In high school, I had a cozy little nook in my room for my desk. There was a small window where I could look out and daydream. That’s where I did my schoolwork every night, and I loved it. It was quiet and a place of my own. Flash forward to senior year in college and I couldn’t imagine doing my work in any other place than the library. Yes, occasionally I do some reading in my apartment or answer emails in my bed but the hours of hard work that I have put in here at Conn have happened in the Charles E. Shain Library. It’s my space, my college “nook.”
I remember sitting in my seventh-grade classroom and thinking about how much I loved grammar. When I think back and examine my life as a student, I’ve always known that my love for English was there. I was lucky enough to come to college already envisioning the next four years: books, words and a lot of discussions. I’ve always been enamored by the way writing is armed with the ability to change how one can feel. Words are subtly powerful and blatantly powerful all at once. The reason I have been feeling nostalgic about English is because class registration for next semester was last week, and I’ve recently come to the realization that, after this semester, I will be done with my English major. Though I have a lot more work to do before December 18 (the last day of finals), I feel this sudden urgency to remember and think back on all that I have learned about myself through my English classes here at Conn.
My Uncle Harvey Abramowitz inspires me. To me, he is more than his email signature URGHA (for those who maybe outside our small, close-knit femily*) that stands for Uncle-Rabbi-General-Harvey-Abramowitz. In over 75 years, my uncle has held many careers. But if you ask me he is the most proud of his time as a rabbi and the connections he’s made throughout his life. To some he is their rabbi and an aid during a time of loss. To others he is the man about his small town of Huntington, Long Island. If you ask me, he is my mentor who enjoys bowls and bowls of my Aunt Joanie’s signature “savory” cottage cheese while we write together. He would write sermons and I would write my blog posts! Except now, he has traded writing sermons for assisting me in figuring out my next chapter as he relaxes during his.
In my time at Conn, I have fallen in love with the theater department. I don’t consider myself an actress, but a scholar of American playwriting and musical theater. Before I went abroad last spring, I took a class called American Drama in the department and loved reading plays for homework. Sometimes, my class would act out the assigned plays and critically examine them from top to bottom. Professor Ken Prestininzi guided us through the classic American canon of plays written by playwrights such as Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, and Sophie Treadwell. My favorite play we read as a class was “Machinal” by Sophie Treadwell which critically examined the effects of a capitalist society on a character. Recently, I found myself in a similar situation to Treadwell’s own playwriting. I sat down at my computer and attempted to write a play that examined my own relationship with society and my family members.
As I write this post, I’m sitting in my room, listening to the Broadway recording of the musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” on YouTube. Just over 24 hours ago Connecticut College’s student theater community, Wig & Candle, closed their production of that play in Palmer 202, a black box theater and classroom space that is often used for student productions. The production was so popular that we had to add an additional late night performance. Although I have regularly attended Wig and Candle’s performances, this was my first time actually participating in one; I played clarinet in a reduced pit band of two.
No puedo hablar español fluido porque mi madre no me enseñó. (I can not speak Spanish fluently because my mother never taught me). My mom and her entire family are from Bogotá, Colombia, which means that half of my family speaks Spanish (some only speak Spanish). Meanwhile, I only speak English. All through middle school and high school, I tried to learn Spanish to be able to communicate with my family but I never became proficient. That's why I was excited to learn about The Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts, lovingly referred to as ‘CISLA’, at Conn. CISLA is one of the five academic centers on campus; it focuses on the globalization of citizenship through language fluency and study abroad opportunities.
I have been involved in theater for as long as I can remember. My first official production was in the second grade and I have been in countless shows since then. At Conn specifically, I was cast in the show “Twelfth Night” last year. I had my share of interesting experiences working on the production, including adjusting to four-hour rehearsals and a much more intensive process than I was used to.
Recently I had the opportunity to supertitle a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni for Stonington-based Salt Marsh Opera (SMO). This means I was in charge of projecting translations of the opera’s lyrics, which were sung in Italian, above the stage so the audience could understand what the singers were saying. Supertitling an opera is an extremely challenging task that I’m glad I had the opportunity to perform. It requires following along with the singers, conductor and score through almost the entire performance while projecting the correct title at each prescribed moment. It’s almost like playing percussion in an orchestra because of the precision required in being on cue and in sync with the rest of the performers. Needless to say, the intense concentration needed for the three-hour performances made it a very exhausting but fulfilling task.
This semester I’ve been regularly contributing reviews of shows on campus to The College Voice, the College’s student-run newspaper. I’ve been a regular contributor to The Voicethroughout my time at Conn ever since a friend from my hometown encouraged me to join during first-year Orientation, and I’ve written a wide variety of articles. I like writing reviews because it’s a way of giving back to the arts community at Conn by highlighting performances on campus. Reviewing is challenging as it’s one of the most opinionated forms of journalism; it’s up to the reviewer to decide whether to express a favorable or unfavorable view of a performance and justify why that’s the case.
Recently, I read through my planner and discovered (to my surprise) that I have taken on more responsibility both in the classroom and in my extra-curricular activities. On a given Wednesday, I wake up early and end my day close to midnight. The 24 hours in one day go quickly and it makes me wish for a day free of nothing to do. If you gave me 12 hours, I think this is how I would spend them.