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BWW Blog: What I Learned in My First Month at Theater School

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What I learned in my first month at theater school I remember dreaming about my first semester in college while still at high school. I would do endless research on theater programs and campus life, thinking I was going in ready to have the perfect freshmen experience. The truth is everyone's experience is entirely different, and there is no such thing as the "perfect semester." This was a harsh reality for me to face, but I hope to impart some of my wisdom and tell you about the most important things I learned in my first semester.

If you don't feel comfortable in your dorm, move out before it gets ugly. Ideally, we would live in a world where everyone in a dorm has the exact same cleaning standards and morning schedules. But the truth is everyone is different, and more importantly, people handle situations differently. I don't want to get into detail about this, but during my first semester, I had to emergency move out of my dorm. And while I don't think I'm entirely faultless in this situation, I do wish I would have moved out sooner instead of bottling up my emotions. I am so happy, I moved out, but I know that my mental health would have been so much better if I would have left before the situation escalated.

Hanging out until 3 am is fun until you have to wake up for 9 am piano class. I am a super extroverted person, but I also need my beauty sleep. In my first couple of weeks, I would hang out with my new friends in the common room every single night. This was all fun and games until I remembered that I had nine am classes every single day. One Friday, after spending the night before hanging out, I woke up at 9:05 am and missed my piano class. My overachieving self was devastated (I even called my mom crying), but I pulled myself together. I emailed my teacher apologizing, and I set an alarm on my phone for weekdays at 10:45 pm. It didn't matter what I was doing when that alarm when off; it was time to head back to my room (of course, I occasionally broke that rule, but overall I was pretty consistent). FOMO is real, but you have to remember that having the energy to tackle the day is essential.

You don't know nearly enough musicals/plays. I went into my first musical theater class, thinking I had a vast knowledge of musicals. Little did I know that there were hundreds of shows I hadn't even heard about. I used my free time to discover new cast albums and plays. I have found new favorite shows, and my musical playlist has gotten so much better. Don't hesitate to go outside the box and find new shows because you will most likely find something completely unexpected that you love.

BWW Blog: What I Learned in My First Month at Theater School
Move-in Day (before all the crazy drama went down)

It's never too early to get involved. In my first semester, I was not cast in the mainstage shows, but I discovered that my school offers a number of workshops, fitness classes, and dance classes open to anyone. I quickly decided to join some of these, and I felt like they personally enhanced my freshman experience. I was told that I should take my first semester to focus on classes. If I had taken that advice, I would have missed out on countless opportunities. You are paying so much money to go to school, so why not take full advantage of it.

Student resources are there for you, so go talk to them. Student Sucess, Mental Health, Athletic Performance are just a few of the fantastic resources available. It took me a while to realize how useful these offices are. When I had my whole rooming situation, the mental health office was there to provide support. When I injured my ankle, the athletic performance center was there with a bucket of ice. Student success is always checking in, making sure I'm doing good. If I hadn't taken advantage of these offices, I don't know how I would have made it past the first month of school.

BWW Blog: What I Learned in My First Month at Theater School
This was at my schools fall festival after the surviving the first couple of weeks .

Doing what you love full time is exhausting but will bring you so much satisfaction. Studying theater is not easy. There are moments when it feels like you're not good enough, or your back hurts from dancing all day. Those times it feels easier to quit. I got very homesick during my first couple of weeks and considered giving up. That is until I had a specif performance in my musical theater class. I was singing "Perfect" By Pasek and Paul, a song which I thought was way too hard for me. But that day, I really internalized the song and remembered the people who said I couldn't do theater and the negative voice in my head. I visualized the naysayers during my song, and I was able to sing as I had never done before. After I finished, I burst into tears, and I just knew this is what I was meant to do for the rest of my life.

And these are just a handful of the things I learned, but there is so much more than I could say. My first month of college was full of ups and downs, but I wouldn't change it because It brought me so much knowledge and tons of stories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Maria Puig