Old Passions Lead to New Directions
The greatest gift that 2022 gave to me was the discovery of my passion. The pandemic brought with it numerous challenges to my mental health, often leaving me wondering what I was doing with my life and what in my life sparked enough joy for me to pursue in college and beyond. Along with this, the pressures of choosing universities and majors loomed over my head for months, feeling as though time was running out for me to choose what I wanted to pursue.
In January 2022, during my junior year, my high school drama company was getting ready to perform its long-awaited production of Little Women. However, as the date had been pushed back numerous times due to illness among the cast, members of the production began to drop out one by one. About halfway through the month, an old friend of mine who was in the production reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to understudy for one of the major roles in the play last minute. I had previously done theater when I was young and always loved it, but never planned to continue on with it in my high school years due to my social anxiety. But with time running short to find a replacement, I agreed to be in the show (with a script in my hand the entire time, of course). My two weeks of rehearsals prior to the show brought with them fast friends and a quick rekindling of my love for being on stage.
After my first show, I was once again entirely hooked. Being on a stage again felt like coming home to myself in a way I hadn’t felt was possible for me in a long time. Our next show was an entry into a drama competition, where I received an award for Outstanding Performance in our piece. The validation of being recognized for my hard work, in something I had primarily done for personal enjoyment sparked a newfound work ethic in me. By the final show of our season, the support of my peers and director had solidified the urging of the slowly loudening voice in my head telling me that this was what I needed to do for the rest of my life.
Now, in my senior year of high school and closing out 2022, I can easily say that rejoining theater was one of the best decisions of my life. While it may have taken a pandemic and a wildly overdue high school play, the friends, memories, and self-confidence I have gained will never leave me. I’m currently playing a leading role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and have applied to 10 colleges for Theater Performance. I’ve often feared that I would spend the later years of my life dreaming of what-ifs in an office building and never feeling fulfilled. But now, I can confidently say that I have found the aspect of life that sets my soul on fire, and I will never look back in regret so long as I adhere to the path that I have paved for myself.