As the Marketing Manager for TRW, I have come to realize that many of the skills I utilize daily and value in others were shaped through my education in the arts. In high school I was the president of my Thespian troupe (shout out to Troupe #533!) before moving on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre with a Minor in Art History. The arts can be credited with teaching many of us skills that we use daily, but it’s also incredibly important to give due credit to those teachers of the arts; those who have made the choice to shape those young minds into productive and well-rounded adults.
The arts taught me…Discipline
Every art requires discipline, whether it be performing, visual or literary. Lots and lots of discipline. But isn’t that how life works too? I have learned that careers, relationships, and health are not necessarily lived best at a fast and furious pace, but rather a thoughtful, inquisitive, and disciplined one. My theatre advisor, Allison Hetzel, taught me that.
The arts taught me…Communication Skills
What I consider to be one of my most valuable lessons was learned in my collegiate Directing class: constructive criticism and the best way to give it. In a work environment, theatre or not, you are faced with many different personalities and people. Communicating your opinion on someone else’s work is one of the hardest things to do in the real world, but also one of the most essential. My directing professor, Ed Williams, taught me that.
The arts taught me…Team Work
Group projects are probably the worst way to teach a young mind about team work. Usually all the work gets dumped on the smartest or most creative student in the group. Theatre, however, taught me that everybody has an important role and no role is too small. Sure, it sucked being “Crowd Person #17” in my college production of AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. But, it was the job I was given and I was determined to be the most convincing crowd person on that stage. Henrik Ibsen taught me that.
The arts taught me…Deadlines
If there was ever an industry that was strict about deadlines, it is the theatre industry. Opening night is set in stone. There were many plays and musicals that I participated in in High School and my drama teacher was clear that this show was opening on the scheduled date, come hell or high water. Now that I am in the work force, deadlines are commonplace and a direct reflection of my work. Missing a deadline is not an option for me. My high school drama teacher, Pat Yates, taught me that.
It has taken me a couple years to see the biggest values of my arts education, but looking back I realize that pursuing a career in theatre was the best decision I made. If you are thinking about majoring in theatre, or any art for that matter, I hope you take the leap. It is important to remember that you may not end up as a performer, costumer, stage hand, or what not, but you will end up with skills that will put you ahead of the game, no matter the direction you take.