Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WHY I go to TWU.

There are MANY MANY reasons I go to TWU and not another school like UBC or UVIC (my other two previous choices). I have listed a few of them below in no particular order, and there are more if you'd like to ask about certain things. I will take examples from the past 24 hours to draw from so you know that I am not stretching too far and that everything I say really is true.

Last night I attended Sunday Night Alive like usual and a thought struck me. We are so blessed to not just live in a country where we can worship our God openly, but also that we go to a school that encouragers students to do so. They pay people to make sure that every couple Sundays we have a night service that we can go to just to worship. On top of the five weekly chapels.

Today at dinner a few of my friends were talking about how much money they owe and who they owe it to. Everyone knows that TWU is an above average cost institution, but they do give away quite a significant amount of scholarships. But even though I know we are an expensive school, I would never give my experience here up for anything. I mean what school can I go to besides TWU that gives a high quality education (ranked A+ in quality of education more times in a row than any other university), and encourages the students to live godly lives?

Today I had a talk with one of my professors for over an hour. OVER an hour, and when I went into the office I had no agenda other than catch up with them. We talked about ways that I thought our class could be improved, she asked my opinion on a few things, and then we talked about musical theatre and how theatre artists (including myself) can be kind of snobby towards it. We also talked about UK citizenship, getting pregnant, proper ways to critique, and a few other things. I love that I can have random conversations with my professors and that they are open to hearing my opinions on their class.

Today I had a three hour class with only twelve other students. We got to work in small groups and have a group discussion on the subject material for the class. I have the privilege of being in my second year and being able to sit in my class and have a detailed conversation about the material we are interacting with and not just hear and do the work. We talked in detail and then when we were nearing the end we discussed what this meant to us as Christians, and not just people. What can we take out of it and apply to our own life, or what understanding did we gain that will help us later on.

Today I had my first ever Dress Rehearsal fo a show I am in. The Theatre program here at the School of the Arts, Media, + Culture is incredible and beyond description. Being in a show directed (and written) by Aaron Caleb has been an incredible experience I wouldn't trade for anything. I have learned countless things about how to work as an actor independent of a director and with a director. The best thing about working with Aaron is that his process is very collaborative, he expects you to work and bring options for everything rather than him just blocking it for you. He makes you think and engage not just what you as a character thinks is the right choice but what you as an actor want to bring to the scene. I am SO please to be a part of "The Bacchae" there is no other show on earth that I'd rather have my stage debut with than this one.

Friends. I have amazing friends. Yesterday and today I have had some great talks with people. I have some very caring friends who know me quite well. I like that I have opened myself up here, enough that I can't hide very easily from my friends. Today my friends actually pointed out to me that I wasn't being myself even when I thought I was. Turns out I was frustrated. And then later another friend of mine noticed I wasn't my happy smily self and checked in on me. I feel like the friendships I have from TWU are stronger emotionally than any other friendship I've had, and they are definitely stronger spiritually. And they buy me things like coffee when I really need it. Which is SOOO good.\\

While alone these things seem fake or too "fluffy," they really are true, and they are just the toppings. These are just things I have experienced in the past day or two. I will post later about the deeper reasons that I love TWU and continue to go here, but all of these previous listed things are very important to me.

Til next time,

Friday, March 18, 2011

What it is like being a Theatre Major

This is the "Inevitable Theatre Post".

**This is in no way a complaint, I chose and continue to choose to be a theatre major. And I appreciate the challenge it gives us.**

I held off on this post because I was trying to keep this blog applicable to most by posting about my life as a university student. Because I work for admissions, the point of this blog is to give an idea of what life is like as a university student and while no one is an "average" university student I feel like my experience as a theatre major is even further outside the norm. However, for anyone considering majoring in the arts I figured that this post could be extremely helpful to know what arts at a post-secondary level looks like.

Being a part of the School of the Arts, Media + Culture is a crazy experience. In both a good and bad way. There are sacrifices you have to make in university, and there are sacrifices you have to make for art, and there are large sacrifices you have to make for university art.

Everyone in the arts knows that a lot of time and dedication are needed to attain the results you want. Right now I am registered as a fulltime student and am acting in a show that opens next week. That means that in any time that I am not doing something, I should be. There always needs to be time for socializing and rest, for your physical health, and prayer and worship, for your spiritual health. But after those things are taken care of I need to be either working on school work, working, or rehearsing (since our first show is in 4 days!).

This week has been Tech Week, and tomorrow is Tech Day. As of yesterday we are officially done rehearsing but need to still be fixing things (such as dance and movement pieces). Tech Week means that all week our rehearsals have been dedicated to making sure the technical aspects of our show get the attention they need and deserve. So it means that we stand around waiting for a light to be focused or a level to be set.

For those of you who are not theatre students or who are prospective theatre students, the average rehearsal schedule for a show is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday nights from 6-10pm and Saturday from 9am-5pm. EVERY week until the show opens. Which overall means 20 hours a week. Some shows have an added four hour rehearsal on Fridays or Mondays which brings the total to 24 hours a week. That is an entire day out of your week. 1/7th of your week. Now comes the kicker, on top of that you are expected to rehearse between rehearsals to make sure you get everything down and to bring in new options. That on its own is not terrible, do not get me wrong, I LOVE rehearsal, I LOVE being in a show and it is entirely worth all the work that we have to do.

What makes our rehearsal schedule crazy is when you are taking a bunch of classes/jobs that don't particularly work around a theatre schedule. Last semester I was assistant stage managing a show that was rehearsing 24 hours a week (plus as a stage manager you must be there a half hour before and after each rehearsal), I was in two lab sciences, an acting class that requires hours of rehearsing outside of it, a Religious Studies class that was important to me, holding a part time job in admissions, was an SOS leader, was in weekly counselling, and was trying to be an active member in the TWU community.

Needless to say, I was burnt out pretty quickly. And that was only 13 semester hours (plus two labs). I passed all my courses and maintained the GPA I need for my scholarship. If you want to know what it is like being a member of the School of the Arts, Media + Culture, that is it right there.

What I haven't mentioned is the amazing program that we get to work in. I can safely say that the programs here are unique. First of all, TWU in general is an incredible school, and SAMC is no exception. The professors care way more than one would expect and they mean what they say, they are there to create whole artists. I have cried in all of my theatre professor's offices for very personal reasons. They have helped me realize the parts of me that I have hidden and that need(ed) work. They are continually pushing me to be a better person, a better role model, a better Christian, and a better theatre artist.

In class I have seen nearly every person in my year cry. We are always on a journey being pushed further and further. If you are looking at pursuing a post-secondary degree in theatre I would STRONGLY encourage you to check out TWU's SAMC Theatre program. The same goes for every program in SAMC (art, music, and communications), and in the rest of the university.

Till next time,

P.S. Check out SAMC Theatre's production of "The Bacchae" the show that I am in that opens next week!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Stages of Life

All my life I have felt like I am alone, there has always been this feeling of knowing that no one else really knows what is best for me - so I had to try my hardest to get what I needed done. I felt like the people in my life were not really permanently there for me, so I started to keep this thinking for everyone. Everyone in my life for the past ten years has been given a "Disposable" label from me. I knew not to get too close because they might not stay.

Now I'm in university where everyone is in this state, where you know that the friends you make probably won't be around in a couple years - even your really good ones. Now for the first time ever I have started not handing out the "Disposable" stickers because I'm in a place where I don't feel I have to, and at the same time people are leaving.

Which made me think, everyone around me for once has the exact same problem. They might not know it, or be aware of it, or maybe even really care, but they have it. Everyone at university is at a "life shift" where everything in their life is changing. The people you meet, the jobs you take, everything is temporary.

I've been at university long enough now that everyone outside of it that was in my life has moved on to bigger and better things. And like I mentioned, the people in my life now aren't permanent (for the most part).

So last night as I lay in bed at a time I should've been asleep, I thought about what that means for me and my life (short and long term).

Short term:
This summer most of the people I know and love will either graduate and move away, drop out and leave, or go home for the summer. Which means that I get the pleasure of staying here in Langley (where is still to be determined) with very few people around. There are a couple of people whose presence is more important to me than most, most of whom are going away.
My girlfriend is talking of going home for the summer to see her family, which I completely support. One of my best friends, if not my best, will be staying for a little while to do a show in Vancouver and then go home. My friend who is more like a sister is talking about going all kinds of places from Kansas City to Australia. And a bunch of other people in my life will be moving away, mostly going home. While I'm happy that they have a place to go, I still can't help but feel unsettled about the coming summer.

Long term:
Most of the people in my life are not permanent and I might not ever see them again after graduation, but I will have friends all over the globe.  Without having true "roots" anywhere, I am free to go wherever I feel called.

Right now it feels (and looks) like the short term negatives outweigh the long term, very vague positives. This might be just another whiny post from a college student wishing life could be easier. But here I am wishing life could be easier and complaining about it in a blog post.

Till next time,