To Me, the Girl in Marseille- Here's What You Should Know


Right now you are walking in hot weather in a black dress that will inevitably lead to slight sunburns on your shoulders. You’re walking past many boats on the still water and smelling the slight scent of soap around every corner. You’re avoiding speaking French (much to Mom’s dismay), and you’re sitting on the terrace at night soaking it all in. While here, you will come to the realization that you are ready for college. You will remember that you are prepared and while you may be anxious, you are able. With that said, I think there are some things you should know.

Nothing will go as planned. And I mean literally nothing. You will come in as English major and absolutely hate it. But you’ll meet a good friend who is also in your acting class. Speaking of acting class, it will be the only good thing about Fall Quarter. Your job will be hard. You will struggle to feel safe most of the time. You’ll go back to therapy for a bit. You’ll almost fail a class. But, like I said, acting class will be your saving grace. Through this class, you will meet all of your new friends. And the girl who does the monologue during week two that scares you? She’ll be your roommate Winter and Spring Quarters. Yeah, everything changes. You’ll try Social Work for a bit, and while it will teach you many things, you’ll eventually leave that behind too (due to you not wanting to be a social worker. Surprise surprise).

The good new is, through that experience, you will learn about Drama Therapy, and that will change your life goals. Your desire to help people through theatre will finally have a name, and your reason for going to school will finally have a tangible purpose. You will change your major to Global Communications so you can go to the people who have been pushed away and let them tell their stories. You will decide to go back to your 12 year old self’s dreams and combine your interest in psychology and neuroscience with your 17 years old self’s dreams of working in theatre, and choose the path of becoming a Trauma Informed Drama Therapist and Theatre Educator. I take it back, one thing will remain the same- your minor in Drama, and with that your love for theatre. The people will become your family in ways you didn’t think possible. Let yourself open up and let them in.

In terms of travel, nothing will go to plan there, either. You won’t go to England or Montreal for spring break, but instead you will go to Seattle where you’ll see your favorite poets perform. You’ll do what you’d once said you’d never do, and go home for a couple days of spring break. It will be good. Your summer is looking to be completely different than you once thought, too, but that’s a conversation for another post. You aren’t going to England next year like you assumed would happen for the last fifteen years. Instead, you’re looking at being in Spain for the Fall of 2020. But, who knows, maybe that won’t happen as planned either.

You won’t find love right away, and that’s okay. I know, I know. You completely assumed that by going to a school dubbed Western Wedding University, you’d have your fair share of romantic endeavors this year. You were definitely wrong, and I’d suggest avoiding the month of November all together (and don’t attempt to repeat it in January. I’m serious, Claira. Don’t do it). On that same note, showmances are dumb. You know this already. Please remember it. While you may have moments of loneliness when you look at your friend group and find that half of your friends are there because they are dating people you were friends with first, you will still be okay. This feels like a good time to mention the next thing you should know…

…Everything happens when it is supposed to. I’ve shared this quote before, and by now you know it well, but here it is again:

“If it is right, it happens- the main thing is not to hurry.
Nothing good gets away.”
~ John Steinbeck

Steinbeck wasn’t kidding, and neither am I. When something is supposed to happen, it will. You were supposed to be Girl #2 in Les Mis, but, as it happens, you were also supposed to be Meg in A Wrinkle in Time. Don’t hurry yourself, because- seriously- nothing good gets away. If the thing you thought was good disappears, it wasn’t good for you. It wasn’t for you in the first place. Be thankful for the changes, and allow everything to happen as it does, because…

… Everything is going to be okay. You won’t fail your math class. You’ll find good friends. You’ll be part of every production the Drama Department has (whether on purpose or by accident. *cough* Charlie Brown *cough*). In about a month, you will make a list of all your biggest fears in moving away and starting school. Some of those things will happen. But, I promise you, it will either all work out for good or turn out not to be bad at all.

A couple random pieces of advice- always, always, always keep enough money in your bank account to buy coffee creamer before tech weeks. It may seem silly, but as non addicted to coffee as you may be, you don’t want to be buying Dutch Bros. every day in order to get through the long, late hours of extra rehearsals. Befriend the girl in your acting class who sits next to you in the employment office one afternoon. She’ll play your mom in about seven months, and she’ll be one of the best people you meet this year. Maybe hold off on publishing that letter to the Adventist church. At least wait until after midterms are over. Keep going for evening walks, they’ll save your brain from overthinking. With that, meditate more. Write everything down. This year has been one for the books, and it’s not even over yet. Keeping thinking you can do this, because you can.



Me, in Marseille (July, 2018)

Me, in Marseille (July, 2018)