4 Reasons Theatre Should Be A Core Subject In Schools

4 Reasons Theatre Should Be A Core Subject In Schools

Art is just as important as math.

The great William Shakespeare taught the world that art is not a mere form of entertainment, but based in truth. He explained this through his character Hamlet who says, "the purpose of playing is to hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature to show virtue her feature, [and] scorn her own image." Theatre is a reflection of society. It shows the world its issues and makes people aware of how to fix them. Theatre not only tells stories of the past, but shows us how to shape the future.

Art is essential to society. Not everyone is meant to be a lawyer, doctor or engineer. Some people, like myself, find their calling in the world of theatre. Even if one does not believe that they should have a career in theatre, there is something to be said about a person who participates in theatre in middle school or high school. I believe that theatre education is extremely valuable to certain kids and should be accessible to everyone. Historically, public funding for the arts has been fairly low. However, public support for the arts is leading to an increase in funding—2014 marked the year with the highest funding for the arts. Although this is fantastic, it doesn't mean we can stop holding our breath over this issue. It's the obligation of an artist to make more people aware of the importance of art.

Earlier this year the Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act which ensures that all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background, will have the chance for an education in music. By a count of 81 to 17, the Senate chose to ensure that music will become a core subject in schools. Although the official bill mentions music and art, there is no specification about whether the term "art" includes theatre.

Here are some reasons why I believe incorporating theatre into school curriculum is important, based on the experiences of myself and my theatre friends.

1. Theatre is an escape.

We all know how truly tumultuous our emotions get during the dreaded teenage years. The stress-induced mental breakdowns that led us to eating way too many baked goods are still all too fresh in our minds. While another brownie might have made me feel temporarily satisfied, nothing in the world could stop a heartache, distract me from worrying about my home life, or keep me from stressing about a test that I just took like belting it out in the choir room or on stage. Being able to connect to a character, song, monologue, scene or show as a whole gave me an outlet for escaping from my own life and fuel all of my tension, anger, sadness or frustration into something else. Theatre is the best place to put all of the angst. Seriously.

2. Theatre teaches you how to work with people.

Someone once told me, "The most important person on the stage is the person next to you." Although I didn't understand it at the time, I now know exactly what was being said to me. Everyone assumes actors only care about standing center stage in the spotlight, but let me tell you that is only true some of the time. No one can act alone. Every scene in a show involves having to connect with your partner(s) on stage. Furthermore, pretty much every song is about someone else or something else other than yourself. Being part of a cast teaches teamwork just like sports do. And no one understands the word family quite like a theatre kid. The amount of time spent together in rehearsals never fails to lead to the best friendships-- there's nothing more bonding than staying at school until 10:45 pm running a show or going through what seems like 100 light cues.

3. Theatre humbles you.

There is something so vulnerable about performing—you stand in front of hundreds or thousands of people saying "this is me. this is my talent. this is my heart." Performers reveal their true selves every single time they step on stage, no doubt aware that they are going to receive countless critiques. There's nothing worse than an egotistical performer thinking they have nothing left to fix... If that were the case with everyone, there would be no need for directors who shape us into the best performers we can be. Performing in a show teaches a person how to take criticism and apply it. It teaches them to be humble and accept judgment gracefully. It also teaches them to know their own self-worth and to be confident in whatever they bring to the stage. One of my favorite quotes about owning who you are comes from the truly incredible actress, Sierra Boggess. She says....

4. Theatre teaches acceptance.

When you are a part of theatre, you work with so many different kinds of people. You cover a variety of subjects because you are learning about the world and how to put it on a stage. So let's talk about the obvious: yes, some people in theatre are homosexual. Not everyone is, but a substantial amount are. A lot of shows are about homosexuality and if not for theatre, I don't know how I would feel about it. Theatre introduced me to the topic and through theatre, I learned how to be accepting of it, as well as a number of other things. Nowadays theatre calls to mind the following issues—critiques of deaf performers, discrimination, racism, sexuality, gender identity, mental illness, abortion, etc. Theatre teaches us how to address critical issues in our world but also how to accept others for who they are.

So many kids go through life without even an opportunity to experience these wonderful attributes of educational theater. Some people automatically assume that if they take a theatre class they'll become associated with the term "theatre geek" (which let me say, I proudly attribute to myself). Some people know they might love the arts but their parents force them to play sports or join the engineering club. Maybe they're just too scared to take a chance or go against whatever seems to be the most popular thing to do. If more people had access to a theatre class, I believe our world might just be a little more open minded, and a little bit happier. Theatre is truly magical, and I hope that someday, everyone will have the opportunity to experience it.

As Cinderella would say, "It's possible!"

Cover Image Credit: NYTimes

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Stop Saying You're a Broke College Student

I've had a job since 16, and my money life is thriving.

It's supposed to be funny when someone says "I'm a broke college student" but I think it's stupid. Here's my unpopular opinion.

I've had a job since I was 16. My first day of work was the first weekend after I started my sophomore year of high school. It wasn't too difficult- I was literally only working on Saturdays and Sundays. The shifts were 4-7:30/8 pm on Saturdays and 11-2:30 on Sundays. I wasn't making a huge amount of money, but it paid for my gas money, and that was all I needed. So the first year I had my job, I was spending any extra money I had on food, movie tickets, and clothes.

Then reality hit when I knew I needed to start saving up for college. I started putting money into my savings account, and eventually I had built up enough money to buy a new old car. I know, it wasn't college tuition, but I needed it.

My first year living in the dorms, I figured out a system. I was putting $150 each week in a savings envelope, and each month I knew I had to pay $160 for my car payment. The rest of the money I made I put in envelopes for a new purse, clothes, vacation. I had a system going, and I didn't spend extra money on useless things unless I was rewarding myself. In case you can't do the math, that's at least $600 in my savings account each month, and most people can't figure out how to put away $100.

Now, as a sophomore in college, I watch people trickle into class with to-go food, to-go coffee, smoothies, and candy from gas stations or the shops on campus. Then I hear those same people complain about being "a broke college student." I'm sorry, but you're not a broke college student. You're a college student who pays for things you don't need, with money you have that you shouldn't be spending. You don't need to get Starbucks 3 times a day. You don't have to go to pitcher night at the local bar. You don't need to spend money on those things, but you do. And at the end of the month, you're broke, and begging your parents for money.

So, in my unpopular opinion, you're not a broke college student. You're a dumb one. Make a budget, give yourself some spending money, and stick to it. You'll thank me later.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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11 Tips For a Great Semester

The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.

1. Have a nice workspace/desk

I recently made this change and I feel 100% better.

2. Dress well

Personally, if I go to class looking like a bum, I feel like a bum. Dress for success!

3. Go to bed at the same time every night

Getting enough rest can really impact the rest of your day. Aim to get 7-9 solid hours of sleep each night this semester to avoid accidentally being grouchy at someone.

4. What am I doing for this upcoming week?

What are my goals this week? What’s going on this week? What do I need to work on for this week? If you go into your week blind, it never really works. I’ve done this before.


5. Don’t lose your class syllabi

This one paper has literally all of the due dates, test dates, readings and homework assignments on it. Make sure you always know where this paper is because you will be looking at it constantly, so don’t lose it.


6. Ask questions

If you’re in class and you have no idea what the professor is talking about ask, or email them! It’s good to ask questions because then your professor knows you care about their class so it’s a win-win situation. You ask questions plus the professor knows you care equals good grade in the class.


7. Take good notes

I can’t tell you how many times over the past semester I would look back at my notes and what I wrote didn’t make sense. Learn what type of learner you are to figure out how to take the best notes for yourself. I either write everything out by hand which takes forever (especially when the professor flies through the lecture) or I print out the notes and just write on those papers so I can actually listen to the lecture.


8. Get some homework done in between classes

In my schedule, I have a lot of time gaps in between classes just waiting around for my next class to start. Take advantage of this 30 minutes or 2-hour gap and work on some homework. You’ll thank yourself later.


9. Don't overload yourself

I’ve made a rule with myself to only do homework Monday to Friday. That’s because if I work super hard during the week on my work then I can have the weekends off as a mental break. There are a couple exceptions to my rule like if I have a 5-page essay due Monday then yes, I’ll work on it during the weekend or if I have tests coming up the next week then I’ll be studying.


10. Don't procrastinate

If you’re avoiding something, just get it done and over with. If you have a really difficult essay to write and then a bunch of easier assignments; start with the hard assignment first to get it done. It’ll take the most time and then you’ll feel relieved when you’re done with it.


11. Don't give up

The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.

Just keep going.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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