I promised myself I would never do college theater. After high school, I decided to call it quits.
I wanted to draw a line between high school and college, and this seemed like the perfect delineation. I thought I’d be in over my head in college, unable to keep up with the dramatic art majors. I thought it’d be safer to stick to extracurriculars that fell safely under the umbrella of my majors.
This time last summer, I was still making this promise. I spent my freshman year doing what I deemed to be acceptable journalism and English major activities. I started working for The Daily Tar Heel, and I went to see all of my high school friends’ plays.
I tried to ignore how much fun they were having and how much enthusiasm they were showing for something they were so passionate about. I’d never do student theater, I promised again, now positive it was all out of my league.
I wanted to convince myself I didn’t care. This was difficult because I care a lot. I care a lot about a lot of things: the environment, ethics in the media, well-rounded lists. But I really, really care about student theater.
Student theater teaches so much beyond acting. It teaches confidence, something necessary whether you’re onstage delivering a monologue or presenting a report in class. It teaches collaboration and how to work within a group, exemplifying how showcasing your own talents and celebrating the talents of those around you are not mutually exclusive endeavors. It teaches you how to use creativity, ingenuity and power tools.
Most importantly, student theater teaches you how to care.
My biggest trepidation had been that dramatic art majors would keep me from theater, but I was the one keeping myself from what I cared about.
Whether you’re coming into a new academic year or getting ready to start college, it’s time to ask yourself what you’ve been keeping yourself from. There’s no reason to barricade yourself from doing something you care about because you’re afraid you won’t be good enough or that you aren’t qualified enough. UNC is small enough that it’s easy to find that sense of community — and also big enough that if it goes that bad, it’s not hard to avoid everyone involved until you’ve moved on to your next endeavor.