Monday, August 19, 2013


I expected this to be short, but it actually turned into a really long post... so read on for my musings on my illness, whiteness, and the Internet!

Are there any factors that you think are going to affect your participation or experience in this class? Access to a computer? Mobile/smart phone? Transportation? Friends/family? Schedule?

Definitely my chronic illness and my medicine are going to affect my participation... I mean, look at today, I'm sorry to say I couldn't make it to class. The issue that I have is that if I don't take my medicine, I'm a twitching mess; if I do take my medicine, I have a 50/50 chance of being a zombie any given day. It's difficult for me to explain this to others because I'm fine at school (or rather, I force myself to be "fine") but as soon as I get home, I crash. Sometimes I eat dinner, feel horrible, go to bed, wake up two hours later because I have a stomachache from sleeping after dinner, and somehow blunder my way through some homework assignments ( today! ugh.....), but then I'm inefficient, go to bed late, and feel like garbage the next morning, perpetuating the cycle. This has been my main obstacle for the last two years, and I was hoping it wouldn't be a problem this year, but I'm dismayed to see that it already is.

Think of an awesome best ever learning experience that changed you. What did you learn? Where were you? What happened? Who else was there? Did it teach you anything about how you learn (or pay attention... or remember, or think?) How did you know what was happening?

Two years ago, at PCPA's Young People's Project (somewhere between a theater-centric "summer camp" and a serious workshop for young actors), I learned a lot about acting and a lot about life, too. The one life lesson that I remember most of all is kind of a funny story. A couple days into the week, we had a few hours dedicated to learning modern dance from a guest presenter. I'm definitely no expert on modern/street dance, but what we were learning was pretty much like in those movies where the attractive young people have dance-offs (literally-- we all had partners and the first move was to circle around each other while staring at each other menacingly [read: trying not to laugh]). The dancer who came in to teach us was 20-something, Asian, cool, just exuded swag, suddenly every person in the room seemed infinitely cooler than me, and I couldn't think about anything except "dude, I'm a nerd from North Dakota, I'm way too white, there's no way I can do this." I was doing the dance steps, but I wasn't performing them; I was too preoccupied staring at everyone else and self-talking myself into oblivion. And then suddenly, I realized: "Wait. I'm an actress. That's why I'm here! This whole thing is about attitude; all I have to do is pretend I'm cool and I will be." Just like that, everything became so much easier. I stopped worrying about everyone else and focused on projecting my own confidence. So much of how others perceive us is how we carry ourselves, and if you're confident, people will notice and pay attention. That day I learned three things: 1) the biggest limit we must overcome is ourselves, 2) however you want people to see you, THAT'S what you have to project, and 3) never half-ass anything. So far, it's served me well.

What are you most [excited/concerned] about in this class? What do you look forward to in learning? How do you think it can/will make a practical difference in your life?

I'm most excited about using technology and the Internet for this class. Technology is the future, and I know that even with how reliant we are on technology now, as time goes on we will be even more so. The entire Internet is RIGHT HERE in front of my face (and in front of your face too, if you're reading this) and it costs the same whether you're playing Farmville or learning (...and earning college credit, anyone?), so we might as well learn to use it to its full potential.

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