Photo Credit: Kimberly Sheamon
A friend once told me that I would know what college I should go to the second I stepped on the campus. She was right. The first time I visited the Mount, I felt at home. I remember thinking on the tour, “I could live in Sakac,” “I’ll get Jazzman’s before every morning class,” and “I love small class sizes!”
On my first day, I made friends with a senior who loaned me ten cents for tea. That senior told me when auditions were for the play and encouraged me to try out. I had gone to a high school that was big on theatre and couldn’t wait to get on stage again. I got a role in The Trojan Women and couldn’t have been more excited. I carried my script with me everywhere and made my suite mates run lines with me every day. I made more friends, who I’m lucky to still call friends now four years later. I made the second play, too, and was lucky enough to meet the playwright. This cast was even bigger, which meant more friends and more fun! I had an absolute blast freshman year and had to be dragged out of Sakac for summer break.
I decided not to do the play in the fall semester of my sophomore year because I took on a heavy course load. One piece of advice: watching Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t mean you will be good at chemistry. Fall semester of sophomore year was the worst time in my college experience. I still had my theatre friends from freshman year, but they were always at rehearsal or running lines with each other. I felt completely isolated. I never realized how accurate statistics were before, but it’s true that participating in the arts makes you a better student. That semester was my lowest in academics. (I bombed chemistry, but it wasn’t my professor’s fault; he was great.) I would cry to my mom on the phone that I just wanted to come home. By January, I had submitted my application and transcripts to a school closer to home. I was leaving the Mount.
Photo Credit: Erin-Therese Vecchi
Before I left, I wanted to do one more play. I got a role in The Imaginary Invalid that spring. My life went from tragic to dramatic — in a good way! Every weekend, I was back at tech to help build the sets and make costumes. Every night, I was at rehearsal. I felt like I finally found my home again on campus. After the show, Professor Phillips and his wife hosted a barbecue for the cast. Everyone sat around the table like one big family, talking, eating, laughing and picking on one another for hours. This would never happen if I went to a bigger school. Am I really going to find this family anywhere else? Obviously, you know the ending. I decided to stay and have been thankful every day since. I have to credit the Arts and Letters Division for helping me make my decision to stay. I’m pretty sure I have stopped to receive help from or just shoot the breeze with every professor in the division at some point in my four years. Arts and Letters encapsulates the word ‘family.’
Being a part of theatre at the Mount has been the best part of college for me. I never sit in the cafeteria alone and, because there are so many majors involved in theatre, I haven’t failed a class since chemistry because there is always someone to help. Sometimes, I feel bad for Professor Phillips, because us theatre kids don’t leave him alone. Nobody involved in theatre can pass by his office without having to stop and talk, ask for advice, or complain about their day. I’m pretty sure I have taken most of his classes with the rest of my theatre friends, so there really is no escaping us. But joking aside, Professor Phillips’ door remains open and everyone is always welcome.
I said ‘yes’ to the Mount twice — once when I was formally accepted, and again when I felt accepted. Not everyone wants to be on stage, but there are so many roles in theatre (pun intended). There are nursing majors, IT majors, math majors, Hispanic studies majors, and many more gracing the Aquinas stage every semester. When I look back at my four years at the Mount, I probably won’t remember every book I read or every ‘A’ that I got, but I will remember my theatre family, the day I learned to use a power drill at tech, the butterflies on opening night, and how happy I was at 7 pm every Monday through Thursday at rehearsal.
Erin-Therese Vecchi, class of 2013, is an English and communications major with a concentration in journalism and a minor in theatre from Levittown, NY. In addition to being active in theatre, Erin is also a co-managing editor for the Mount’s student newspaper, Mount Messenger.