Taken by Kelsey from the South Street Seaport - September 2014
In September of 2014, I began my first year of college at Pace University in the Financial District of Manhattan. I am majoring in musical theater in the Pace School of Performing Arts.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have been longing to move to the city since I started performing professionally eight years ago. College gave me the opportunity to finally put myself in the middle of it all and I jumped at the chance to learn and refine my craft in the entertainment center of the world: New York City. After the many months of painstaking research, visits with mom and auditions, I finally decided that Pace was where I wanted to be. However, I didn't come to that decision easily.
Initially, when it came time to really start making decisions about my future, I had no idea what I wanted to do in regards to my education. I knew that I wanted to be in the city and that I wanted to perform for the rest of my life. Performing is, and always has been, my passion but I was terrified to pursue it in college. I wanted to have that "back up plan" that society had convinced me was necessary for those entering the entertainment business. Then one day my father, seeing my struggling to make any sort of decision, took me for a drive and gave me invaluable advice and wisdom that I will be forever grateful for.
He told me that he was just like me his senior year. He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to be, but he was too afraid to pursue his heart's dreams right out of high school so he put them off for years and followed his head instead. Today, he is finally doing what he loves but he regrets not pursuing it when he was young and single and when it was easier to continue his education and there wasn't a family to support. My dad said to me, "I know it's scary and it seems impossible to make such big decisions at 17, but the choices you make in the next 4 months will forever affect the rest of your life and how it plays out. So chose wisely." He basically said, "You know the difference between what your heart wants to do and what your brain is telling you is safe. Follow your heart and take that risk while you can." After that, I knew what I was going to do. Though I was absolutely terrified, I knew that I was making the right decision for me and I couldn't be any happier with where I am today. Pace is where I am meant to be and New York City is my home.
The BFA Musical Theater program at Pace is a 4-year program designed to help each of its students find their own voice, as a person and as an actor. They seek to develop professional artists with a broad knowledge and range of efficient skill sets to accommodate the increasing demands of our ever-changing industry. Pace's musical theater program continues to blossom and evolve every year to provide today's actor with the skills needed to be successful as a professional on and off the stage.
I had no idea what I would learn in college or how much I would grow, but as I write this, three months and eleven days after my first day of college, I can say that I have learned more in the last semester than any other period of my life. More about myself and about my craft than I ever thought possible. I have discovered so much about who I am as an adult and who I am becoming. I have learned about what terrifies me and what motivates me. I've learned how certain situations make me respond and how to learn and grow from the situation and my response. I've learned how to be vulnerable and how to trust. I've learned that even at 18, everyone has been through a lot. I've learned that I am strong and independent. I've learned that I care immensely and I feel deeply. I've learned how to not be afraid of sharing my accomplishments and experiences. I've learned how to take out my emotions and learn from them. I've learned how to apply those emotions to my craft, I've learned how to feel on stage, I've learned how to connect, I've learned how to do a double pirouette and fouettés, how to read music, how to play basic piano, how to sing with less effort. I've learned how to save and budget money, how to find student discounts anywhere, how to be responsible for myself and my actions. I've learned how to enjoy and treasure alone time and that, sometimes, saying no and staying in for the night will be the best decision you ever made, and so much more.
I am so grateful to my mom and my dad for helping me so much and for guiding me as I was making such big decisions regarding my future. Because now, I am living my dreams in the city of my dreams at the school of my dreams and I have never been happier.
Taken by Kelsey on the Brooklyn Bridge - September 2014