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Freshman Year: A Review

Before going any further, I’d like to give you some background information about the gal who will be telling you all about her first year at Suffolk University (hi, hello). To run by the basics, my “back home” is in Saint Petersburg, Florida (I still have goosebumps from this year’s snow storms…), I major in Theatre and work in the Performing Arts Office. I lived in the Honors LLC in the Miller Residence Hall. I’m a morning person. I love radio shows, mysteries, exploring the great outdoors, Halloween music, making short films, scientists, musicals, and Twin Peaks. Get an okay picture?

First semester filled me with homesickness and heartbreak. During the fall unusual and painful events fell on my family back in Florida. You don’t understand what real worry feels like until you are 1,360 miles away. My high school sweetheart and I broke up. I spent the one-year anniversary of my eldest sister’s suicide alone. In a foreign city, the language my body spoke wasn’t the same as the skyscrapers’ language. I was eighteen, yet I felt five years old. Small. Lost.

What made the year bearable is that it didn’t take long until I made best friends. Best friends who will push our beds together to have a night full of Adventure Time. Best friends who have the Dead Man’s Bones album on record. Best friends who go camping and rowing and river rafting. Who will dye your hair and wince with you when it burns. Who will always listen to your anxieties of the day. Who will drag your bright yellow suitcases across Boston Common at 2AM because you didn’t pack on time. Who love baby bats just as much as you. Who have matching nose piercings. Best friends who are having just as hard a time, yet still manage to find time to love through the growing pains.

I got my first job at Suffolk as an office assistant in the Performing Arts Office. That itty-bitty room on the fourth floor is home to goofy, creative and above all dedicated people. I have found true friends in Kathy Maloney, Kristin Baker and Antoine Gagnon as well as the other “minions”. They became a support system that I didn’t expect but am so grateful I found.

I soon began working on the Theatre Department’s Fall main stage production The Saint Plays, directed by Wes Savick and written by Erik Ehn. Without making a religious reference, this show was spiritual to say the least. Our cast was lucky enough to speak with the writer and perform the world premiere of some of the plays. During this time I learned an aerial silks routine for the show. I sloshed water in silence with seventeen other women on stage. I walked up a human staircase. I understood what a “Wes Show” meant.

Through this show, I fell in love with the culture of Suffolk’s Theatre Department. They shaped me to be kind, respectful, open and innovative. They also made me very, very…weird. Through them, I have learned ways to better my own self. With them I became a more present student and person. I began questioning, observing and absorbing the world around me. I began working on creative projects more. I began getting invitations for friendships from the wonderful humans who major in Theatre.

Every faculty and student member in the Theatre Department is inspirational on unimaginable levels. I have found my own community inside the walls of the studio theatre. I created mentorships with professors Marilyn Plotkins, Richard Chambers, and, of course, Wes Savick. The Theatre Department saved me from what could’ve been a much darker Fall.

First semester gave me a drive to stay in school and dedicate my life to what I love and what makes me the happiest. I spent an unusual amount of time at the MFA and wandering around Charles Street. I ate slice after slice at Regina’s Pizzeria. I wrote constantly and I began to find my voice. I began painting and filming like I used to. I learned the value of a good burger date with friends. I found a home in an aerial yoga studio. I reached out to the strong women in my life. I enjoyed seeing Autumn for the first time in a long while. I mended a broken heart and picked myself up.

Finishing the semester felt like exhaling after drowning. The strength I found in creating new friends, learning new streets, experiencing something other than eternal summer, pursuing the art that I love like nothing else, is something I will be forever thankful for. This fall was a challenge of endurance.

Spring Awakening, directed by Dawn Simmons, began the first day of second semester. Let me tell you, this musical was a bad boy to tackle.  Just to name a few, the rehearsal process brought the challenges of tears, the music, how obnoxiously long it took Kevin Fabrizio (Melchoir) and I to learn how to have staged sex together and recite lines at the same time, two leads without voices three days before the show opens, and the tragedy of over a hundred inches of snow.  I have never felt as close to a cast as this one. Maybe it was fighting against all odds, basement rehearsals and pizza nights that got us real friendly real fast. But on a completely serious level, these talented, kind men and women are a second family to me. They’re my people. The girl I am today wouldn’t be the same without this production. I found such unity and love through this experience.

Over Spring Break I explored Chicago with Seriously Bent for the National Improv Tournament. Although we didn’t place in the competition, the invitation and the time spent together were absolutely priceless.

Second semester held a lot of promise. My classes were all theatre related, and none on Monday OR Friday. I was building stronger bonds with those I loved. I decided to take care of my body and fill my head with more of the love and care I was giving myself first semester. I decided to work harder beyond the classroom. I wrote and debuted a reading of my first play, The Good Men, in the Studio. I signed up to be a costume assistant for The Servant of Two Masters. I took trapeze lessons. I participated in some beautiful directing finals, and just immersed myself into the world that excites me. This semester did not only bring growth of academic knowledge but knowledge of the self as well.

I found confidence. I found a real love for the hardworking girl I was growing up to be. I developed a love for my big curly hair, bony fingers and wide eyes. I learned to love my tendency to repeat stories and how I can almost say for certain that I am the messiest eater to attend Suffolk University. I started to become okay with being away from home for nine, cold months of the year. I’m nineteen and I moved far, far away from home and I study what I love. How many people can say that? There isn’t a whole lot that can faze me after the year that I’ve had. I understand it’s all towards something incredible.

I’ve been blooming this spring. I’m on my way to discovering what I value in life. Performance, alternative perspectives, being on time, mental health days, writing, walks away from the city, daily phone calls with my Papa Bear, folk music, the ocean, studio time, kindness without an agenda, getting my hands dirty, absorbing films and culture, cold coffee, patchwork, daydreaming about the future, laughing so hard breathing isn’t possible, hugs in offices, friends who always seem to have tissues on hand, consideration, and never stopping.

I am committed to putting out the positive energy I want to receive. To always continuing to love and putting myself out there. To always be ready for the wonderful world that I might’ve been going too fast to see. To never stop learning, to give everything my all. This year I made a true devotion to being as interesting, intelligent and kind as I can be.

Freshman year has been the hardest and most incredible adventure I have had so far. Every moment held a lesson to carry onward with me. To say I wish it wasn’t coming to an end would mean I would miss what is to come. I cannot wait to see what these next three years hold.

Cheers, Class of 2018! We completed Year 1!

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