by Senior Taylor Fulgham
The Echo Entertainment Editor
My high school career ended in a swirl of glitter and confetti. As the graduation caps went up, balloons and streamers rained down on the fiftieth graduating class of Highland High School. Our high school experiences were finally over, and this was probably the last we would see of each other (until the inevitable class reunions, to which I will show up SICKENING, honey).
The end of high school brings about a world of new possibilities. While some go on to further their education at universities, others begin their careers then and there. I had the plan to continue studying theatre at college, much to my parents’ chagrin. This was my life’s passion and I was not about to let my one love in life become a fleeting hobby.
Applying to college was one of the most exhilarating (and stress-inducing) moments of my life. Essays upon essays lined my bedroom. My inbox was full of emails from scouts and student services from the various schools I’d applied to. I nearly went blind from staring at placement tests for hours on end.
My hopes were high for my college education. In a perfect life, I was going to study acting at an elite conservatory in the northeast, nail my first audition in the city and get an immediate offer to star on Broadway.
~ hair toss ~
But plans, of course, don’t typically pan out how one thinks they will. The universities I applied were very cordial in their denials of me. “Thank you for your application,” they told me. Really, they were more polite in denying me than most colleges were in accepting me. I cried. I ate a lot of chocolate. I moved on.
I did get one letter that stood out to me though. A very professional purple, gray and black slip of paper fell out when I opened it. My eyes scanned the document, drinking in every last word until I found the word I had been looking for months.
After doing some research, I’d decided that if I was going to be forced to continue my educational experience confined to Arkansas, I was going to the best school Arkansas had for my needs. I poked around through various sources (hey Wikipedia) and found that the University of Central Arkansas in Conway had arguably the best program for a generalized theatre degree in the state. So after a last-minute application, I attended the last possible campus tour date I could and discovered something I never thought possible — I enjoyed an Arkansas campus.
Flash forward to August and I’m moving into my too-small dorm room, a myriad of possibilities before me and my hopes high. Flash forward to October and I’m crying into a 2-liter Dr. Pepper and a box of pizza at 3 a.m.. Give and take, y’know?
My experience at UCA can’t really be defined to a single adjective. It’s been the most difficult, most rewarding and most challenging experience I’ve had in my life. Of course, looking back on the experiences I’ve endured, there’s all too many things I would have liked to change about it. But these experiences, whether they be good or bad, have shaped me as a person. As idealistic and sappy as that sounds, there’s substance to the sap.
The memories and friends I’ve made throughout my time at the university have been some of the best of my life too. From late-night coffee trips while cramming for finals to picking the pieces of broken hearts off the bathroom tiles, my support system I’ve built throughout my time here have been an infinite source of inspiration and encouragement.
Approaching my senior year has been a nerve-wracking experience, one I’ve thought about since I knew what college was. When I was younger I thought I’d have my life figured out by that time. I would become that mythical concept known as “The Adult” and life would be simple. This couldn’t be further from the truth — but that’s a fact I’ve come to accept. At no point in this life will everything be figured out entirely. Your days are a gamble. Play your hand wisely.
In case I’ve come across too serious or sentimental, here is a note to prove I’m still human: I still hate Katy Perry’s awful music. Thank you.