The Road So Far…

My biggest takeaway from this past Fall semester is learning time management, y’know? I know there’s a lot of talk about it and how important it is…but dannnng – it’s VITAL, and it hit me hard last semester! So feel free to take it from me, if you’d like:

There would be times I’d scroll pointlessly through some kind of social media, or I would go down little rabbit holes of some topic that wasn’t necessary in a moment when I actually needed to accomplish many other things…it was ridiculous! It’s important, now more than ever, that we practice discipline with the time that we’re given, to the best of our ability.

So y’know when you have maybe an hour in-between classes? I would sometimes do NOTHING but decompress a bit and relax. “What can I even get done in an hour?” Agh, DUDE! EVERYTHING!

And as good as it is to take moments for yourself, in reality, I took advantage of those moments too much and I could’ve been taking that time to sit down and do those little things that would make the “big thing” so much smaller. Breaking up the big stuff is makes everything more manageable! We know this! And it’s time for me to start applying it. So now taking that into practice with this semester, I’m already noticing the difference in how I approach EVERYTHING! “Can I handle this extra thing in this week or today or tomorrow?” “When, in my schedule, do I have time to work on this assignment uninterrupted?” Figuring out that time and making a plan with yourself has been super helpful for me so far.

Hope this helped someone a bit, too.

Year

Not to be the cliché hipster with a “different” opinion, but New Year’s Eve is a really boring celebration for me. I don’t care for it.

There could be a mix of reasons! My lack of real friends is definitely one. Another is the fact that I don’t drink or do any kind of drugs. No shots for the new year, no hits for the “new me.” And that’s all perfectly fine!

So no. I will admit that I didn’t go out for New Year’s Eve. And I’ll go on further to confess that I haven’t gone out for the last couple years. Instead, I had a night to myself and played Assassin’s Creed – last New Year’s, I played the edition of the game that takes place in Ancient Egypt, this New Year’s I played the newest game that takes place in Ancient Greece. I played the game all night long and into the new year. The game makes me incredibly happy to explore and play in, and it’s perfect for ignoring the societal expectation of the fact that I should be doing something bigger with my night.

For me, New Year’s Day isn’t the kick in the butt I need to get myself into gear and back to what I want to be and what I need to be. No New Year’s Resolutions. It’s more so the idea of a new semester with different classes that re-inspires me. I don’t feel as if my work is burying me at this point, and I realized how much I love to be able to take on different projects and opportunities outside of classes.

It’s important to have homework and do work for the classes you’re taking, sure…but I feel that it’s vital to have ample amounts of free time to be able to create and explore what’s out there. I have a professor who believes that stress will diminish creativity and I really felt that last semester at times! So now that classes are still so new and fresh and we’re easing into everything again – my mind feels SO CLEAR and it’s truly a beautiful thing. I’m incredibly grateful for the fact that Winter semester will always be kinder to the student’s mind than Fall semester.

There’s a little more light at the end of the day with Winter semester and it feels great. Cheers to the new semester, cheers to the new year, y’all.

I’m a Photographer?

Yeah, so as I mentioned in my last post, I got a shiny new camera and man is it a beaut!

I’ve been messing around with photography since I was a kid. Always have loved the art of it and playing with the angles of a subject. Light has recently become a new obsession for me in terms of what it can do for a shot, and I’ve messed around with dozens of editing programs that allow me to really dunk my head in great results. I haven’t had the chance to take many pictures of people, but portraits are quickly becoming my favorite things to take shots of. However, landscapes will always have a special place in my heart, for sure.

The picture that is used as a header for my blog is one that I took right outside of Old Main as a lot of leaves were beginning to fall. I could’ve tried so many different things with how I shot this, and probably could’ve gotten better results, but I was freezing haha

So included here are a few shots I’ve taken over the course of this semester that I’d like to share!

Yep this is me – the lighting in my apartment was pretty cool and shadowy so I thought I’d take advantage of it
I had to write a performance report on a musical for my movement class so I saw Chicago: The Musical at the Fisher Theatre and MAN was it beautiful!
I was very cold when I took this front shot of Old Main, otherwise I’m SURE it could’ve been done better, but hey! Here’s to improving!
Somewhere in midtown, I kind of forgot where.
My GORGEOUS roommate in a very candid moment on our couch. The lighting is GREAT here, I love this shot haha

Finale

Finally done with the semester and, just like high school, junior year is proving to be very intense. You have this wonderful benefit of knowing your professors a lot better, you’re in a neat position where the younger students look up to you more and ask more from you, your classmates know you better and ask you to collaborate on projects…it’s all so crazy and amazing. Yet the world is really proving to me that there’s not enough time!

The semester flew by. I know I personally wanted to document more of it. I splurged and bought myself a beautiful camera and it’s proven to be one of my favorite gizmos. Much better than a phone, let me tell ya. And I’m itching to use it more. Might as well just carry around with me all the time but a big part of me doesn’t want to look like a tourist in my own city!

I was cast in WSU’s A Christmas Carol. Funny enough, my first year here, I was crewing Carol backstage – helping manage costumes and take care of the kid cast. It was a dreadfully tedious job with long runs, but I got familiar with the Bonstelle Theatre and man, oh man. It is a mysterious beauty that I still feel I haven’t explored enough of! Being on a big stage like that and pushing myself out as much as I could, testing the waters in a sea of seats and a whole balcony!

What was interesting about being in the cast this time around was that I got to meet the crew on a more personal level. When I was a first-year, hardly anyone in the cast spoke to the little freshies in the green room. So, now being older, I made sure that changed quick and that I talked to the crew backstage through the rehearsal and performance process. It changed how I felt about the atmosphere for sure, and I hope that the crew felt the same. We definitely cracked many jokes while waiting for a light cue or something. Many more friendly faces after the whole thing. Many more people who weren’t cast this semester seeing that they have the potential and the creativity to build something here.

It’s important, as upperclassmen working closely with first and second-year students, that we give a damn about each other. Even when it is so tempting to shut down and just focus on you. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the light in other people come up – just based on a small interaction from someone with a little bit more experience. Not in a condescending way, either, but in an equalizing enviornment perfect for collaborating with people who share high standards of quality in your craft. It’s, well. It’s powerful.

Some Actual Thoughts from Class

We’re a little over halfway through the semester now. Whew. I’ve just been informed by my professors that this was the easier half.

Our Voice II class where we were each a different aspect of the vocal tract in a line.

But man, oh man. We’ve been getting our butts kicked in the best way. Constantly being pushed further in our studies and in our craft of acting. I’m one in a class of nine. There’s enough people to work with, but the classes are
small enough to have a good amount of time with the professor.

Our Acting III classes has been the one of most growth for us. We’re studying Meisner technique after having learned some Chekhov technique and wow. It’s been such a practical technique for many of us and it’s all about not doing anything unless something happens to make you do it. So you’re not over-acting, you’re not under-acting. It’s just sincerely realistic to the best of one’s ability and relies on working with your scene partner, creating moments. We focus on the craft, and Meisner is a firm believer, as is our professor, that anyone can act and it is the ability to act. Our professor is brilliant and genuinely cares about each and every one of us, and that means the world to a bunch of young artists like us.

 

 

Friendsgiving

So I’m a Peer Mentor for the Theatre & Dance department, and for the past couple months or so, we’ve been planning to throw a good party as a full department! Invite the faculty, invite the grads, and the undergrads! It was time. This semester has been long without any real break and we decided that having a Friendsgiving would be the best bet to ease up the semester.

So many wonderful people showed up and even better, many brought dishes to share. My friend made this AMAZING macaroni recipe, my professor brought sloppy joes, my advisor and his wife made the BEST cookies I’ve had in ages…it was all so perfect.

Theatre AND dance got together. We never get to actually hang out with each other all that often. And for the first-years, it was amazing for them to meet upperclassmen and the upperclassmen got to meet the first-years! Usually, we meet people at rehearsals or in classes, not usually a lot outside of that. We can get stuck in a rut that way. I’m around the same 8 people every day. They are my second family in many ways, but at the end of the day, I love diversity in thought and in people. I get bored around the same people after a while. Friendsgiving was this amazing, celebratory thing. It was a family event for us, and a new tradition in the arts for Wayne State.

Studying? Abroad? Don’t have to ask me twice.

Hiya! I went on a study abroad over the summer – wow. Came back with a decent piece of my heart missing and new tastes for good food. Italy was a dream.

We studied a form of theatre called commedia dell’arte, which roughly translates to “comedy of art”. My brilliant professors combined Shakespearian comedy with commedia traditions and Michael Chekhov acting techniques. We put together a performance over the course of an entire month while traveling around the country and visiting various museums and towns.

I couldn’t have asked for a more immersive learning experience. When you’re surrounded by an entirely different language – one that you’re not fluent in…yet – you focus less on the words and more on what the person speaking is expressing with their bodies. The Italians are known to talk with their hands a lot and, in the best way, they are some dramatic people! There was so much to take away from watching them.

I’m just going to include pictures because MAN. It was swell. I’m planning on getting back over there as soon as I can – enjoy!

Little alley in Rome not even a block from where we lived for a week.

Ancient part of Rome, home of the Colosseum and a TON of ruins. It was really cool.

The Trevi Fountain and me. So. Cool. Really busy there, but I got the chance to get up close and was quite content with that haha

This was the view from our classroom

Pienza – home of great cheese and great views in the middle of Tuscany

Met the most wonderful Italian company and they showed me around and introduced me to amazing food – of course

Best hot chocolate ever. Went in 1-2 times a week.

After a motorbike ride with friends up north

Classic Florence

One of many canals in Venice, had to grab a shot here

Non-stop ice cream. This was my third gelato that day. -Venezia

San Gimignano – home of world award-winning gelato. I can testify that it was the best I had in the entire country.

Commedia dell’arte performance at the end of our month abroad!

Commedia dell’arte performance at the end of our month abroad!

My theatre department is the only reason I was able to finally live out a part of my dream and travel to Europe. I am absolutely forever grateful to this place for teaching me and gosh…for financially having my back!

To the next adventure.

Worth It

My experience at Wayne State so far has honestly been such a dream. It was a dream I never really realized that I had had before. For me, it was always making a living off of art and acting. But going to college…that’s a weird dream in a way.

It’s the dream of getting out of high school and away from a hometown that you’ve outgrown to a big city that you get to grow into. It’s meeting new friends to explore with. Making new connections in your field and learning how to live on your own. It’s been a rewarding experience thus far. It’s a little crazy at times, but then to remember that “go with the flow” mindset, everything tends to fall in place.

It’s like when you go the actual speed limit on a road and other people might be flying past you or they’re waaaay behind you, cruising, but because you’re going the exact speed limit that’s set for you on that specific road, all the lights stay green and are timed perfectly just for you, going your speed and doing your thing. Maybe that’s overly simplistic, or maybe that speed thing only works on Gratiot, but y’know. Do your thing in life. Learn what you can, live honestly and breathe easy through hard times and traffic.

And there you go with a little cheesy summer wisdom! I’ll be off on a study abroad trip to Italy for the summer and taking in as much of the world as I can.

Hope anyone reading is enjoying the warmer weather we’re getting!

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.

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.