I am so full of love, so full of faith that my path is set under my feet, so understanding of the fact that failure is part of life, that laughter is essential and love is the ultimate value for sustaining ourselves. I cannot express the amount of adoration I have for every individual and every nuance of place and time I have experienced these past three months. They have changed me forever and I will be forever grateful for the mistakes we make together; the successes of Trying we have gone through so often with the intensity of everything we have.
I have learned so many things this semester in both my personal and academic life. In the last weeks of my time here I am finally getting acquainted and I feel as though real life activities are setting in like shopping for groceries, laundry, cooking, and managing public transportation. I have learned so many valuable life skills. Learning how I work and interact with other people was insanely eye opening. I learned so much about patience and cooperation and I learned the true meaning of compromise. In beginning the end of my time here it is becoming clear that these were the goals I subconsciously set out to reach. I wanted to learn more about who I am. I wanted to change for the better. I wanted to grow in both understanding and open-mindedness. I wanted to learn the ways of collaboration. I wanted to become more articulate about what I feel on the inside. And finally I wanted to understand others and those around me with an open mind and open heart. I think that the people I have met here and the classes I have taken have given me the opportunity to start down this path of understanding for all of my goals. One thing I learned academically is that learning doesn’t have to stop with the curriculum you are given. Sometimes a set curriculum does not encompass what you as a human need to learn to grow as a professional and as a human. I’m super interested in singing in a healthy way so I went to one of my professors and asked for some advice. From that conversation a world of books and resources was opened up to me. I read a book that met my interests and even sparked a new interest in how having a perfect inner map of your body in your mind can help you sing and breath from resonant spaces and promote vocal and body health. It is a very hard technique to master but in my frustration I find that I have ah-ha moments that are so worth all of the struggles. This is another thing I have learned. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to get a new topic right away. We put so much pressure on ourselves to get it right that we forget about how important the process is and even how important failure is to getting back up again.
Struggling has allowed me to come to my own conclusions. If you rely on professors for answers you are only producing carbon copies of one persons ideas. Instead I have been given room to learn and experiment to find my own answers. Through this, specifically with acting I have learned a lot about following my action to keep the scene going and changing the physical volume of my action in order to present the same score with different modes or intentions. I have also really learned to value time and space. I have learned that timing is everything and that slowing down is not bad. And I have learned that moving into the space and using it as my friend creates stories and stage pictures that help move the plot along.
I have learned so much already and I’m so excited to see how much more I can learn here in my last two weeks.
The lesson that I am most eager to bring home with me is that of ensemble work. Often, while working with a group, I have a tendency to either take over completely or step aside. In the past, I have found it easier to allow a single leader to coordinate “ensemble “work. True ensemble work, however, does not follow this structure.
In my time here, I have learned that, in order to be a part of an ensemble, I must learn when to follow, when to lead, when to speak, and when to listen. I must understand how to create work that effectively takes everyone’s ideas opinions into account. I have come to understand that, while any ONE of us could direct any given piece with little difficulty, our true triumph lies in collaboration. I hope that this is a lesson that can, in addition to informing my work here, be taken home with me and shared with my future ensemble members and collaborators.
When I look back on my time at the ADA, there are so many important memories that come up. It is so hard to pick one, between the classes, travel excursions, and bonding times. One overarching thing that I loved was meals in the mensa. It was a really great opportunity to come together three times a day and reflect on our classes or on whatever was happening in the group. Some of the most meaningful conversations I have had this semester took place in there over some delicious food. Having time to reflect and to discuss is a crucial part of spending a semester abroad, because you need a lot of time to process all of the new experiences that are happening. I also loved our mealtimes in the mensa because I got to spend time with the students in the music program, even if we had intense separate classes all day. Between the reflections, community aspects, and bonding that took place, we found that at a point in the semester, mensa mealtimes became a way to start creating art and insiring each other. Going home, I am really going to miss being able to spend three hours a day with at least 28 other fabulous, intelligent individuals who I have learned so much from over the past few months.