BWW Blog: Managing Time, Rehearsal, and Mental Health
I'm going to start this off with something that you probably already know: being a student is hard. There's a lot of hats you need to wear, so to speak. Between classes, schoolwork, rehearsals, and trying to maintain a social life, there might not seem like a lot of time to unwind and focus on yourself. As much as this is easier said than done, make time. This is a lesson I learned very well as I got more involved in school.
During my sophomore year, I was on the electrics crew for a show, performing in a different show, working, and attending classes full time. As a theatre minor, I'm not often heavily involved with multiple productions at once, so it was a balancing act that I wasn't really accustomed to figuring out. The result? I let my obligations to my classes and rehearsals take priority over the way I was feeling. As you can imagine, that did not end well for me. To make a long story short, I called one of my best friends crying near the trash cans outside my dorm at 12:30 in the morning. Fortunately for me, he was awake. Even more fortunately for me, he walked me home and was able to work together with my roommate to make me feel better.
This was not the first time I'd spread myself too thin, but it was the time I realized that I need to pay more attention to my mental health than I had before. If there's any piece of advice I could offer to other students it's not to be ashamed of needing a second to catch your breath. Whatever it is you're studying, your health is important. Theatre especially is an art form that can be very demanding. I love that about it, as someone pursuing a career in Dramaturgy, but I also understand how taxing performing or working in production can be.
Having a support system and knowing when you might need to lean on that support is so incredibly important. I'm someone who struggles to ask for help, in both my personal and professional lives. For me, finding people who know me well enough to pick up on how I'm feeling without me telling them made all the difference. My friends and some of my professors have not only recognized my emotions, but they've also helped me to get better at voicing them myself.
I also found that I make better theatre when I'm taking care of myself. When I'm acting or singing, I am able to connect more with characters I'm playing now that I'm more self-aware. When I'm working on the other side of the table, I'm able to do better work on the project because I know when I can and cannot push my own limits. Trying to be the best version of myself so I can do the best work on what I love isn't always easy, but I think it's super important to pay attention to it, especially as a student.
Photo: These are two of my best friends. I've cried on their shoulders many a time.