5 Things I Learned In High School Theater

5 Things I Learned In High School Theater

I think I've met my lifetime quota for musical productions.

It was one heck of a ride taking theater classes all four years of high school. It all started out with me loving to sing and chorus, but at my high school it wasn’t my favorite, so I thought why not try theater? I never thought so much of my high school experience would be spent working on sets, sitting through Saturday rehearsals and sneaking down the drama hallway to eat lunch with all my friends. Without my experiences in the theater I wouldn't be who I am today, so here are five things I learned in high school theater.

1. How to problem solve and keep a positive attitude

Someone’s costume just ripped in half two minutes before showtime? Oh no, run to the costume closet and find something to wear. The lighting we’re using right now sucks so let’s try 20 different variations and find the one that is slightly better. None of the mersisters like each other? Oh, let’s have a talk about teamwork and everyone will be fine. No one ever listens to you while you’re trying to direct? We will work on defining the importance of leadership and respect. Your blocking feels awkward? OK, we will work it out. There were times when everything felt impossible — at times it felt like we weren’t going to be ready in time for the show, but as long as everyone stuck together and kept a positive attitude things always worked out. It taught me to be a problem solver, and sometimes to be one on a whim!

2. The meaning of family

I felt so welcomed and comfortable in the drama classroom. We didn’t wear shoes and there weren’t any desks. We sat in a circle and some of my classes had 50 people and some had less than 20, but either way everyone felt like family. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed and cried in that circle. I felt like I always had someone to love and hug me when I felt sad or was just having a bad day. I met some of my best friends in drama and all my friendships blossomed during productions because we were always together.

3. Hard work pays off

At my school, you had to put in your time and earn your spot, like you do in many aspects of life. That’s not to say as a freshman I didn’t feel the love from the seniors, it’s just I hadn’t been through all the years of dedication yet and I understood that. As a first-year drama student, I wanted so badly to be one of those drama kids my teacher talked about for years after graduation because of all the commitment and responsibility I represented. With sold out shows and packed auditoriums, I learned that devotion to promoting a show pays off, as well as working hard on the set and rehearsing for a performance. Transfer all that to hard work pays off in life!

4. I am not going to be a dancer (like ever)

Every time Spring production season would come around I wanted so badly for the play pick of the year to not to be a musical because I cannot dance. I’m the gal that needs to be in the back because I can shuffle-ball-change or throw in some jazz hands, but when it comes to the final musical number I need to be in the second row so I can follow the people in front of me.

5. How to be myself and accept people who are different than I am

Looking back, I wore some strange outfits in high school, like Joan Rivers would come back from the dead if I ever wore a teal polyester owl patterned dress again. All joking aside, I felt comfortable in theater classes because everyone was very accepting of other’s views, quirks and flaws. I could dance as badly as I wanted, tell stupid stories and jokes, make motivational speeches that went off the rails really quickly or even cry in front of every person in my little theater family. Despite the fact I may have been a train wreck, they loved me all the same.

Everything wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times I didn’t think, “why the heck am I doing this?” In the end, I learned to be myself, to appreciate everyone and see uniqueness or weirdness as a strength. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the lessons my crazy high school theater experience taught me. I’m not going to be an actress, a singer or a dancer, but my adventures in theater, good and bad, made me who I am. I wouldn’t be the happy, outgoing and independent gal I am today without those four years.

Cover Image Credit: Lindsey Ocock

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34 Things I Should Have Brought To College At The Start Of Freshman Year, But Didn't

To the incoming freshman from the rising senior.

Coming from a rising senior at the University of Dayton who has lived in an over-sized double dorm room, to a suite-style quad dorm room, to a house with virtually no storage space sharing an octagon-shaped single room (and single closet)... These are the random little things no one thinks to bring to college or put on these lists, but they will make your life on campus a million times better. I ended up buying these items long after I started college, and they were a big help. Don't make the same mistakes I did.

1. Shoe organizer

These are great for various items such as toiletries, snacks, and, of course, shoes.

2. Under-the-bed storage bins

During college, most of my storage has been under my bed, so this is a must.

3. Photos

To remember the happy times with your friends and family. Add to your collection over your college years.

4. String lights

Just to add a little something extra to your space. The dim light is totally relaxing.

5. Makeup wipes

For when you're too tired after going out to actually wash your face.

6. Extra sheets and towels

Trust me, you're not going to want to wash your sheets and towels right away so you can use them immediately. Bring back-ups.

7. Tide pods

These are awesome. Plus they smell heavenly.

8. Drunk dorm/microwaveable snacks

For when you come back after going out and the dining hall has already closed. Ordering Domino's or Jimmy John's night after night is NOT a cost-effective option.

9. Gatorade

For when you're too dead in the morning to walk down and get one from the dining hall.

10. Keurig and coffee

Just in case the dining hall runs out of coffee during finals week. Believe me, it can happen.

11. Chip clips

You will accumulate many of these from free vendors and events on campus, but somehow, they are no where to be found when you need one.

12. Paper towels / Clorox wipes

You can never have enough.

13. Rain boots

So you'll be able to make it to class on those rainy days without having to sit in soaking wet socks and shoes for 50 minutes (yikes). And you can jump in all the puddles you wish.

14. Alarm clock

If you're like me and could sleep the whole day if you didn't have an alarm, your phone alarm just doesn't cut it sometimes.

15. Back study pillow

Even if you don't think you will use it, you will end up wanting it.

16. Command strips

These are the only things that will stick to most dorm room walls.

17. Rug

Especially if your room has a cold tile floor instead of carpet.

18. Air mattress or sleeping bag

For your friends visiting you on campus, or if you ever go on a trip.

19. Disposable dishes

At least while you live in a dorm with a community sink.

20. Red solo cups

Because you don't want your morning-after milk or apple juice to taste like last night's $8 vodka.

21. Costumes/holiday wear

This is something I totally didn't even think about when I first came to school. Now I have an entire bin JUST for costumes and holiday decor.

22. Crazy daydrink clothes

If you have a few jerseys, you're set. If not, take a trip to the local goodwill with your squad and pick up a few things. The crazier, the better.

23. Towel wrap

If you're like me and just like to chill in your towel after you shower ( and a robe is too hot for you), these are a must. And they're super cute.

24. Wristlet/clutch/small purse

You won't want to lug around a large tote while you're out with friends or doing daily activities.

25. Comfortable heels

Don't let this be you!!!! I've been there, and nothing will ruin your night of dancing at the club like shoes that give you blisters and disable your walking by the end of the night.

26. Business casual and business professional clothes

And make sure you know the difference and when each is appropriate.

27. Water bottle

In college, your water bottle is your best friend. You never go anywhere without it, and it actually helps you to drink the amount of water you're supposed to drink each day (maybe).

28. Blender

If you're a fan of smoothies (or frozen margaritas) and want to make them at home for less.

29. Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to study. If they're not for you, buy them anyway just in case you want to try them out. Or if anyone on your floor is desperate for them, they will be eternally grateful.

30. Mini fridge

When you're sharing a fridge with 3+ other people, things can get pretty tight. I recommend buying this with your roommates so you can share the extra space.

31. Calculator

Just in case you change your major and have to take math again (like me).

32. Thermometer

So you can know for sure whether or not you have a fever.

33. Drying rack

Because you're actually not supposed to put everything in the dryer, who knew?

34. Rubbing alcohol

Works wonders for getting those impossible Thursday night Xs off before your Friday 9 a.m.

These things have helped me make it through three years of college, especially freshman year. Hopefully, I have helped you prepare for your college years somehow. Good luck and have fun!!!

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Cover Image Credit: oregonstateuniversity / Flickr

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Why I Write

As a science major, I get asked a lot why I write for the Odyssey if I'm not getting anything out of it. I thought I'd finally explain why.


Since I was little, I've always had a creative mind. I was making up stories in my head, and acting them out with dolls or just with my imagination.

I started multiple novels with these grandiose plots, and I would get a chapter or two in and then want to start a new one. (So if anyone wants to buy any American Girl and Titanic crossover novels, let me know and I'll give you the creative liberties.)

In fourth grade, we had to write a chapter book, and I remember writing and illustrating it all myself and all these years later, I remember that one project for English.

All through grade school and high school, I would be writing little stories. My friends and I participated in Camp Nanowrimo in August and we would race to try and write 50,000 words in that month for a novel. For one of my college apps, I was asked to grab their attention in 100 words, so I decided to start a horror novel. (Yes, I realize now that may not have been the best course of action, but oh well, it was a blast!) Once college apps were done, I decided to expand off of my application essay, and I wrote the first two or three chapters of that story.

One day I'll go back to it because I know where I want it to go. Today, sadly, is not that day.

When I started college, the first two years were different. Even though I was taking classes where I was reading a lot, I wasn't writing for fun, and I wasn't telling stories even when I was writing. It was all for assignments.

As more and more of my Facebook feed became my friends posting Odyssey articles that they had written or that they liked, I became curious. A. What was this platform? B. Who could join it? and C. Where did it come from?

I remember telling the then president of Odyssey Chicago that I wanted an outlet for my thoughts, and I think that is the basic reason. I wanted to be able to get my ideas and my words out there. So I guess that's the long and short of it.

I write for me mainly, but I also write to try and get better at expressing what's going on in my head. Who knows, maybe one day I'll finish a novel.

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