Saturday, June 11, 2011

This thing called life

It's been so long since I've written and I have no excuse but life getting in the way.

I graduated college on May 7, 2011. My Oma, Mother, Father, and Brother made it up to celebrate. I spent my last week of college finishing up my final exams, performing my last directing scene (which went fabulous), performing my last college 'comedy' show (which went surprisingly better than expected, but not much that I'll remember too fondly), and packing up all of my un-needed things into haphazard boxes. I juggled my time between family and friends on the last few days and nights. I attended a Trustee Banquet, where I met some amazing alum of my school who inspired me to give back one day. I only hope I'm as successful and happy as they all seemed to be. I had my last senior party, and a graduation rehearsal entirely too early in the morning to be of much use.

Then there was the big day. Graduation. My friends and I carried our dresses and caps and gowns over to the rehearsal room to change before final bows. Everyone in my class decorated their caps to say WWRD, which stands for What Would Rob Do? as a tribute to our Professor who has taught us so much. Professor D gave the acronym to us as advice on our last day of class. Then we all went outside to take pictures for about a half an hour.

When we came back in, it was time for the faculty toasts. The entire performing arts faculty lined up and toasted our graduating class in the rehearsal room, saying inspiring things and quoting the greats. There were quotes from Uta Hagen and Shakespeare, and a lot of great advice. They said we've come so far, and to just believe in ourselves, basically. Honestly, I was such an emotional mess I don't remember any of the advice given by anyone, but I was touched by the thought that went into the toasts. After toasts we had final bows which included every one of the performing arts students walking onto stage with our families in the audience and taking one final bow.

The theatre award winners were requested to go last by Professor B, and I ended up going last of all. I walked across the stage and stopped in the center. I took a moment to stare at my entire class, who I've come so far with, standing on the other side of the stage. I turned to face our 'audience' and then I completely broke down. I took my final bow in tears and my classmates joined me for one final group bow on the stage. I have never felt as fulfilled as I did in that moment. I felt as if I completed a long, hard journey and prevailed.

After that, it was a race to graduation. We ran to find our spots in the processional line. I was in the staff/faculty processional. Which means we led the students into the gym for graduation after walking around the campus like a parade for the parents. I ended up standing close to one of the trustee members that had dinner with me the night before, and I was able to talk to her more. She was great. When I made it inside, I sat on the stage beside the class president and we waited our turn to speak.

I hadn't looked over my speech much since I wrote it. I'm the kind of writer that scraps an entire piece and writes it again if I get too used to it. I decided to play it safe and keep it fresh, so by the time it was my turn to get to the podium and speak, I realized that I didn't know the words I was going to say as well as my theatrical training required of me. However, I wrote my speech specifically for the amazing men and women that were sitting in front of me, and all I had to do was tell them how I really felt. I had so much fun speaking to my class, and being allowed to share my thoughts with them. They brought me so far, and I owe so much to them and the amazing theatre faculty. I cried during the speech, but it was a good cry, and for the second time in the same day I felt really great about what I'd accomplished and where I was going.

My family was asked to stand and be recognized which was really cool, and my class and I sang 3 songs mostly in tears for the ceremony. Afterwards there was such a rush to find family and faculty to take pictures with that I never had the opportunity to say goodbye to everyone. Oddly enough, I didn't feel too bad about it because I have a feeling we'll all be seeing each other again soon in our lives.

I had two graduation meals that day: one at Jimmy Johns as a send off, and the other at Outback Steakhouse, because who doesn't love Outback?

The rest is mostly a blur. I drove home with my brother. My Oma stuck around for a couple of days and then she was off.
I had my wisdom teeth removed and spent some quality time with my friends whom I love dearly. Then it was my turn to head back up to my Alma Mater. It was strange and different to be back on campus, but I had to pick some things up for my summer job in Okoboji, and my friends and I caravanned the rest of the way to Iowa.

Preseason was a great time. We spent three weeks getting the theatre ready to open, organizing tickets, looking through this history of the place and categorizing a lot of things.

I realize that it's the middle of the season now, and I have nothing to show for what I've been doing except a fourth of July tan from playing volleyball and too many mosquito bites to count. I've met some new friends, and spoken with some talented artists.

Honestly my favorite part about this place is being with a family. It's all about being a company here and everybody is constantly striving for the same thing. No one person is singled out, and it just makes me feel like a part of something really great.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about Seattle, and working at home, and finding work in my future, and what kind of work I actually want to do. I've also been spending a lot of my time enjoying what I have in front of me. It's definitely a strange balance to strike. The students here have been working towards going back to college, and it's odd to know that the staff here won't be going back with them. Most of the staff has just graduated.

What I've learned this summer is to let things happen, and to work hard to be happy in the moment. I should probably have more to say after all the time that has lapsed since my last post, but it's so hard to think about life outside when I'm in this little world. I'm just taking it one day at a time and loving every moment.