It Wasn’t The Pea
Throughout my life, I’ve always been an extremely reserved person. I was never comfortable with putting myself out there and couldn’t stand being forced into situations with people I didn’t know. Aside from being with close friends, I never really found my outlet to put myself out there while simultaneously finding comfort. During my senior year I decided to audition for my high school’s choir groups. I was fortunate enough to get into both of the main groups which would lead me to making a lot of great friends and finding so much more as well.
Towards the end of the fall semester I heard a lot of people in choir mention auditions were coming up for the All Country Musical. This would involve students from all 4 schools coming together to put on a show at the Library Theatre, a venue I’ve mentioned prior. Through peer pressure I decided to audition. I’m beyond glad that I made that decision. Aside from the anxiety of messing up a dance or missing a line, I felt free on stage. I finally felt comfortable to be in front of tons of people, and I wasn’t terrible either.
Fast forward nearly 4 years later, after taking some time off from school and finally deciding to start up at SUNY JCC I had graduated and was ready to take the next step for a bachelor’s degree. After looking at a number of schools I set my sights on Mercyhurst. This is mainly due to having an incredible scholarship opportunity as well as having a friend from my hometown attend. Having this friend was crucial as it at the very least provided me with a starter pack of friends that he made the year prior. One thing people never really mention about being a transfer student is that you’ll feel really lonely more often than not. This is especially true if you don’t come in on a sports team or another group. By the time you’re in your junior year the students within the same major have already formed an unspoken bond of familiarity with one another. They all aren’t necessarily friends, but they’ve all been in similar classes with each other and thus are comfortable already with the other students. When you transfer into a school this bond takes a while to become one with. It’s not as though people are intentionally excluding you by any means, you’re just an outsider.
After realizing this I decided to make an effort to go to an involvement fair and at least sign up for a club or two. This is when I was introduced to the Mercyhurst Theatre Department. After being urged to sign up I made the decision to attend the first meeting. Immediately I felt like I found my in group. Soon after I auditioned for a number of productions and wound up becoming close friends with many cast mates. When you’re in a production you wind up seeing the other cast members more than the other students in your classes or even sometimes your roommates. Because of this you inevitably are adopted into the theatre family, so long as you aren’t a garbage person who everyone hates and wishes would actually break a leg.
I can honestly say that without theatre I probably wouldn’t have had the ability to be as comfortable with myself as I am. And on top of this it has led me to make some of the best people I’ll ever meet. Through theatre I’ve gained so much personally from my directors like Jen Koebley and Dr. Brett Johnson. Theatre doesn’t simply challenge you to remember some lines, lyrics, blocking, and choreography. It also challenges you to learn empathy, problem solving, and developing self-identity and confidence. And all of these things, especially the last two, are reasons why theatre is something that I value so heavily.