When thinking about coming to Catawba, prospective students often decide to come for theatre or athletics. However, the students that don’t participate in theatre do not realize how significant the program is to Catawba’s campus. They may not even be aware that the department exists, just because it’s on the other side of campus. Yet, when prospective students search for college theatre programs, Catawba is one of the top schools that pop up on their search bar.
As a senior in high school, not knowing what I wanted to study, my first thought was “Oh, I’m good at theatre. Let’s do that.” I didn’t enjoy any of the STEM subjects, but I did enjoy entertaining an audience and making people laugh. When searching for schools, my college counselor mentioned Catawba College and my family and I had mixed reactions. I saw how Catawba took theatre seriously and put it on the same plain as any other major, like business or environmental science. To someone who is passionate about the topic, having theatre be equal to every other major was unheard of and made my decision to attend Catawba a lot easier.
Late in my senior year of high school, I made my final decision to attend Catawba. I wanted to major in the Theatre Arts program and branch out to see what other things I could do. Well, within a week of being here, I changed my major to Communications to focus on Broadcast Journalism. When changing my major, I had a lot to think about. I still wanted to be a part of the theatre program, I just wanted to learn other things as well. My family wanted to see me participate in productions and learn the ropes of how a show is created. They knew how much I cherished the subject and they didn’t just want me to throw it at all away.
Professors like Dr. Beth Homan and Dr. Bradley Stephenson made my decision much smoother. Even though I am now a minor in Theatre Arts, I still participate in theatre just as much as any theatre major would. I learned how important it is to appreciate the entertainment industry and how difficult it could be to be a part of it. I’ve grown as an actress and I’ve learned to do things that I never thought I would be interested in. For instance, painting an entire set for a show. The theatre students put in lots of hard work to make the theatre department what it is today. Every student should go out and support Catawba’s productions just as if they would a sporting event or student function.
I’ve heard several people say that they look up to students in the theatre department because they would never be able to get up on a stage and perform. Some can be very shy or just not have the interest to partake in plays and musicals. However, theatre students feel the same way about athletes. I know that I would never be able to run back and forth on a soccer field and kick a ball around. That’s just not my strength –– but it is for others. Just because you’re not strong in something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go and support it.
It’s important to branch out and teach yourself something that you never thought you could enjoy. Take an introduction to theatre class even if you’re a lacrosse or softball player. Don’t just focus on one thing, but teach yourself many. That way, not only do you have something to fall back on in the future, but you understand the other struggles of students. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to us to learn from each other and teach one another what’s truly important.