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Student Blog: Embracing The Change...Again

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Everything shifted from normal to panicked so quickly it made my head spin. After 16 weeks of pushing forward, I was again alone.

Student Blog: Embracing The Change...Again

December 16th, 2021 marked two national holidays: halfway through finals week and the eve of my 21st birthday. The day started in go-go-go style...and ended in complete disarray. In a mere afternoon, Omicron raced through my campus, shutting down dining halls and all in-person gatherings without strict masking procedures. Several of my friends tested positive, and my roommates and I isolated.

We left for break two days later, double masked and afraid. I didn't get to say goodbye to anybody outside my apartment, a HUGE anticlimax after this semester's growth. For the first time since freshman year, I'd finally gotten to see friends, perform onstage, and eat indoors. Life felt semi-normal! Now, I was isolated in my childhood bedroom. Again. Everything shifted from normal to panicked so quickly it made my head spin. After 16 weeks of pushing forward, I was again alone. I spent the first week of winter break in a frustrated funk, burdened by an overall sense of loss. It was all so UNFAIR.

I did not receive my deserved sympathy while explaining this predicament to my Dad. He agreed I had my right to feel frustrated with the situation yet told me to "embrace the change." I rolled my eyes and prepared to dismiss this advice entirely. I'd "embraced change" a thousand times before. Some of my previous BWW articles discussed that VERY idea. Quite honestly? I was tired of change. I didn't want to embrace change, I wanted to pummel change. Hard. Change sucks. What happened to good ole' precedented times? I'd mentally moved on from Dad's well-meaning advice before he spoke again. "Choosing to live as an actor means choosing to constantly embrace change." That gave me pause...because it's true.

The fundamental nature of living successfully in theatre IS change. If you're working, then you're constantly getting new jobs. New auditions, new agents, new casts and crews, new parts, new lines, new experiences. No matter what these new things bring, they all involve an element of change. Choosing to ignore or despise that change can stall a career. Technically, each new job equals an unprecedented time. We must constantly adapt! That's one of the hardest and most rewarding parts of life in the arts. I realized that I had to embrace that aspect of theatre (and life!) instead of dismissing it entirely.

Talking to my Dad did not change how strongly I feel about change. But it did inspire me to work on shifting my mindset- just a little bit. This year, I'm going to try and view change as more of a gateway than a shut door. Change can feel unwelcome, but it can also pave the way for new opportunities.

So. While it's completely valid to sit in the unfairness of this December (because let's be honest. It is the worst)- try to find small ways to embrace the change in 2022. I'm going to work on it too. I miss school. I miss normalcy, I miss my friends, I miss not knowing the difference between a PCR and a rapid test. But I love getting to spend time with my family again. I love how I can use my time to work on projects I've neglected. I love the chance to sleep in, with the knowledge I don't have class in the morning. I think the secret to being semi-okay with change lies in that subtle mindset shift. The acknowledgement that even though change feels frightening now, it can lead to better days ahead. That's something worth ringing in with this new year. Wishing you all a safe, happy, and HEALTHY 2022. Embrace the change!


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From This Author Student Blogger: Leah Packer