Student Blog: Back to School!

Once the life of a “theatre kid” chooses you, it’s hard to completely abandon it. Here’s how I hold on to this identity while navigating the chaos of college.

By: Feb. 12, 2024
Student Blog: Back to School!

Once a theatre kid always a theatre kid, right?  Absolutely.  This was something I truly realized when I got to college and something I took somewhat for granted in high school.  I started my first year at the University of Southern California as a mathematics major pursuing a pre-medicine track.  I thought this was fulfilling until I began to acknowledge the part of me that missed theatre and the artistic dimension of myself.  It took me one semester to change my major to political science and two to declare a minor in musical theater.  Finally, I feel I have found my niche.  I have loved pursuing a non-conventional route in the world of theatre because it embodies both the analytical and artistic aspects I seek in my education, and so far my semester has been filled with just that!

This year I decided it would be my year to try a bunch of things without fear of failure because rejection is just part of life (but so are the successes!).  Just apply to this club or audition for this show or learn this new skill, whatever it is, at least I am learning.  It has been one month into the year and I have already had a fair share of rejection, but that is okay!  It has been just as great of a year despite that.  I joined Moot Court which specifically focuses on Supreme Court cases (or potential ones).  I get to practice applying Cosntitutional law to various situations while pretending I am in "Suits" or Legally Blonde (which was shot at USC, fun fact).  I started volunteering with my school's chapter of Best Buddies (an absolute party every time) and have even had the chance to attend a talk featuring Patrick J. Adams and Troian Bellisario who spoke of their experience so far in the world of entertainment.  However, the pinnacle of my semester so far has been being accepted to the board of a club called "Musical Theatre Repertory", or MTR for short.  The goal of the organization is to provide more performance opportunities for students as their motto is "innovative musical theatre for students, by students".  I love having more connections to the arts at USC, but the part that makes this the sweetest is that I was not accepted last semester when I applied.  I just showed myself that you have to keep chasing things even if you hear "no" because that will not always be the answer.

Currently, my class distribution consists of two political science classes, one literature class, a hip hop dance class, and a theater class.  So far, my favorite class has been my literature class centered around "Bookpacking", an innovative concept created by my professor, Professor Andrew Chater.  We read one fictitious book a week and each one centers around a different region within the United States And then we deep-dive into the culture and history that shapes that attitudes and lifestyles found in that region.  It truly feels like I am doing a semester-long character analysis for different shows.  I found such an appreciation for the uniqueness of each region (like the Appalachians or the South or simply LA) and have found prior biases or stereotypes tend to dissolve with this better understanding.  The best book so far has been Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout so I highly recommend if you are a reader;)

My political science classes have certainly kept me on my toes, especially, once again, in the department of required reading.  Except, this time it is not lovely images of the countryside or a dashing detective navigating the seedy streets of LA in the 1930s, instead it is Karl Marx with his communism or discussing the influence of interest groups in politics.  I usually just sit in class and try to understand everything in the context of Les Misérables.  It may not be as glamorous, but I have loved working on my ability to think critically and it allows me to feel more balanced in what I am learning.

My hip hop class has been a blast so far and has definitely pushed me to be uncomfortable in good ways (see, 2024 resolution!).  I have prior dance experience but not much in hip hop, so learning to lock and break as definitely ventured from my knowledge of dance, but I absolutely love it.  It is also a great reminder that no matter how much you think you have mastered a skill, there is always something more you can learn, even in a beginner class.  Finally, the theater class I am taking centers around exploring diversity in Broadway musicals.  I have loved the open discussions on the successes and short-comings of some classic musicals and I feel more compassionate towards others' experiences with shows, even if it comes with a degree of discomfort!

2024 has been wild so far and it is only February!  I have loved the journey this far and am excited where the trajectory continues to go.  I am sure there will be plenty of obstacles, but that always makes the wins so much better.  Plus, I will always the song "Come What May" from the film version of Moulin Rouge! so I can't say there is much to complain about:)  Thank you for reading my first blog and I am so excited to continue to discuss the world of musical theatre!