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Wayne State University

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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