Before I started University, I was quiet, not very confident and quite indecisive about which area of performing arts I wanted to pursue. However, during my time as a student I went through a process of personal development. University was the start of a new chapter. It was somewhere that I could go to really explore my passion for all things performing arts and meet likeminded people along the way.
It didn’t take long until I started making friends at University. My course, Drama and Performance, hosted an induction session where all the new students got together in the drama studio to take part in icebreakers and drama related activities. This session was helpful to get to know each other and by the end of the day people were already forming their own little friendship groups with the people they’d worked with. If your course organises an event like this I would highly recommend attending as it’s lovely to start your lectures already knowing a good range of people from your course.
Moving into halls helped me make lots of friends too. You find that If you have any free time you tend to spend it working or socialising with your new flatmates. TV shows and music were a huge conversation point for my flat as we were all from very different backgrounds, so we found common ground in the things we enjoyed watching or listening to. Friendships developed, and we all got to know each other well, sharing stories about our hometown/culture and having lots of laughs.
Confidence was a huge thing for me before I went away to University. I’d recently gotten over some issues with my mental health and was starting to rebuild my confidence. University really aided me in this process because it put me in situations where I had to talk and work with other people, something I probably would never have done without moving away from home and getting myself out there to meet new people.
Pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone with the performances I was creating allowed me to get experimental with my work and really define what branch of performance I wanted to develop my practice in. I came from college only knowing about Musical Theatre, Shakespeare & Acting and I had seen only one physical theatre performance. There were forms of theatre that I never knew existed until I came to University. It soon became clear that Contemporary Performance and Feminist Theory were two of my strong points when it came to practical and written work. I had a bit of a lightbulb moment as everything clicked into place when I started studying the Contemporary Performance Practice module. I’d finally found an art form that matched my interdisciplinary style where my creative visualisations could finally become a reality.
Overall, University was a transformative experience for me, not just as an artist but on a personal level too. Moving away from my small hometown, Middlesbrough, allowed me to meet new people and get out of my little bubble where I felt comfortable and settled. There was always something that was telling me that I needed to move away to have a different experience from the place where I’d grown up for the last 18 years. I decide to take the plunge and go for it. Yes, I still go back to Middlesbrough to visit family but if I hadn’t decided to challenge myself, I would never have realised what was out there and I wouldn’t be the artist I am today.