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COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Millikin University's Rachel Beth Jackson

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To know Rachel Beth Jackson is to love her: With a heart as big as all outdoors, she's kind, thoughtful and considerate - attributes that will continue to serve her well as she pursues her lifelong dream of becoming a professional actress. A 2013 First Night Most Promising Actor, she first came to our attention in performances in her hometown of Dickson with The Renaissance Players, the community theatre group that has helped young actors pursue their creative dreams for years.

Now a student at Millikin University, Rachel is continuing her studies and honing her craft under the direction of her professors there - and it's our pleasure to report that she is flourishing, displaying her talents to the fullest and still nurturing a mad crush on Broadway (and TV) star/dreamboat Aaron Tveit.

In the middle of all the beginning of semester hype, sorority rush week (she's a Tri-Delt at Millikin) and moving back into the dorms, Rachel Beth Jackson took time to answer our Collegiate Theatrics questions and to allow us all an insight into what makes her tick...and why we think she's destined for greatness. Clearly, she is one of our favorites...

So, how's your college theater career going? Has it lived up to its advance hype? The only word to describe my time at Millikin is amazing. I have been challenged and pushed in so many ways. My growth here has been incredible, plus I have made the greatest friends! I'm also in a sorority, which gives me a good break from the theatre world when I need it.

What's your favorite part of studying at your school? That is such a hard question. I love my school so much (I actually work for my department's admissions office). I think my favorite thing is how available our faculty is. I have a really close relationship with my acting professor from freshman year, Alex Miller. I find myself in his office almost weekly, and I know I can go to him for anything. He's helped me so much in my time here!

Have your future plans changed since your college experiences? Not really. I think my expectations are more realistic, but I'm still working towards a career in New York.

What collegiate theatrical moment looms largest in your mind? I haven't been cast in a show at school yet, but I will honestly never forget my acting final second semester. My scene partner (and dear friend) Jordan and I went first. We had our whole set ready and we were sitting across from each other at a card table. For some reason, the professors weren't ready for us, so to calm our nerves we just played go fish for like five minutes. Another friend actually got it on video.

What advice would you offer to high school students considering making the plunge? DO IT! It's your college experience and your future. Don't let anyone but you decide where you belong. I know you'll have advice coming at you from all directions but truly follow your heart. You're the person who has to live and grow there for four years.

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