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Dec 6 / Yakeem Tatum

This Semester was NOT my Favorite

November came and went and here am I, done with a show and I have another one to go. Great start to the blog already. Was wondering how I could top my last one. I began to think, do I disregard it? Be my own true self? Then I thought, “Why am I thinking about that?” Just write what you feel and see what happens. See where it goes. The show that I did was A Midsummer Night’s Dream and I played Lysander. The role was not an easy one. During my audition, I knew that if I was to be cast in anything, that it was not going to be this show. I KNEW this. I mean, I had never done Shakespeare before and during the audition, I didn’t even know what I was saying. And to top that off, I didn’t even read for Lysander. I read for Oberon. My knowing that I was not going to be cast in the show turned out to be false in the grand scheme of things but it made me think of something. It made me think about the way in which I judge myself. This semester has not been one filled with smiles and rainbows for me. It has been a gut-wrenching nightmare capable of bringing tears…. to a person not as masculine and manly as me, for I would never cry… because that is not what men do and I am a man…. a strong man… So manly that I must capitalize the word MAN…. (Quite the run on sentence.) But the semester was rough and I am normally one to go with the flow, well sort of. I plan, but leave a lot of wiggle room within the plan because I know that life happens, and when it comes to my life craziness is the norm. The things that were happening to me were outside of the school. They were personal and familiar (think of family, not like similar… just a little guidance for your understanding). This year, I became a Resident Advisor, but of course, the year that I become a Resident Advisor a rule is created that, guess what, directly affects me. This rule was that Resident Advisors could not work on campus outside of working in the Barnes and Noble Bookstore or working with Aramark, the on-campus food services. Did I spell Aramark correctly? Oh well, it doesn’t matter because I can’t work for them. Yeah, that was the point I was getting to. Why? Well before I get there, I’ll get to why RA’s (Resident Advisors. Just clarifying so you know from now on) cannot work on campus besides the places I mentioned. It has to do with the rule, oh I’m sorry, the law that says that college students are only allowed to work 20 hours a week on campus. Well the year that I became an RA the position was considered a job, and it technically is a 24 hour, 7 days a week job. The point is that the RA position takes the 20 hours a week college students are allowed to work. This meant that I could not use my work-study, which I was using in the Theatre department because my busy schedule that comes with being in the Theatre Department revolves around the Theatre Department so I could work while doing things that were requirements for my degree. With this being taken away, I am unable to work. Why? Because my schedule is quite literally, class then rehearsal. Class not only means class either. It entails me having to usher for shows (a requirement) and do a non-performance class (another requirement). This leaves me with not a lot of time to work. Going back to the dining services (Aramark) and the Bookstore, RAs can work there because they are not apart of Wayne State University. I, however, cannot work there because they will not hire me if I am only available to work 2 to 4 hours a week. I probably should have mentioned this earlier I come from a low-income household, so there isn’t much money as it is and RAs do not get monetary compensation. We instead get free room and board, which I am extremely grateful to get. The thing is that, outside of Wayne State University, how am I, a person that comes from a low-income household with a small family, supposed to live. Now I knew of this new rule before I took the job, so I prepared. I racked up my money in the summer to survive. I, however, did not account for emergencies, because the amount of time that I had to work during the summer. SIDE NOTE: I spent half of my summer in Moscow, Russia studying the Stanislavsky Method ( a form of acting). So with me having money, but not having enough to live with on top of taking care of emergencies, of course, 2 emergencies happened, and my money went from “Yeah that’ll do” to “Well, my wallet is choking”. On top of that my mother said: “Well, I am going out of town, see you when I get back…. whenever that is.” My lack of money resulted in me having to drop a class because I could not afford the book and program to access it. So I guess how am I gonna get the need things to pass my class is a part of the question. So with that bag of not goodness, I found myself falling into a pit of… not goodness (didn’t want to use a different word) that crept into my academics. This all translated into me becoming incredibly negative towards myself. And I didn’t even realize this because I didn’t acknowledge it, which is not good, might I add. So everything hit me even harder when it did hit because I had been trying to ignore it. This lead to me seeing a fault in myself. I am extremely hard on myself and think that I am always inadequate. Even when I am confident I think I am inadequate. This strange realization would not have been possible if this semester did not happen the way it did. With that being said: I am not happy that it happened the way that it did. I am instead grateful. It has helped me realize something about myself that I am working on.

PS. I thought I had published this blog on November 30th. Turned out it was saved to my drafts. Looks like another funfilled anicdote will be coming soon.