So, I Graduated College

I can’t believe this day finally happened. I have been in school for the last sixteen years, SIXTEEN, and that is so crazy to think about. College really changed who I am. I met so many incredible and important people in the last four years who have helped to shape me into the person I am today. I guess what I want to do is share some wisdom that I have taken in over the last four years to those who have yet to graduate.

It’s okay if college isn’t for you

I have met so many people who only completed one semester or one year and realized that school isn’t for them, and that’s okay! There is no shame in not wanting to go to college because it is something that just isn’t for everyone. College is not the only key to success and it’s iimportant to let life guide you to where you need to be in order to feel fulfilled. I have found that during my time in college, but that doesn’t mean that all people will.

Take time for yourself

I realized about a month into my freshman year of college that I really value taking time to be alone. That’s hard to have in college because you have roommates and there’s so many people everywhere. I felt like the only time I had to be alone was in my car and that sucked. If you realize that you are someone who needs to get away from people every now and then, find how you can make that happen and take advantage. Is it going for a long walk or bike ride? Is it getting away in your car and finding somewhere new to explore? Is it finding a quiet corner of the library and diving into a book you’ve been desperately wanting to read? Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to take advantage.

Take your grades seriously

College is a time to have fun, but you want to know what isn’t fun? Realizing that it’s the end of the semester and there is barely any hope for you to pass classes. That results in so much stress and a lot of money wasted. Luckily i never ran into this issue, but I know some people who did and they were miserable when it came time to get their act together and try to save their grades.  College is a time to have fun, meet new people, and try new things, but those happy times shouldn’t keep you from what you actually came to college to do- get an education and a degree!!!

Take chances

College is a time to discover who you are. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Life is too short to play it safe. Taking chances in life can result in so many great opportunities but you are the only one who can get you there. Put yourself out there and see what life has to offer you. Nobody becomes successful by siting in their room all day and expecting an opportunity to fall on their lap. It is up to you to get your name and your abilities out there and show people the incredible and talented person you are and why you are the best person for the job.

Take changes on your personal life. Ask the cute person out who you’ve been crushing on for months. Go to the open mic night and let your voice shine. Publish something to the school paper and let your words inspire others. Start that youtube channel and share your story! The possibilities are endless. They only end if you let them.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance on yourself.

Don’t let anyone pressure you into anything you don’t want to do

When you’re in college, you’re meeting so many new people and making so many new memories. Never let anyone pressure into doing something that makes you uncomfortable. Whether that’s drinking, drugs, or doing something plain stupid, don’t do anything unless you want to. Nobody should judge you for not doing something you feel genuinely uneasy about. This is different from taking chances. Don’t take a chance on something that you are genuinely worried about. Take a chance on opportunities you genuinely want. And if anyone makes you feel bad for not partaking in anything you don’t want to do, then they aren’t worth having in your life.

Have fun!!!

I cannot stress this enough! College is a time to discover who you are! You are young and your future is bright. Meet new people, go to games, go to parties. Find people who you click with and take life by the horns and run with it. This is your time. This is your time to find your passion in life. If you don’t then that’s okay. At least you are discovering important things about yourself. Cherish the memories you make in college because before you know it, those four years fly by and you’re walking passed your loved ones in a cap and gown ready to recieve a piece of paper you have been working your ass off to get for the last sixteen years.

This is your time. Don’t waste it.

Sincerely,

A sentimental graduate

 

Looming Anxious Thoughts – My Senior Project

There are often times where I feel a small pang of anxiety looming over me because of thoughts of what I can’t control. For me, this is mainly the thought of everything that I have yet to do or the future that awaits me beyond college. One of the biggest things on my mind is this big senior project I have going on. It’s called Act 3 (technically it’s Integrating Experience) and for this class, the senior theatre majors must form a company put on an entire children’s show. This includes picking the show, electing people to positions, designing the show’s lights, sound, costumes, sets, and props, casting the show, and putting everything on its feet. I am the production manager for our show, which is called The Princess King. It is a charming tale about defying expectations and stereotypes regarding gender and status.

I have a big job, making sure that everythings stays organized, and it’s the first time I’ve had an opportunity to do this. To make matters worse, the faculty usually expects students to learn from their predecessors so I’ll have to rely on people who don’t even go to school any more to help me with odd questions… Or I’ll have to figure them out for my own. I am interested in production management as another career path but this role is of not the typical production manager so it is unfortunately not teaching me much in terms of what I should expect should I hope to take on more responsibilities in this type of role in a professional setting.  It scares me knowing that I’m not confident in how I should do my job and I worry I’ll let people down. All I want in the world is to help put on a show that we will all be proud of and be a leader that my class can rely on and trust throughout the entire process. I want to be confident and I think to get me there, I must make a list of everything I can expect so that I don’t get overwhelmed when things come up. Making lists is a good way for me to get my anxiety together and I hope that will help with this.

I have an incredible support system within my senior class and outside and I know that I will have help. I just need to trust myself.

Feeling Lost

It’s easy to feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, like you’re lost in your own life. There have been times when I look at myself in the mirror and don’t even recognize myself and it’s times like this when I feel so small and scared. It’s times like now where my future is pretty vague and I have no idea where I’m going. This is a major factor that fuels my anxiety. It’s times when I feel like this where I feel the most doubt and fear in life and I don’t really know where to turn next. I wish that I didn’t have these feelings but this is a part of life- to question the next step. If we didn’t feel lost from time to time, we wouldn’t find our next path. Sometimes we need to dig deep in our hearts and minds to discover what we are meant to do next. I often forget to do this and assume that I’m headed toward a dark place. I often struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel because I’m scared of what will be on the other side. But that’s the beauty of life. We are never privy to the knowledge of what is yet to come. It is something that we must discover with each passing moment of each day. It is okay to question your next step, but you must trust that you will find your way. It’s like the verse in Amazing Grace, “I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.” Don’t let yourself be blind to your future. Embrace it with confidence. This is an easy sentiment to write into a blog post and isn’t as easy to follow through with in life. I need to trust that I will find a way into a bright future despite feeling lost at the moment.

If anyone has any suggestions for bringing yourself out of dark thoughts, I’d love to hear about them.

Things Stage Management Has Taught Me

Being a stage manager is a really cool job. It allows me to be heavily involved in productions without having to be onstage. There’s a bit of a stigma for theatre majors because people say that we need something to fall back on since it isn’t the most stable field. But there are so many important that this job has taught me that I know I am extremely prepared for my future.

Communication

As a stage manager, I am expected to be in constant communication with my actors, assistants, designers, technicians, the director, front of house, management, administration, and run crew. It is important that I am in good communication with all of these fields because it keeps a production organized and it ensures safety. This is something that is important in any field, and stage management has really given me a crash course in this.

Organization

One of the main duties of a stage manager is to keep the entire production organized from rehearsals throughout the performances. Stage managers keep extensive amounts of paperwork detailing prop lists, prop tracking, scene shifts, entrances and exits, blocking, scene breakdowns, and so much more depending on the needs of the production. If a stage manager is disorganized, the entire production falls apart. If I’m not two steps ahead of the director during rehearsal, then we aren’t running according to schedule. Organization is key to this job, as it is for many other fields.

Patience

Patience really is a virtue that is so important to uphold for anyone, and especially for me in my role as a stage manager. Actors aren’t always the easiest people to work with. They have a lot of memorizing and research to do when getting into character and working in rehearsal and for some, this puts them on edge. I have had my fair share of unpleasant encounters with people at work but I have learned that being patient and rising above any bad encounters, it makes you a stronger person and better person to work with.

The art of multitasking

Multitasking is something that I have become a pro at, especially during college. I have learned how to tackle multiple tasks at once to save time and my sanity. This is really great because it allows me to become more organized and check more things off my to-do list at once.

It’s okay to ask for help

This is something that I struggled with for a long time. I always wanted to be wonder woman but that isn’t always possible. This last year especially has taught me that I don’t need to be a super hero all the time. I have people around me who love me and care about me and would help me if I ask. If you ask for help when you need it, it shows that you’re comfortable bringing more hands onto your project to make sure that it gets done right.

Honesty and integrity

Honesty and integrity are important for any person with any job or life. as a stage manager, I am a leader. And as a leader, it is my responsibility to set a good example for myself and the people around me and practive being the best person I can be. Not only has practicing this been beneficial to my career, it has been beneficial to my personal life as well.

Healthy Habits For 2019

Now that we are in 2019, I want to start working in healthier habits into my daily life for my physical and mental health, and finances. Now that I have decided that these three staples are what I need to work on, I want to start going through realistic goals/activities that I can slowly implement into my lifestyle. If i say that I must do a complete 180 on my current lifestyle, I would never keep up with it. I’m not a perfect person and I will definitely slip up from time to time. But by thinking of small things that take a fraction of a second to consider doing, I am one step closer to becoming a healthier and more content person.

Some of the things listed below, I already do, but it’s good to remind myself of the healthy habits I need to continue doing especially while I have resources at college that I won’t have once I graduate.

Physical Health

  • Park farther away from buildings at school, stores, etc. so I walk a little extra every day
  • Go for a walk when I get too stressed (this will help with the mental category as well!)
  • Think twice before I snack when I get bored
  • Try to pick a healthy alternative to unhealthy food
  • Cook for myself more often
  • Go to the gym at school and walk/cycle while reading for class (we love multitasking here at the blog)
  • Stretch in the AM and PM

Mental Health

  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Keep a gratitude log (bullet journal)
  • Monitor how negative I am toward others
  • When overwhelmed, write out a schedule of what you need to get done and how long you think it will take you to accomplish it
  • Try on a bunch of outfits and appreciate how good I look in them
  • Gush over how cute your pets are

Finances

  • Evaluate if I really need to buy something
  • Put in extra hours for workstudy
  • Go out to eat less
  • Keep a spending log (bullet journal)

My Pledges For The New Year

Going into 2019, the year I graduate from college and start to navigate the scariness of adulthood, I promise to myself that I will believe in myself. No more doubt and putting myself down. Just because someone else wants something or is good at something doesn’t mean that I can’t want something or do something. I have been digging a hole for myself in the past and now as a young, passionate woman with a bright future, I need to be the force that propels me out of my abyss into the bright, shining future ahead of me.

I also want this new year to become a year of becoming a healthier person physically, mentally, and financially. Physically, I want to become more active and start losing weight. It’s not that I don’t love my body, but I hope to become a kidney donor for my dad and the doctors at the transplant center say that I need to look into losing weight to become the best match possible. This is something I really want to do because if I can help my dad become healthier, I want to do everything in my power to make this happen. Mentally, I want to accept the fact that I have anxiety and have panic attacks from time to time and that as I discover coping mechanisms, to never fear implementing them when necessary. Financially, I want to practice the art of spending less and saving more. I have a bad habit of spending much more than I’m making and then putting myself in anxious situations where I panic about my lack of money. By practicing financial self-control, I will be able to have a better piece of mind for my future.

A lot of people say, “New Year, new me” and I want to make this a reality for my future. 2019 is a huge year for me and it’s up to me to grab life by the horns and take control.

Anxiety

Anxiety is something that I have been struggling a lot with lately. I used to be super calm when I was younger but as soon as I started the second semester of my sophomore year of college, the feelings and intense emotions began to hit me hard and I began to struggle to recognize who I was. I would constantly repress my feelings out of fear of people thinking I was overreacting to things and I wanted everything to seem like it was okay But deep down, my mind and my thoughts began to eat me alive and I was struggling to cope. I would often lay awake at night rocking back and forth and struggling to breathe and I had no idea why this was happening. I was always crying and sweating and I felt like I was falling apart. Most of the time, there was no obvious trigger to bring these attacks on and that was the scariest part. I never wanted people to think that I wasn’t okay. A huge part of this was because my family constantly told me they never worried about me because I always had it together and I felt I had to live up to those expectations and thus began my spiral into self-pity and fear that slowly took over my life.

Things got worse as I entered my sophomore year. School got harder and I worked with a Director on a show who really tested me and he really added to the psychological damage I was already putting on myself. I felt like I was constantly failing and I took it really hard. I was sad and angry all the time and this director made me believe it was because I was incompetent when in reality, he was the one manipulating me in a very unhealthy way. Despite my friends telling me that I was doing a good job, I found that impossible to believe. Because of this experience, I started taking things more personally and it started to negatively affect my relationships with friends, family, and co-workers and I was ashamed of myself. My mind was attacking itself and I had no idea what to do and because I still felt that I shouldn’t tell anyone, I continued to keep my feelings bottled up.

This then caused problems with my relationship. My boyfriend and I were at a point in our relationship where we always knew if something was wrong with the other and when he would ask me what was wrong, I would lie and say everything was fine. He then got upset because he felt that I was refusing to open up to him and that I wasn’t being honest with him. And he was right. I was so scared of admitting that I wasn’t perfect and bubbly that I wasn’t opening up to the person who has always been my biggest supporter in my mental health journey. Two years later, I have made strides and have been able to speak to him freely about the demons that haunt my psyche. I still struggle to completely open up to him because, let’s face it, I’m a senior in college who is an anxious mess. My junior year was a pretty steady wave of being okay and being an anxious mess but I assumed I would have to live with it. I wanted to take meds for my anxiety but I was too scared to ask for them. I was worried that they would change who I was.

This summer, I went to my doctor and I started to take anti-anxiety meds. I am currently taking a 75mg dose of Zoloft and it has really changed my life. I went from not sleeping because I was scared of waking up to having a more normal routine. I feel happier and I can’t remember the last time I had crippling anxiety. It’s been a little over 6 months and I’m so happy with how this has changed me. I still have anxiety from time to time but that’s because I’m human.

If you struggle with anxiety, find the best way for you to have an outlet. I have found that talking to my boyfriend, journaling, taking long walks, cooking, and knitting have been FANTASTIC ways for me to calm my mind and come back to my preferred reality. These aren’t the solutions for everyone but these are the ones that bring me the most peace of mind. Mental health is not something to be taken lightly. Love yourself and respect your feelings. Find a way to help yourself in a healthy way.

My College Exerience

I want to take some time to talk about my alma mater, and the place that has helped make me the person I am today, DeSales University. I am about to go into the second semester of my senior year and will graduate in May with my bachelors in Theatre Design/Technology with a focus in stage management.

I chose this program because it has a very inclusive curriculum and challenges the students akin to a graduate theatre program at another college/university. It was only one of a few schools of the many I researched that offered a great program for a theatre technician in addition to the a great acting program. For the DT (design/tech) major at DSU, we are given great opportunities to fulfill major positions in our small company, working alongside our professors and faculty putting on quality theatre and really getting the most out of our education. As a stage manager at school, I work on one show a semester as a stage manager and I work on costuming for the other show each semester. I have found a great passion in costuming, which is something I never believed would happen. This program has pushed me to be smarter and think faster and trust that I can do great things. I have a lot to thank this school for. I have made lasting friends, I met the love of my life, and I have made connections that will help me as I grow beyond school. Being a DT has been very challenging but it is the challenges that we all face which make us ready and eager for the “real world”.

Another positive aspect about my school is that the person who started the theatre program also started the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, which is closely affiliated with the theatre program. Working for the festival has helped me learn to be professional in a setting I am already comfortable in and I am so grateful to have this advantage for my career.

Never in my life did I think that I would be working in such a fun and exciting field with so many people who make everything worth it. That being said, things aren’t always wonderful and magical. I have had a lot of ups and downs in college. I’ve struggled with anxiety, pressure to succeed, weight gain, and the reality that a life exists beyond going to school. Lately, it’s been hard for me to accept that I will not be in school this time next year, since I’ve been going to school year after year for 18 years. The thought of graduating and the pressure I put on myself has added to a lot of the anxiety I have had at school. I am coping with it and some days are better than others, but remembering that I’m doing what I love helps me to overcome my fears. College has also taught me a lot about collaboragion with others, as theatre is a major collaborative art. Sometimes I struggle to get along with some of the students and professors at my school. You’re never going to get along with everyone you work with  and that can be hard but it’s something you’ll have to deal with no matter what job you have. It’s a good lesson to learn, especially in a learning environment.

College isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something you’re serious about, make sure you put lots of thought into what you want from your program. That’s what I did and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Stage Management

This was a defining moment in my stage management career. I’ve always felt that stage managers are the “batmen” of theatre. We wear all black, have gadgets at our disposal, and the audience never sees us unless something goes wrong. It can be a thankless job but I get to do so many cool and important things that the audience never sees. At this point in the play, characters were playing croquet and were hitting croquet balls offstage and I had to be there to catch them. My knees may have been a bit bruised from being smacked by heavy croquet balls but it was so worth it. I have never felt more content with a job than I do with stage management.

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DeSales University – Me and My Girl 2016

I have always loved Theatre and never knew that it would be such an exciting and crazy career to pursue. Stage managent has become my life and I couldn’t be happier!

 

If you don’t take a headset selfie, are you really a stage manager? Continue reading “Stage Management”

Costuming

A 1760s inspired gown built primarily by myself with a few others helping along the way.

Designer: Amy Best

First Hand: Caroline Sylvia

Actress: Mackenzie Moyer

If you had me sit down at a sewing machine 4 years ago, I would’ve had no idea where to start. Halfway through my junior year of college, I was tasked with creating this gown. It took a lot of patience and slow, stead work but I came through and I will always be proud of this piece.

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The Devil’s Disciple DeSales University 2018

 

Happy Halloween 2016!

My friends and I were talking for a while about how we wanted to cosplay as these characters and one day we threw caution into the wind and created these three costumes from scratch! My outfit includes a red cloak, bodice, orange flowing top, a plaid skirt and an apron over the skirt.

Winnie, I smell children!
Halloween 2016
MJ Bird as Winnifred Sanderson, myself as Mary Sanderson, and Alex DuBeck as Sarah Sanderson