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4 things I learned by interviewing my theatre professor


This week, I had the privilege to interview my theatre professor for a writing assignment for a journalism class. In class, this woman seemed to be so wise and fun-loving, and I thought: she would be the perfect way to get some insight on the theatre world.


She was super willing when I asked her to meet with me, and I met with her the very next day in her office. She greeted me with a smile, and we made small talk while she finished up a few emails. How was I enjoying the course (which, by the way, is directing)?


"Honestly, it's nothing like what I expected it to be. But I love it."


She smiled and said she enjoyed having me in class. She said my prompt script (our latest assignment for midterms) was beautifully done. "I can tell that you're a good student," she said, which, if you know me, is one of the best compliments I could be given.


I opened up the conversation to the weather as I set up my recorder, like I do with almost every interview, just to make sure my equipment is working (sometimes, I'll ask what they've had for breakfast).


"Have you been outside yet?" She hadn't. Her office also didn't have a window, so she couldn't see the clear, blue sky, either.


"It's gorgeous," I said, leaning back in my seat and flipping my notebook open. "I didn't have to wear my coat. But you're from Canada; I bet you're used to the cold."


She said that she preferred warmer weather, like me.


The weather was an easy transition to my first question: I had done a quick look-through of her website to see that besides Canada, she's been to a lot of places thanks to acting and directing. Which was her favorite?


By the end of the interview, I had learned a few things about myself I hadn't thought about in years. Not only had I interviewed her, but she made me interview myself (oh my goodness, the cheesiness in that statement).


With that being said, here's what I learned from talking with my theatre professor.

1. Travel when you're young

She's been all over the world: Italy, Paris, Quebec, Toledo (which she joked about slightly), and now good ol' Morgantown. She got to direct productions in Korea; she earned her masters in New York City. The point is, by traveling to all of these places, she gained so much wisdom beyond her years (she can speak three languages fluently!).


She immediately pulled up pictures of the oldest parts of Canada, telling me I had to visit them; that they reminded her of old European neighborhoods.


If anything, she told me to go and do something that I really want to do, but am terrified of doing at the same time. But as she showed me these places on her computer, as she took the time out of her day to do this for me, I felt as if I owed both of us one.


I will definitely be planning a trip to Canada soon.


2. Don't give up so easily on your dreams

It was extremely easy to open up to her, but when she asked me what my story was after I had turned my recorder off, I let myself ease up.


"I wanted to start acting when Drake and Josh aired," I laughed. "It was all I wanted to do. I took acting classes, I starred in the school musicals... I didn't want to go to college. I wanted to go straight to California and work until I got it."


My family thought it would be a better idea to go to college and have a plan B. Thankfully, my plan B was journalism.


She told me that it's awesome that I've found happiness in writing and journalism, but to not be afraid to travel back and forth between old and new dreams, because you never know what you can find. You never know what kind of connections you will make.


Don't stash away that dream just yet. Actually, don't ever.


3. Don't be so afraid to fall

I have a huge fear of failure. A lot of people do. A lot of young adults my age feel the need to have our lives together so early in the game, myself included. Take for example: I'm so frightened that I will not be in my dream job by the age 25.


That is so silly, and she reaffirmed that.


Take risks, and if you fall, get back up again. To steal a quote from an exercise we recently did in class: "Never give up. You cannot fail if you never give up."


So what if you're not in the place you thought you would be now?


"You're still so young," she said to me.


"I feel so old," I laughed.


4. Let your passions guide you

Have you ever heard the saying about how there are two types of people in the world: those who act on logic and those who act on emotions and the emotions of others? I'm definitely the latter.


My professor told me that my passions should guide me in life, and if they did, I would never question them.


To also quote the Great Bambino in the Sandlot, "Follow your heart, kid, and you can never go wrong."

And with that being said: If you're reading this, professor, thank you for the advice.


xoxo, Madison

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