I Graduated College!
As of yesterday, I will die with a college degree. I have spent the last 3.5 years (yes, graduated a semester early) earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre with an emphasis in Acting and Directing from Sam Houston State University. Thank God!!!
Funnily enough, I kind of expected to feel a little different with a degree, but much like my high school graduation, nothing changed that day. However, the changes made in me through this journey are numerous and are the ones that really, really matter.
I am so much stronger than when I started this journey. As a timid freshman, I could not make a decision on my own. I ran to my parents and friends to get their approval for everything. I wanted everything I decided to do to be perfect in everyone else’s eyes, but now I am so much more than that. I see my life and I’m proud of it and I know that because I have high regard for myself and was raised well, others will be proud too without giving approval first. I can now keep myself alive and prioritized and happy, which honestly, I think is a huge part of finding yourself during this age.
I have lost a lot in college. If you would have showed me before I started what I would be losing I would have been heartbroken, but now I know it was for the best. I gained so much self respect by saying no to some things. Some were necessary, and some I wanted desperately at the time, but I only had myself at the end of the day and I had to choose her. In the end, I have amazing friends who I know I can count on, the relationships with the members of my family are awesome and I have found a boy who would give me the world that I love endlessly and since those things weren’t always perfect, I can really appreciate them for what they are. Because I experienced the lows of these topics, I can feel every amazing part of all of the highs.
I talk a lot about my personal growth throughout college, but I never really mention anything about my career, but boy, have I grown as an artist. I can say that before the age of 22 I directed my first show solo (and it was one that discussed consent on college campuses, with race and gender politics), but I have also assistant directed, production assisted and learned so.much. I not only feel like the knowledge and skills I have have grown extensively, but I feel like I have a voice and it can be a powerful one. I am proud of my art after doubting it for so long. Everyone may not love it, but I think that’s one of the most amazing things about being an artist. Something that may have zero effect on someone’s life, may flip someone else’s upside down.
A lot of younger people ask me my best college advice and there’s a few things.
Learn everything. I can honestly say I went into college as an educational sponge and it was the best thing I could’ve done for myself. I learned so so much. And don’t just think that you have to learn one subject in each class, learn to apply everything you learn into every subject. That will make you less of a knowledge robot and more of a skillful, adaptable human.
Find a mentor. This is probably my best advice. College is very emotionally taxing and it can be quite lonely. Find someone (anyone) who knows where you personally meets your educational goal and open up to them. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are real people getting an education (and usually it’s something that we’re incredibly passionate about) and it’s easy for emotions to get tangled in all that stress.
You don’t have to be friends with everyone. This is a mistake I made and it got me tangled up in a lot of shitty stuff. There are some bad people out there and even though EVERYONE is like “mAKIng FrieNDS Is LiKe ThE MOst IMpoRtAnt ParT oF COLLege” doesn’t mean you have to be friends with every person, especially if you feel that you could lose yourself in them.
You should probably find a better way to cope with stress other than drinking (although a night out is fun).
And remember that college is part of your life and the things that you do will create you and stick with you, but you also have a lot of life to live beyond it. I am thankful for my time at school. I hated parts of it and I absolutely loved parts of it, but most importantly it helped create me. I am so excited (and slightly terrified) at what’s to come. But, next chapter begins now.