With only a few weeks left of the semester this weeks bloggers Nate Rosario, Dalton Hedrick, Sabrina Sonner, Alyssa Crook, and Maggie Renfroe talk about their experiences and some of what they’ve learned about themselves here!
Nate Rosario, Muhlenberg College
When I was traveling for fall break I was all by myself. It was incredibly stressful on one hand
because I’ve always traveled with someone before, and on the other hand I was really excited to
be away from everything for a couple days. I also felt like I needed to travel by myself for once
because I wanted to be more adult and prove to myself that I can take care of myself. Being
alone on my trip I felt like I really grew and learned things about myself. One thing I learned
is that traveling by yourself is a lot more relaxing because I got to do all the things I wanted to
do instead of just following along. I also had a lot of down time to literally just stay in my hostel
for most of the day and relax. The only thing that I missed was being around everyone
from the school, but I wouldn’t trade the experience I had for anything.
Dalton Hedrick, Coastal Carolina University
Behind the mask.
“Do you think yourself a particular mask which does not coincide with, privately, you thinkyou are and feel?” Harry Kondoleon, Andrea Rescued
I feel, as I imagine many artists do, a type of catch 22 at the forefront of the training I am receiving. We, as artists, are asked to excavate truths and traumas of the human experience in hopes of providing a catalyst for even a speck of empathy. For me, this has changed everything about my soul and being—an added awareness seems to be present. This awareness has served as sort of forum and language for me to process my own traumas and pains. “This process is necessary,” I had a mentor tell me once, “If you cannot accept and understand yourself fully, how on earth could you do it for your character?”
We see the mask. Sometimes a mask is protection, from what is underneath—a shield from outside judgement. Other times, its a misplaced magnifying glass, exaggerating one aspect of a person for effect. In either instance however, the danger lies in that we often don’t recognize or intend this mask to be. Instead, our insecurities and traumas slowly accumulate through our lives into the mold of our mask, and, for me, it wasn’t until I placed on someone else mask that I realized how comfortable I had become in mine. This awareness was one of many steps along my journey as an artist, and it was simultaneously a freeing and terrifying experience. This duality that art contains extends into every aspect of its existence. In essence, it seems art is the material combination of content with form, yet its other true essence is, by its very nature, ineffable. It is somehow simultaneously eternal and ephemeral, personal and communal, catharsis and corruption. I believe art is a bonding agent, somewhere between glue and a precarious bridge. It shatters us, forcing us to look at more defined pieces of ourselves, and then offers the means in which to put them back together. It shows us the mask, and gives us a bridge between ourselves and it. We need not abandon it, but the distance that the bridge provides for us is perspective—awareness— and that is the beginnings of empathy.
I hope that one day the art I make can do for others what is has done for me, but until then I am thankful that I get to be here, excavating pieces of my own mask.
Sabrina Sonner, University of Southern California
In terms of personal growth, I feel like being abroad has made me look differently at the world
around me, and find opportunities in every place I go to every weekend. When I’m back in
California, it’s so easy to just spend all day inside watching TV, but being abroad I’ve this desire
to see everything in the world around me. Not that I haven’t spent my fair share of time on
Netflix (Italian Netflix has so many good shows), but I’ve also been making sure I go to at least
one new place every week. Last weekend, I went to the basilicas of San Francesco and Santa
Chiara in Assisi. Before that, I went to a cat café in Prato. And fall break was a whirlwind of
planned and unplanned adventures through London, Paris, and Amsterdam. It definitely can be
scary to just walk up to the train station and buy a ticket to a place I know little to nothing
about. My first couple trips even if I was on the train for an hour I would have my eyes glued to
the stops outside. And sometimes it feels like there’s pressure to travel, or a tendency to stress
about missing out on some big important place, or worry over the details. But more and more
I’ve been able to relax on my journeys. And the worries are becoming less and less important in
comparison with the amazing experiences I’m having. Every time I’ve messed up I’ve learned
that it will be okay. I went to the wrong airport and had to take a taxi to the right one. Which
sucked. But I made it on my flight. I missed my stop on the train, got off, bought a ticket going
back the right way, and made it to my stop with maybe a half hour delay. So it’s this nice mix of
feeling more proactive in making plans, but also more relaxed to letting those plans play
themselves out without stressing over the minutiae.
Alyssa Crook, Muhlenberg College
We’ve been creating so much art here at the Accademia, that sometimes I forget that it’s
art. For example, in voice we created haikus for an exercise, but the haiku itself is poetry,
it is art, so I thought I’d share mine:
Lonely darkness, sad despair.
Maggie Renfroe, Coastal Carolina University
As this semester draws to an end, I have been thinking about what I will miss most about ADA. I
considered gelato, the meals in the mensa, my classes, and that insane view from the roof of
the teatrino. Eventually, I found it. What I will miss the most about the ADA is the people I have
met while studying here. I came to the ADA with about 10 people from my school that I already
knew well, so I wasn’t super concerned with having to make friends. However, once I met all
the other students, something changed. As I got to know the students from the other schools, I
discovered many people I truly connected with. Coming from different schools became a
nonissue as I traveled with and hung out with people from all over. I joined a Dungeons and
Dragons campaign, something I had never played before, started by a student from another
school. I went to Rome with a group of students, none of whom are from my home university. I
created bonds, artistic and otherwise, with people I will soon have to leave. As the end grows
near, I find myself trying to get as much time with these people as I can. The more I am around
these people, the more I discover about myself. Living and working with fellow artists seemed
daunting in the beginning, but now, I only want to extend our time. While I would like nothing
more than to stay in the ADA bubble forever, I know all of us must go back to our “normal” lives
in the near future. I hope that the love I have for the people I have met will be felt even from
everyone’s home universities. I am truly grateful to have had the chance to have this
experience with this group of people. I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way.