8 Timeless Lessons Theatre Has Taught Me

8 Timeless Lessons Theatre Has Taught Me

And no, not just all the words to Hamilton

When you say the words ‘theatre nerd’ people immediately have a stereotype in mind: a very flamboyant, loud, obnoxious kid who is constantly smiling and singing. However, that stereotype is anything but true. Theatre kids are some of the most welcoming, accepting individuals because through the portrayal of many different characters in various settings, they are able to develop an understanding of the true diversity this world has to offer. Whether that diversity is represented by skin color, economic background, or sexual orientation, theatre kids have witnessed it all through their theatrical exposure. I’ve been involved in theatre since I was very young. Throughout high school, I was always moving from one show to the next either as an actor, a stage manager, or a technician. While I chose not to study theatre in college, the lessons I learned through performing will stick with me forever as I use my theatre knowledge every day. Here are the eight things that theatre has taught me:

1. How to be empathetic

Theatre allows performers to take on roles from plenty of different backgrounds. It allows us to experience things that we would not necessarily encounter in our own lives: war, rape, extreme poverty, varying religions, as well as many other situations that give us a broader perspective on the world. We learn to appreciate people of other backgrounds, as we now have a greater understanding of their emotional hardships, therefore increasing our ability to be empathetic.

2. How to appreciate collaboration

It takes actually getting involved in the behind the scenes aspect of theatre to truly grasp how much goes into just one show. A good show is not solely due to the performance of the actors, but also to the props, lighting, set, costumes, and everything in between. Being in theatre has really given me the chance to appreciate the little things, as I realized that small or large, everyone has something necessary to bring to the table.

3. How to have great conversations with the elderly

Okay, at first you may not be able to relate to this one, but hear me out. My grandpa has dementia and it’s getting to the point where he doesn’t know who I am nor anything that has happened in recent years. However, oddly enough, he can talk about life from those years, when I was 15, like it was yesterday. Because of this, I often struggle to connect with him. I just got the chance to visit him this month and we connected like we did when I was younger, strictly thanks to old musicals. We sat and sang songs from 42nd Street and Oklahoma, considering he was able to remember every word. Having knowledge pertaining to musicals spanning the century allows us to share commonalities with older generations whose lives were so different than our own. This connection alone should be reason enough for everyone to learn about a few good musicals.

4. How to deal with nerves

Regardless of how big the crowd is, getting up and performing in front of a group of people is terrifying. No matter how many times I told myself there’s no reason to be nervous, every time the stage manager called places, my stomach always dropped to the same place. While getting scared was inevitable, I learned how to channel my nerves, and let the pressure make me better.

5. How to be comfortable with vulnerability

Whether it be a comedy or a drama, when you’re on stage you’re expected to give your all to your character. A lot of the time this means talking, walking, and acting differently than you normally do. Naturally, stepping out of our comfort zone like this makes us feel extremely vulnerable, especially when there’s an audience watching. Nothing is more terrifying than reading your part in a show for the first time and realizing that there’s a kissing scene or a part where you give birth or do any other equally embarrassing action. However, in truly leaving yourself at the door and becoming someone else, you experience pure vulnerability, and nothing is more freeing.

6. How to manage my time wisely

Nothing says stress like rehearsing until 11 at night with a calculus test the next day AND your opening night on Thursday. Being in theatre has taught me how to prioritize and get things done efficiently. With this enormous pressure that many of my peers not in theatre weren’t currently facing, I actually excelled because I was able to put my phone down, not goof off, and really get to work because I knew if I didn’t, my performance would suffer otherwise. This ability is one that I have carried with me to college and will continue to use for the rest of my life.

7. How to deal with being told "no"

In theatre, you are told no about 50 times more than you are ever told yes. While, at first, rejection hurts like no other, you eventually let these no’s roll right off your back. I was always a person that needed to be accepted. Thankfully, theatre allowed me realize that just because someone says no, whether that be a casting director, a college, or a boy, that doesn’t mean I did anything wrong. Rejection isn’t always personal, and I’m so glad I had the chance to realize that.

8. How to think on your feet

Whoever came up with ‘the show must go on’ was not messing around. During a performance, if someone forgets a line you can’t simply turn to the audience and say “Oh, sorry! Let’s try that again.” You have to quickly ad lib and force the scene to continue as naturally as possible. This needed improvisational skill has helped me in the real world more than anything I’ve ever learned from a high school class.

While knowing every word to Hamilton is definitely a worthy skill, theatre has given me so much more than just a way to entertain. I know that because of my few years in theatre, I can be a better public speaker, a better professional, a better listener, and a better person. For those still out there performing, break all the legs, because you are making the world a more accepting place one show at a time.

Cover Image Credit: Midwest Living

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Body Image Lessons That I Didn't Learn From A Professor

What I realized about body image my freshman year of college


Girls usually struggle with self image in general. But the game changes when it's time to go to college. When you are constantly surrounded by your peers, you begin to compare all of the little things they do to you. You compare their bodies to yours. You try to figure out what they are doing that you're not. Or vice versa, why they don't have to do anything to look the way they do. But by the end of my first year, I realized that I would never be happy with myself if I kept thinking this way. So I recorded some realizations I had throughout the year that helped me to improve my body image.

My body is, and never will be the same as any other girl... and that's okay

Different sized and shaped strawberries


It can be so easy in college to compare your body to the girls that surround you. Like the one's live with and you see on a daily basis. There is no point in comparing apples to oranges, so why would you compare your body to a girl who was made completely different? So what you can't fit into her party pants, you can rock another pair just as well.

What works for her, might not work for me

Daily Planner


With different body types, comes different food and exercise needs. Some girls don't need to work out or eat healthy to keep a slim frame. Some girls are naturally muscular. Your routine needs to be catered to you, and there is no need to analyze what someone else eats or does to try to attain their stature. You have to do what feels right for YOUR body to have a good self image.

Don't spend too much time on istagram


Obviously social media effects our body image because of how easily and frequently photos are edited and then presented for the most likes. So if there is a certain account that always makes you feel bad when you see their content, unfollow, and take that aspect out of your life. However, because social media is unavoidable you can't completely escape all the provoking images. So when scrolling, think positively about those who's pictures you see, don't compare, and be aware of the previous lessons.

It's okay for your body to fluctuate


The weight and look of your body can easily fluctuate, It's just natural. And in the same way your life fluctuates, your body may follow along and thats not a big deal! In exam season, there might not be enough time to go to the gym everyday. Or during the holidays there might be an increase of indulgence in treats. But its all okay as long as your getting things done or enjoying life. The only time it becomes an issue if the fluctuations turn unhealthy.

Cut out the negativity


If a friend is constantly complaining to you about their body, it can trigger distress in you, and set you back. So if someone else's body image issues are interfering with you mentally, you need to call them out on their B.S. or stop allowing them say those things in front of you.

Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in


If you wear things that you feel comfortable in, then you wont constantly be thinking about how your stomach, legs, or arms look throughout the day. Wear something that you are confident in, even if it means wearing leggings every day of the week!

I'm not a little kid anymore, therefore my body is not going to look like one


Curves and changes that come after high school can take anyone by surprise, but it's supposed to happen. You can't really be mad at biology...you can only find the beauty in it.

Everyone has their own insecurities


Even if someone has your ideal body, odds are they still despise theirs. I have met friends in college that are stick skinny, yet are self conscious about it. I know curvy girls that are very insecure. And even an "average" body type has a thousand things that they nit-pick about themselves. No one has their dream body and never will, which is why I had to learn to love the little things about mine.

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