In high school I was no stranger to busy schedules. I was the super teen, involved in every extracurricular from varsity sports and service organizations to mock trial to acting and improv. And I, like everyone else I hope, didn't think that there weren't gonna be some changes when I took these extracurriculars to college. Of course college is a completely different level of competition and intensity. I abandoned my (varsity) athletic pursuits because I recognized this fact. But I was still determined to maintain the level of busyness and interest in activities outside of my school work.
One of the activities that I had been interested in, but had never had much time to participate in during high school was theatre. My senior year production of "Cyrano de Bergerac" was the first and last production for which I was a member of the cast during my high school acting career. My first few weeks at school when I was looking for something to do so that I'd feel like I was actually in college, I saw signs put up around campus declaring that the theatre department was holding auditions for "A Flea in Her Ear". After much deliberation I decided that I wanted to get used to college before I threw my life into a show. A few weeks later I regretted that decision as I was grasping for anything that would make me feel like I made the right choice by attending Mercer.
Finally, a string of lonely and upset nights and a dorm change later, I felt more grounded as a student at the university and per the suggestion of my current roommate (major shouts to her), made the short walk over to the music building to audition in front of the director of the musical they were putting on for a spot in the ensemble. I didn't know anything about the musical "Oklahoma!" But I at least knew one of it's cast members. The next week I was immersed in the script, score, and rehearsals.
At the close of our last show and several months of long rehearsals, here's what I've learned: college is hard. Everything is much more intense than it used to be, and I used to think that our long practices in preparation for mock trial competitions was rough. In high school we never stayed later than 10 or 10:30 practicing, but in the couple of weeks leading up to our first show of Oklahoma! most of our practices were running until midnight. The first two weeks into the second semester I was already behind in most of my classes, and my sleep schedule had already fallen to pieces. And yet, I didn't regret or resent any of it.
I made a good number of new friends that I probably wouldn't have if I had opted out of being in the cast. It provided me with an opportunity for something to do when I got bored. Even if we didn't have rehearsal that day, I could always look over the music and practice. More than that, I realized that my time management skills were not what I thought they were during first semester. And most importantly, if you're interested in joining a club, cast or anything else on or off campus, even if you're worried that it may take up too much of your time, go for it. You can always revise your schedule, or decide that it is in fact too time consuming after you've tried it out. What you can't do, is gain those experiences if you don't join.
Lead Image Credit: Noemi Griffin