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No Thoughts of Class

One of the best parts of this semester has been spring break. I spontaneously asked one of my best friends if she wanted to do a road trip. She said she’s got a sister in each of the Carolinas who would be more than happy to host us.

Fourteen hours later and we’re on an island off South Carolina. I couldn’t have asked for more, the wind didn’t bite with cold. The air was so pleasant and fresh. It was warm. It was so different than

Detroit. My friend and I were eager to get out of the city for a week, away from our worries and classes.

The first day, her sister showed us around and we went to the beach with a perfect view of the Atlantic. So so so amazing. I’m really missing it now since it’s about thirty-six degrees out now without a hint of blue sky.

We hung out on the days it was a little rainy, watched the newest season of Jessica Jones (finished it pretty quickly, too), and just enjoyed our new environment. We then spent the next few days in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, I’d never been to the Carolinas or knew much about them at all. So I thought Charlotte was this cute tourist town or something. It wasn’t. It’s was a legit city full of skyscrapers and hot dog stands on every corner. It was so cool.

Best part about Charlotte was on our last day when the sun was out and it was warm and I taught my friend how to skateboard in a neighborhood with a bunch of great hills without potholes. We skated all afternoon.

21 Mar 2018

Ol’ Leo

This past week, I had to give an eight-minute informative speech in class… It was difficult to say the least. But we got to choose our topic, so that helped. I did it on my idol – a man who’s been dead for centuries. Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist and scientist.

It’s the fact that he embodied both logic and creativity that makes me love what he did so much. He was obsessively curious about the world and observed nearly every aspect of the world. There’s very little that he didn’t write about in his notebooks. Not many people know just how much of a scientist he was. He would dissect human bodies to understand how they worked at the deepest level and made all sorts of discoveries, he invented flying machines and developed a way to breathe for extended periods of time underwater. He created weapons of war since Italy was a mess at the time and he needed money for his talents. He studied the eyes and how they took in light, he watched the stars and made observations about our place. He looked at nature and how everything moved and flowed together. And y’know. He painted what is arguably the world’s most famous painting, The Mona Lisa. No big deal.

I love that he embodied such a balance within himself of both science and art. It’s so rare to see that in people, but when you do, it really makes amazing conversations and amazing friendships.

28 Feb 2018

Practicality

My mom said this to me when making the final decision for my career: do what you lose yourself in. Meaning, what can you do with your life that you lose track of time? Do you like to solve algebraic equations and just forget about everything else? Do you like to debate theory and your voice could go on for hours with passion? Do you want to sculpt something with your bare hands and get wrapped up in the possible details? There’s a lot to explore out there in the world. You’ve only got to be willing to open yourself up enough to let something come to you. Or, better yet, you go to something. You’re not going to always be able to catch things. Sometimes you gotta reach for stuff, too.

Ah. Good and cheesy intro work for you on this fine day?

I once met someone who worked at a bank. She had a nine-to-five job and really didn’t like it. The only time she was really living was when she was rehearsing and performing a play. I’ve noticed, with a lot of the people I graduated high school with, many of them went into what was deemed as “practical degrees” and within a semester or two of college, they switched they’re degree to the fine arts. It happens all the time.

I think that, even if you manage to graduate with a degree in something not artistic, but you really have the passion for something else, you are going to find a way to do what you enjoy. It might not be as often as you like, but passion finds a way. I’ve seen it happen too often to not believe that.

13 Jan 2018

Fiction

Recently, a friend of mine asked why people enjoy fantastical things like Harry Potter or even Star Wars. He didn’t understand the point. “It’s not even real and it probably never will be.” At the time, I couldn’t come up with a half-way decent answer.

I think that there’s a lot to be gained from fiction. We take a great deal from all stories in general – whether they’re true or not. If there is a concept that at least one person can relate to on a deep level, isn’t it worth telling? Isn’t it worth sharing? If there’s a story with something really fictitious in it – like huge, flying dragons – yet the entire plot revolves around love and loss and how characters deal with it, does that make the story any less profound or meaningful? I don’t think it does, and many others take fiction into their hands happily, too.

There are a great deal of people who are bored by day to day reality. I know I do. A fictional world with a powerful character that can do anything is a happy escape and it doesn’t need to be criticized so harshly in our society. Life can be tedious and difficult, and if there are ways to get away from it for just a little bit, isn’t that a good thing?

30 Dec 2017

Balanced

I’ve been giving a lot of advice lately. And it’s odd. Because I haven’t expected it from myself to really be in this sort of position. My students come to me for a lot of stuff and it’s wild. I’m only in my second year of college – just a year ago, I would’ve loved to have had someone who was chill and straight-up with me about stuff. These are first-year college students, fresh out of high school, asking me about what I think about various things or what they should do in certain situations. It’s an interesting role to play, but it can be really rewarding when your advice makes someone really, really happy.

One thing that I’ve been telling everyone is balance. This is a broad aspect of life. Balance can cover literally anything you want it to. Everything from your diet and exercise to managing schoolwork and social life. But typically, when it’s been coming up here, it’s been regarding emotions and how we can take a stance with things that happen to us. A balance of emotions.

When people, in your eyes, have done you wrong – they’ve betrayed you, they’ve made you feel awful about yourself for no good reason, they do a variety of cruel things towards you, etc. – we can decide how to handle it, right? And in a couple of situations now, I’ve seen that there are some who want to rage at the people who have done them wrong. This is understandable, especially if something hurtful has been going on for a while. But as freshmen, many of these guys are going to be seeing each other often within the next four years of their college careers in their own departments and majors, their buildings, and even various events throughout Detroit. It’s important to keep communicating. Taking things on yourself – as in saying “I feel…” and making use of the word “I” rather than pointing and saying “you, you, you” – is one of the most productive things that we can learn as people when we’re living together. It’s this perspective that can usually make conflicts so. much. better.

If things don’t work out for the better in terms of a friendship, still remaining neutral and polite is a powerful thing. Might not always work because people are complex, but I have to say, I’ve personally seen that it isn’t the worst option, and it can be the higher road to take when you’ve been hurt, rather than lashing back out. This balance of neutrality and the ability to let bad things go is strength in the best way.

30 Nov 2017

Artists Today

Hello again!

Happy Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday. I’ve been celebrating the entire month of October.

Alright so I’m an actress, right? Never really thought of myself as an “artist” until I came to Wayne State. Not until all my professors were describing acting as this art form. I had only ever thought of acting as a job, never as a real art or craft. But really, it is. Gosh it really is. It’s got to be one of the most complex and subjective types of art out there. It’s an art that relies solely on a gut feeling of being a human who is pretending. That feeling of believing in the pretend. It’s such a strong and mysterious thing when you really think about it. What makes something believable? Why is Meryl Streep such a good actress? What makes her better than other people in her field? I’m still learning, but I’ll try and fill you guys in when I get that complete answer. Who knows? I might never find out. I’m okay with that. Acting seems to be the kind of thing you’re constantly learning about because you’re always growing as a person and people are always changing around you, too.

Anyway, in my Theatre History class, we learn about all sorts of things pertaining to theatre – the origin of lighting and scenic techniques and, best of all, the origin of actors and acting, which, of course, is what I find to be most interesting.

So my professor describes in this lecture that there was this sort of hierarchical chart of society way back in the day in some country I can’t remember. Y’know, at the top were noble people like kings and queens, then it goes to traders and merchants in the middle, then, at the very bottom, are prostitutes and slaves. Directly above the prostitutes and slaves, however, were actors. Literally considered to be right at the bottom of society. Fascinating, right?

I’m assuming that this kind of goes for any kind of artist, not just actors, but there wasn’t a lot of detail on the chart as we were only looking at theatre history.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting how there’s still this fun little thing that artists get to hear from all sorts of folks – especially relatives. We’re not exactly viewed as the scum of the earth, but we’re not treated like how doctors are in this country, either. Respected, I guess?

I found this amazing quote that my friend shared with me regarding music majors. This was from a professor speaking to his students:

“If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you’d take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at 2AM, someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you’re going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8PM, someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, and a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.”

In today’s society, and especially with my generation, we’re beginning to focus a bit more on mental and emotional health. The arts have proven again and again that they heal in ways that medicine cannot. It’s a beautiful thing we do as artists and it’s not always an appreciated aspect of society. But that’s okay. We will keep going anyway.

30 Oct 2017

We Were Just People

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog. This is my very first post so we’ll see how this goes!

So.

Man oh man, my history class was interesting today. It’s a class called American Civilization Since World War II and it is intensely fascinating.

In a typical public school education, we really don’t get to talk much about current things. In elementary school, we’re learning everything for the first time, middle school is reiterating that and then adding new bits of information, and high school (for me, at least) was primarily going over everything we already learned over and over. But this post-WWII class…wow. It blows me away because I’m finally understanding and learning about the world I’m living in and the political and historical events that tie us all together. And this professor is so lively! I swear, he is like an older version of Samuel L. Jackson – they both inflect their voices in the same way and are bald as can be. And MAN. This professor knows his stuff and knows how to captivate a class. That makes quite the difference.

Now, I’m never usually the type of gal that is ever overly thrilled for class discussions – and every teacher is different, of course, when it comes to how they’d like to teach a class – but today we had a class discussion before the lecture. And if you’re in a class like mine – and most classes at Wayne State are like this – you get a class with every different kind of person you could imagine. And generally, you will find that people from these various backgrounds knowing things. Things that change your mind and change your perspective on so many aspects of life. And we’re talking about the Korean War in the 1950s! And we’re mentioning bits of what is going on with our country and North Korea today!

People know about the world. And when they’re willing to share it in an open way – like in a class discussion – it can be a really beautiful thing. And this didn’t feel like the usually kinds of class discussions with forced conversation. It was more like, “wait, wasn’t this a thing that someone once did?” and responses like, “Ooh, yeah, I think so? And then this…” Or, “waaaaait, I don’t know if that’s how it went down. Wasn’t it that?” We listened to everything. It was free. It was engaging. And the professor would add little bits of information or play the Devil’s Advocate and think of some new aspect that no one had considered. This lesson today was everything that school is supposed to be and I didn’t even realize it in that moment.

It was brilliant. We put our phones down to truly focus on each other and engage in real, big ideas – without feeling like a liberal or a conservative or anything far and in-between. We were just people – exchanging ideas about the world without the fear of being ridiculed or shamed for not understanding or seeing the same perspectives.

That is a powerful thing.

25 Sep 2017