The spotlights are beaming as the show's finale comes to a close.
The orchestra slows to a deep hum below as everything upon the stage turns still.
The final ballad has been sung, the crowd has applauded, the bows have been taken.
The lead changes costume: from stage robes to a new, mature ensemble.
But as he takes his final steps looking back at the theatre he's called home,
He takes his beginning steps onto the biggest stage he's ever known…
When you're a theatre nerd with an overactive imagination, scenarios like the one showcased above often replay in your mind during life's biggest moments. May it be an actual performance, a college application, or the finale that is graduation, everything is typically viewed as a moment. Reflecting back to the transition that was graduating high school in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina and moving to the largest public university in America here in Orlando, Florida, I found it to parallel the likes of moving from one show to another, much larger one.
I often view life through this theatre-esque narrative I like to call "Minor Disaster: The Musical," where EVERYTHING is a moment, may it be victory or disaster (and it's often a disaster). Becoming one of 68,000 students at the University of Central Florida after graduating from a school of about 2,000, I knew I was in for a major culture shock, and Broadway was going to be the only way I was going to get through it. Over the course of the first week at the university, countless show tunes flooded my earbuds as I tried to gauge my surroundings and really decipher what it meant to be a "knight." And with the power of theatre, I guess I've sort of figured it out. Be prepared for ALL the theatre references below as I breakdown what life at UCF is REALLY like.
There are a lot people at UCF, and I think that sentiment deserves the Tony for "Most Obvious Statement of 2019." But seriously, there are so many people and so many different types of people at that. You have your sororities full of Glindas and Campbell Davis's (pre-transfer) and the fraternities are held to the same token with their Fiyeros and Link Larkins. Your athletes hold celebrity status like Aaron Burr holds grudges (it's really serious…). Almost everyone has their group, their "peeps", their "posse." Every Schuyler has their sister and every Hansen has their Murphy. That doesn't even begin to cover dating life at UCF, where Tinder has become the "Winter's Ball" of 2019. And when you have the capacity to be a Pippin' or a Lola at any given moment, it's pretty easy to become a "floater" and befriend various groups. Every knight is a character of their own, and I think that's why I've come to like it so much.
I equate life at UCF to any musical theatre show set in the city of New York. It's got the brotherhood culture of Newsies, the drama, and romance of West Side Story, and the Bohemian, financial-pressure of RENT (but that's any college). Of course, the population of UCF doesn't even hold a candle to the population of NYC, but it holds the same capacity of "moments." With its big buildings and circular facade, it's easy to see why any aspiring actor might find him or herself replaying "Queen of New York" in his or her head...
Being A Knight:
Now I've come to learn that being a knight is a title to be held with major pride. It's the same pride that Jack Kelly has for being a Newsie and the same pride Elder Price has for being a Mormon. I feel we as a collective take ourselves very seriously (especially with football), but we still enjoy the fun and adventure college has to offer. The level of school pride at the University of Central Florida is unmatched. We fight like Hamiltons and we unite like Newsies. We perform like mini Streisand's and we dance like Fosters. We're as smart as Herons and we're as ambitious as Turnblads. And that's what it means to be a knight.
Although my life at the University of Central Florida has just begun, I feel as if I've really become a part of the show of it all. This year has been my "Crossing A Bridge" and I've loved every part of it. So here's to my next years to come at UCF.
Curtain Up, Charge On!