Student Blog: Introductions

Get to Know Me: A College Drama Student Attempting to Relax...

By: Jul. 09, 2024
Student Blog: Introductions
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At times, I find it difficult to remember that relaxation is a luxury that can and should exist among the throws of student life. Maybe that's why this summer I have been very focused on giving myself time to rest, relax, unwind….and write. 

My name is Olivia Ruhnke and I am a rising junior at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama (https://www.drama.cmu.edu/) where I am training to receive my BFA in Acting. Perhaps it is all of the Sex In the City I’ve been religiously watching this summer, but when I first heard about Broadway World’s Student Blogger program, I was very excited about the prospect of sharing my thoughts and opinions on some of the widely experienced drama school situations that I’m sure many of us are currently processing, handling, and working through as we speak.

My hope is that I can offer some unofficial yet helpful advice to those looking to begin their college drama school journey and to those (like myself) who are just trying to make it through in one piece…But, before we get into any theatrical discussions, let me share a little bit more about myself.

Despite presently living in Pittsburgh (near CMU’s campus), I am originally from a small town in New Jersey where I spent the first 19 years of my life growing up. The proximity to NYC that growing up in New Jersey afforded me is something that I am extremely grateful for, and I believe it has played a significant role in establishing my passion for theatre. I feel an overwhelming amount of gratitude and privilege for the opportunities I had to go and watch professional artists perform as an impressionable little creative. With each performance I experienced, my desire to become a theatre artist only grew stronger, and by the time I was seven years old, I was spending every night of the week in a dance studio chasing that dream.

I was officially enrolled in dance classes at the age of two and a half years old. My mother says the choice to enroll me sparked from my inability to stand still whenever and wherever I was. I also had a particular affinity for dress-up and “princess karaoke” which only added to her suspicions of my creative nature. It was with that very first baby ballet class that my artistic journey began to take off…

I continued to attend that dance studio where I had taken my first dance class for 15 years; participating in their dance company and performing arts company. After many years of dance competitions, recitals, and yearly musical productions, my sights were still set on the stage so, I found myself auditioning for my county’s vocational-technical high school. I attended the Academy for Performing Arts at Union County Vocational-Technical Schools (https://www.ucvts.org) for 4 years, and at the end of an incredibly tedious and grueling application process, I ended up where I am today. 

So, with that brief overview of how I came into the theatre realm, I feel it’s safe to say that I am no stranger to the gifts and hardships that a life training in the dramatic arts can present. However, I still feel confident enough to insist that if you truly love what you are doing, you will always reap the benefits of your labor. I remind myself of that often. Namely, in times when I am doubting my place, my ability, and my future - I find it always brings me back to the work….which, after all, is the most important part.



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