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Student Blog: Suddenly, Sophomores

Reflecting on a first year full of new struggles, challenges, and breakthroughs.

Student Blog: Suddenly, Sophomores

A few weeks ago, I finished my freshman year in the Musical Theatre Program at the University of Utah. As I'm sure you've heard time and time again, the past year is nothing like I ever planned, hoped, or dream of; however, that is not to say that this past year was not full of amazing discoveries, opportunities, and breakthroughs. I'm not going to lie-- this first year was rough, but it was not the fault of the university nor the program itself; we all know what made this past year so hard. That being said, it also presented many opportunities to become stuck in that darkness and isolation, making those moments of light and joy missed or untaken. I have learned a lot during these past eight months, and I thought I would share with you some of those moments and things to remember during university, majoring in musical theatre, and those things throughout life in general that make these already-difficult points of life that much more confusing.

It is ok to struggle.

I had a lot of moments during the school year where I felt as if I was not working hard enough, I was not improving as much as I had hoped to, I was not putting in enough effort, I was not motivated enough-- I caught myself being so hard on myself without trying to remember that these circumstances are unfamiliar and challenging; yet even if not presented with a pandemic, it is still okay to feel this way, but it is even more important to remember your worth and how these things will never be able to truly define yourself as a person. Whenever I saw my brilliantly talented classmates taking far larger strides than I was, I had to remind myself that I was still enough, I was still working, I was still motivated, but progress presents itself differently among everybody-- so that saying that everybody has their strengths and weaknesses is important to remember. Everybody is at a different place, even beyond the scope of musical theatre, but it is the drive, motivation, and passion that are among the most important things-- I took these things that I saw from my classmates and I used it to motivate myself to continue to work hard-- channeling these moments, that can so easily be turned into moments of defeat, into moments of inspiration is a difficult task. However, once accomplished, you will soon be able to find inspiration and sources of motivation everywhere, and THAT is what you should feel good about. Of course, it is always easier said than done, and as humans, we naturally judge and compare ourselves to others, but acknowledging that vulnerability and strength to continue working is what creates the most-incredible workers.

It is ok to feel stuck.

This one is specific to the pandemic and feeling stuck. With the university shows cancelled, nights usually spent at rehearsals and preparing for productions was instead filled with loneliness and a feeling of emptiness, and that took a huge toll on my feelings of self-esteem, work ethic, and clarity. But I had to constantly remind myself that, again, these are nowhere near normal circumstances, and I always felt like there was something more that I could be doing, but the truth is: sometimes, there just wasn't. Not at least without burning out and exhausting myself. My dorm room became a place of relaxation and work, and it became incredibly difficult to separate the two, making that feeling of "I should be working right now" all the more prevalent and difficult to deal with. So, it is okay to feel that way or to have felt that way.

It is beyond important to remember and acknowledge the progress you've made, the effort and work you've put in, and reflect on all of the things you can now do that you could not have a few months ago-- no matter how big or small of a success you think it might be. This past year has been hard, but you should be proud.

Here's to what is hopefully another semester full of learning, growth, opportunities, progress, and, hopefully, returning to the stage.

Be proud.

Bryce :)

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