Want Infinite Potential? Major in Theatre

Want Infinite Potential? Major in Theatre

When your education is more than the numbers, and more necessary than ever.
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The reaction I get whenever claiming theatre and film is valuable for career aspirations relating to journalism is always, predictably, surprise. As much as I fall upon studies in English and philosophy – composition, analysis, and research and truth, rights, and ethics, respectively – work in theatre and film have been particularly pertinent. There is an underlying skillset, and the approach to information, that extends far beyond the dramatic writing, spectacle, and theatrics best avoided in the field.

To do both, you have to think about how to tell a story ---- you want them interested, you want an audience, it’s how you do what you do. Also, if you have any moral imperative to tell a story – whether it is to inform someone, share the truth, pursue transparency, improve the world, take down corruption on a small or large scale – then you want people to really hear you and get it. You want your work to achieve that objective. But what does that mean? What are the constructs within what you’re working in? What’s your form? Who is on your team? What do you need? What’s the main dramatic idea? What is the bottom line? How do you say something interesting in an interesting way? How can you be as clear, concise, and effective as possible? How do you say it in 60 seconds? How do you say it in 60 minutes? When do you contract for your run time? How, and what, gets sacrificed to create richer, more condensed work without losing meaning or absolute clarity?

Even further, it has offered me a unique opportunity to ask questions. Is objectivity inherently impersonal? What is it I want to say? How do you show, not tell – when your medium is vitally visual but seemingly language-driven? Do we each have our own truth? How do you tell the truth of individual people, uniquely characterized and self-justified, alongside the truth of the arc of the story? What is the through-line of action? If there is a ‘why’ to what transpires, does it need delineating – or can the audience walk away and chew on it alone?

Is your point that there is injustice in biased systems, or that the universe is unjustly and senselessly chaotic, or that communities show up for their own when times get hard, or that Rogers was right when he said ‘look for the helpers’, or that there are people suffering hard times and either the government, or the audience, should answer a call to action? Irony? Poetic justice? That the ache of unanswered questions is a universal experience, and that we can all relate to a lack of closure? That each person can become aware of their impact in a given context with a little information and guided consciousness moving forward?

How much of a ‘conclusion’ is hand-holding? How much information leaves the audience satisfied? What’s a hook? What’s a cliffhanger?

How many lights can fall from the sky, tech queues can you work around, tickets can you oversell, lines that can evaporate, sales that can fall, and never-before-considered questions can be answered on an impulse before people admit you're resourceful? Where better to learn "life smarts" than the stage? It is, by definition, the realm of exaggerated public failure ideally met with community-centric teamwork. It’s a testing "lab" for good judgement, and a spectacle experience that offers a unique insight into crowd-reactions to the execution of work. It’s a place to develop intuition for taste, when to roll the dice on controversy, how to re-engage lost interest, or even work-things: like not to over-sell what you can’t deliver on. This can be as simple as instinctively having the wits to realize when not to push, how to best approach a delicate problem, or even knowing that misleading headlines will mislead your audience right out the door and that if you have an interesting way and an interesting way to see it, you don’t need tricks and giggles – just like other times, they’re icing on the cake.

Have you ever gone from reading loose translations on ancient Greek tragedy, to convincing hundreds of people you're falling in love over and over again, to answering angry phone calls from a community member struggling to switch to an online ticket system, to writing hundreds of pages of dramaturgy across histories and literatures and languages, to coding a program to fulfill precisely timed lighting queues, to working with groups of 20 like-minded but wildly different people on highly subjective and sensitive artistic work, to presenting before a group of aficionados eager to critique everything from the way you move to how intensely you made them feel, to realizing your acting grades are your effectiveness as a person and in a way - your mere likability, execution, reliability, and confidence?

Arts-stigma or not, complicated economy or not, threat of recession or not: these are the kinds of people I'd want on my team. The theatre is a highly specialized and strange world, but what it offers when the facade of context is pealed away in terms of skills is uniquely incredible.

In general, these majors require an interdisciplinary capacity that’s more valuable than ever. The ability to work in groups, pitch an idea under pressure, commit to good work with a quick turnaround, honor deadlines as absolutes religiously, create as if a product will be judged by many and need to appeal to specific audiences, and combine a variety of different media to produce an outcome are invaluable. The people skills, confidence, and public speaking found in a performance or directing concentration are the keystones to being “good in a room”. In general, four years of conservatory - if you're committed fully to the right program, like the one found at Mount Holyoke - leads to being thick-skinned, forged by fire, confidant, warm, fun to be around, good on your feet, smart as a whip, well-read, committed, reliable, impeccably time-managed, and able to interact with people on levels far more intimate and complex than what anyone expects from a generation that's uncomfortable answering a phone.

Criticizism of face-value market-value aside, the humanities in general are majors for personal (and interpersonal) growth and development that leads to the ability to create a rich life and a global understanding of the world. The liberal arts core only enriches the specialization by expanding your peripheral awareness of the world around you.

The skills that they bring into the workplace are multifaceted and interdisciplinary. While it may not barge through doors on the resume alone like specifically in-demand or required pre-professional disciplines, they can take any student as far as they’re capable of framing and pitching what they’re capable of.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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If College Majors Were Types Of Coffee

Different coffee styles have different personalities - just like college students.
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Everyone knows college students love their coffee. Without this delicious drink of pure happiness, college students wouldn’t be able to stay up late cramming for exams, hanging out with friends, or having a late-night Netflix binge. Just like coffee, there are many different types of college students, from pre-med to English to history. Here are the different majors, described as different styles of coffee.

1. Chemistry - Macchiato

A lot has to go in to make the perfect chemistry major: just like a perfect macchiato. The double shot of espresso is needed for the all night study sessions crammed in before exams 2-3 days a week, and the small dot of foamed milk is the passion that every one of these students have for their area of expertise: whether it’s, pre-med, research, forensics, or any other type of chemistry.

2. Art – Latte

Lattes are made with espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth on top. The milk froth is usually used for a beautiful decoration on the top. Like art majors, lattes can be seen in all different shapes and styles. Creativity is key in art majors and latte’s alike!

3. Education – Frappuccino

Frappuccinos are the milkshake to the coffee world, filled with many different sugary flavors, whipped cream, and sauces. The sugar-induced rush will help you keep up with the children during the day, and the small amount of coffee will keep you up to make plenty of lesson plans!

4. Music – Café Americano

A café Americano is made with two things: espresso and hot water. Music majors are made with two things: music and practicing. The two both require simplicity yet perfection and have no time for excessive things (like milk or free time).

5. Accounting – Iced Coffee

Too much ice leaves the drink watery. Not enough ice leads to a lukewarm, unsatisfying cup of coffee. Only the perfect ratio of coffee to ice makes this drink the ideal drink for accounting majors.

6. History – Flat White

With flat white coffee, you either love it or hate it – just like history. Neither are common, but those who love history or flat whites are 100% compassionate about it.

6. Biology – Mocha

Biology majors need coffee: a lot of it. Hence, the double shot of espresso. Biology majors also need sweetness, hence the chocolate in a mocha. Biology is the perfect blend of the lab and the real world, just like a mocha coffee is the perfect blend of chocolate and coffee. Biology majors and mochas make the world go around and bring a little bit of sweetness to this bitter world.

7. Communications – Affogato

To the outside world, communication majors seem perfectly put together. However, a lot goes into being a good communication major: just like a lot goes into making the perfect affogato. From making the perfect shot of espresso to making the perfect ice cream to pair, communication majors and affogato are perfect together: just like coffee and ice cream.

8. Psychology – Decaffeinated

Psychology majors know the importance of sleep and know that caffeine messes up your sleep cycle. Decaffeinated coffee is perfect for psych majors – and for their sleep.

9. English – a shot of espresso

Most types of coffee begin with espresso. Just like espresso, most of our civilization begins with the English language. English majors and espresso alike are stable to live.

10. Business – Espresso con Panna

Espresso con Panna is a simple shot of espresso with whipped cream. Business majors are a stable, just like the espresso, but add a little pizzazz to life: the whipped cream. Business majors know how to do work and have fun, just like the con Panna.

11. Nursing – Ristretto

Ristretto is a smaller amount of liquid with a higher concentration of caffeine. Nursing students are constantly on the go and need energy without spending a lot of time drinking a load of coffee – and having to frequently use the bathroom to get rid of it. The ristretto is perfect for any and all nursing majors!

Cover Image Credit: Future Ready

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.

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So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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