you can ask, how exactly am I taking my "break"? As well as: "Does this mean no theatre AT ALL?!". Well to answer these questions, I am learning how to do this everyday. It is not a set plan. And it certainly does not mean no theatre at all. I like to think of it as placing a boundary on theatre rather than completely cutting it out. I still of course listen to my favorite cast albums, watch performances, and read plays like every other theatre fanatic- but I don't let it take all of my free time. I feel as if up until this point, I always figured that I "have to" do everything in my life. I have to perform, I have to listen to this new album, I have to keep dancing and singing and acting to maintain my training, I have to read these plays, I have to do this performance assignment. When everything "has" to be done, it becomes exhausting and stressful. It makes me not want to do said activity. By taking a break this summer from "having to do theatre," I am working towards finding a way to "want to do theatre" again. For my own enjoyment and pleasure, not to please anyone else or for a grade. With this in mind, I engage with theatre this summer when I want to. I believe this will help me find the joy in my craft again and fall in love with the art of performing.

If you have made it to this point in the blog, you may be wondering what exactly I am doing this summer instead. I live in Florida but I have picked up my life and moved to Colorado for the summer. I got a nice job at a restaurant working as a barista, which fulfills my passion of making fun coffee drinks and smoothies. I am also participating in an online math class as a refresher and to help satisfy school credits for the fall. In my free time, I am picking up new hobbies and trying new things. I have been reading books that have been on my list for years now, painting, trying new foods, hiking, hammocking, photography, listening to new music, yoga, meditation, kayaking, exploring, and much more. I am so far really enjoying my time away from performing, and I can already tell that I am getting excited about doing it again when I return to school in the fall. However, until then, I am going to keep learning about myself and discovering new hobbies and interests. I am excited to see where this summer takes me on my brief intermission from performing.


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From This Author Student Blogger: Jaclyn Hansen