October 14, 2012

I Love My Job

Thank goodness midterms are over! This experience has proved that my schedule is flawed because my midterms were back to back. Besides my throbbing hand after the first exam, my mind was warped.

My music and history literature exam was all essays. Even though he gave us a template of what the exam was going to look like, once I saw the real thing I could not believe how my professor could cram five questions into one. Me being prepared, I brought in six sharpened pencils, a Red Bull, my Kashi bar and a full bottle of water. The class laughed when they saw how seriously prepared I was, but I couldn’t take any chances.

Maybe I went a tad overboard. In my defense, I haven’t taken a written exam in a year, which feels like ages ago. Basically, I wanted to cover all of my bases. Plus, I thought it would be rude to bring my electric sharpener to the exam. Therefore, technically, I was doing the class a favor by not breaking their concentration. After all the studying, the 12 pages of typed notes about the Baroque Era and the note cards, I felt like my brain had all the information.

Now I just had to focus and relay it properly.  Once he gave us the blue books I looked at the first long question and blanked! I proceeded to ask the professor if we could attempt these questions in any order and he said of course. Relieved I jumped to number five and wrote my heart out. By the end of the exam I almost filled up two blue books. There was only one topic that I hadn’t studied well about and that was Opera in France. Unfortunately, there was a question on it and I know I got it wrong. With so much material you just never know what specifics the exam will have. Next time I hope I will be ready.

Brandi Porter '13 wearing a white dressWith only an hour break I motored on to my room to relax, eat and study for my next exam.  Next up was economics. I felt like it was very long. The amazing thing was that the professor gave us chocolate but not just any chocolate — Reese’s, Snickers and York peppermint patties! He told us that sugar before a test helps students do better. Interestingly enough, I didn’t start eating mine until halfway into the exam. When I told that to the professor, he gave me a strange look, then proceeded to smile, chuckle and walked out of the classroom. Luckily, I drank a Red Bull, so I had my sugar fix.

During this exam I kept second guessing myself. There were so many graphs and concepts. Still, I ended up doing well. The frustrating thing was that I had petty mistakes that cost me a lot of points unfortunately. It’s okay, though, it is one test and I learned my lesson. On the next exam I’ll eat all the candy in the beginning and triple check my work!

Thankfully, the Thursday madness was over and I felt so relieved. All I had left to do was pack, clean, go to work and attend rehearsal.

Surprisingly, the best part of my day was going to the Easton Area Middle School for my program that I coordinate, which is called Modes of Expression. In my program I introduce and help students build on their creativity be it acting, singing dancing, cooking, drawing, writing — the sky is the limit!  I was a little nervous at first because there have been so many hurdles with my program. Also, I wasn’t sure how the students were going to enjoy the activities or relate to us as volunteers.

Fortunately, my worrying proved to be a waste. When we got down to the school we started with a name game where we all go around the circle say our names while giving a gesture. Then everyone has to repeat the individual’s name at the same time and mimic their gesture.  It was quite comical and a lot of the students immediately came out of their shells while others warmed up to it. Eventually, we were all laughing and they just wanted to do it over and over again.

Afterwards we let the good times keep on rolling, and started a new  improvisational activity called Freeze. In this game you have two or three people improvise a scene and someone watching in the audience yells freeze and taps one of the people out. In addition, they assume the person’s position and begin a new scene based on that position. Not all of the students understood the principle of a new scene but they definitely made this improv game their own! The great thing about the game was that it made them think out of the box and work together to do so. So many of the students had different ideas and the improv game became a story line within itself.

Going down to the middle school has become one of if not the best part of my week! Working with these talented and energetic students is unbelievable. It’s two hours out of my week where I have pure fun and just laugh. A part of me could see myself doing this professionally. Hmm, I wonder if there is a job in after-school arts planning? Either way, I wish I could do this every day. My volunteers and the students all agree that an hour is not enough time to do everything that we want to do. Next semester I might see if there is any way we could either extend the times or add more days.

Presently, the excitement and anticipation of going down is amazing! We are preparing to make a sitcom with stories that the students are writing this week. After receiving 3 amazing stories from the students, I figured, what better way to express themselves than to write and star in their own stories? Also their teacher and I agreed that the stories should be about something they face as 5th and 6th graders and how they overcome it. Either way, I have a good feeling that this activity will not only teach them about the exciting world of film, but will also show them their different strengths as students and individuals.

Thankfully, I have my friend Joel who has been studying film for years in the states and in London and has made a few. I mean, I took TV production too, but I think a specialist will better serve us. Plus, the students will be able to see the different avenues and majors they could possibly embark on in the future.

On another note, Noises Off rehearsals are progressing beautifully. The show is extremely funny, so book your tickets because apparently they are selling. The show runs from Oct 31st to Nov 3rd at 8:00pm every night. Tickets are just $6 for general admission and $2 for students. We have two weeks until we open and tomorrow we are supposed to be off book for act one!

I don’t know how all this is going to happen because we just blocked act three. It’s chaotic because everything has changed from the play within the play. All of the business it different, the stage directions, and the lines are all over the place. In act three my character Belinda/Flavia is trying to keep the show together. There are one moments where characters have to forget to set a prop, or bring on the wrong prop or can’t open doors, fall down stairs, miss cues and that’s only the beginning.

Rehearsals are getting more and more chaotic as the changes continue. At this point I feel as though we will be in the black box rehearsing until 2am. As funny as this will be when we nail it, as of right now, I know it is going to slightly stress me out.  This show proves to be a true challenge and I love a challenge, so bring it on!

Until next time :D

posted in Brandi Porter

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