Final Reflection

 

At the beginning of the semester, I was genuinely struggling. The workload, combined with my struggle with mental health, indeed took a toll on my schooling. As time went on, I started to do better for myself and my grades. Over this semester, I’ve learned how to balance my heavy work schedule and make time for myself.

            As the semester started, I was in Geneseo’s production of Into the Woods, where I was cast as Cinderella, one of the leading roles in the show. I was required to come to school significantly earlier than most, so it all started to pile up when classes started. I had no idea how to balance all my work. And honestly, I just needed to be thrown into the mess to know how to navigate it. As Into the Woods ended, my mental health started to decline rapidly. I could not get any of my work done, and I could barely attend classes. I finally decided to get help for myself, and the results of that are truly unique. I can now focus on what I’m doing, get more of my work done, and be more prepared for classes. A significant thing I’ve learned is that self-care is essential. Going to bed early makes a significant difference in my day. I’ve become interested in my classes, and I enjoy reading about the subjects. Since I can manage my time better, I can now revisit the old hobbies that I let subside due to time. I’ve gotten back into sketching as well as reading, and to have my old hobbies come back makes me feel like I’m myself again.

In this course, I’ve learned a lot. I never truly knew anything about PTSD or veteran life. Once I started doing the work for this course, I started feeling glad I signed up for it. PTSD is a thing all people should be educated on because it affects people’s daily lives. I wouldn’t say I liked the play when we read Nine Circles by Bill Cain. I have a habit of judging prematurely, so when I actually saw the play live, it completely changed my opinion. At first (when reading it), the play seemed cold and too heavy. Once I saw it live, the leading actor truly made the show unique. He didn’t make the character too likable, but he was still human. Indeed, this performance was stellar and made me rethink what I thought was true. I’m glad I could see it because it educated me on PTSD and military life in general. 

This semester has taught me a lot. It taught me to balance my time and homework in my classes. I’ve started to learn how to write essays, and by the end of the semester, I hope to have a fully-rounded education on how to write essays, manage my time, and take care of myself. I’ve also learned how to get help through the campus mental health services. I’ve had a great experience with the campus service, which has helped me a lot in my everyday life. I look forward to applying what I’ve learned in class in the future. 

Second reflection

Compared to my first year, many things have changed for me. The workload is a lot different than I expected. I’ve always considered myself busy, but sophomore year takes the cake. Last year my latest class ended before 4:30 pm, and now my classes end at 10:30 pm. My time management was challenging this semester. I found it very difficult to have a full day of classes, rehearsals and still have the energy to do homework as well as take care of myself. I want to show the same amount of effort in my general education classes as in my major-based classes, but it is much more complicated than I thought it would be. When I was younger, I never took general education classes seriously in high school, so a liberal arts-style college was a bold choice for me. I have always struggled academically with non-music classes. I always found it easier to memorize a song than it is to study for a test or write an essay. But I wanted to have a well-rounded education no matter the struggle I went through during it.

 My major-based courses are a great way to challenge me. I was never a dancer, so I am glad I’m taking a dance class to help me build technique. I’ve started to improve my dancing, which I am proud of. I am also in “Chamber singers,” and that class keeps me on my toes. It helps me pay attention to detail and gain more confidence in my ability to read music the first time and then sing it. Choir has always been my passion, and I am glad I get the opportunity to experience that again. My professor is demanding, so I feel honored that he trusts me with such beautiful works such as Eric Whitacre and Undine Smith Moore. I adore variety in choral music because it is never all the same Catholic mass music; it can be spiritual or contemporary. Learning new styles of music is very valuable to me as a musician. I am taking a class called Musical Theatre Performance I: Foundations. It is an incredibly daunting course. We are assigned songs we have to perform and work on them in front of the class. It is a very intimate space, so being five feet away from my classmates’ faces singing is naturally very uncomfortable. At first, I was a nervous wreck in this class because everyone could see me, and I could see their reactions as I sang. Over time I got more comfortable with these people and intimate performance spaces. At the beginning of this class, I was assigned a song I didn’t like. I felt the song was easy to sing but hard to understand emotionally. However, as time went on and I worked on this song, I learned not to judge something at first glance or not to hate something because I find it difficult. 

Often, my stubbornness gets in the way of my learning. Once I got to college, it allowed me to learn my own way while doing the same things as other students. In this class, I learned to challenge my thinking and political morality. I was never fully educated on military life and what happens to veterans after they leave their deployment. I have family who are veterans, but that was a part of their life they never talked about. When I read American Tet in class, I was shocked by the reality of veterans living with PTSD. To learn about an experience that is outside of myself was eye-opening. I have always been passionate about integrating theatre and music into therapy and other mental health services. In Theatre of War, they use Greek tragedy as a way for veterans to connect and be seen. It is so powerful to see such an old story remain relevant and meaningful to people. In the book, they explain how they wanted to bring a Greek tragedy to a prison. Naturally, this did not end up going well with the inmates, and I wondered what the expected final product of the performance was. It had me question the morality of prisons and the treatment of the human beings inside of them. Being in a class that constantly challenges my thinking keeps me motivated to learn about other people’s lives and experiences. By the end of the semester, I hope to be more organized and on top of my game. I want to learn the skills to be successful in music and life. 

First Year Reflection

My name is August Fountain, and I am from Rochester, NY. I have two siblings, an older sister, a younger brother, and a dog. I enjoy comic books, thrift shopping, and crystals. I’m currently a sophomore musical theatre major at SUNY Geneseo. I was in a choir for fifteen years, and I met my best friend there when I was three. My love for choir has inspired my future career. Before coming to Geneseo, I was in an entire career crisis, I wanted to do musical theatre, but I  have this love for choir that will forever be my first home. Even now, I’m still deciding what I  want to do with my future, but I am content with waiting it out and seeing what the future holds for me.

 Although I am a sophomore, I remember my first semester very well. I was very nervous about coming to campus; I was worried about where my classes were and making friends. I am a very shy person, but I learned just to be an open and friendly person. Socializing can be so much fun if you look at it differently. I found people who made me comfortable enough to be social around and became friends with other musical theatre majors. They taught me always to work hard and to take care of myself. We always stick together no matter what and are always there for each other. After my freshman semester, those friends and I moved into a suite together. We all benefit each other in our own ways, and I’m glad we all met. College taught me to be myself. In my hometown, Being openly gay and transgender was not welcomed. However, in college, I got the chance to be respected and open with others and myself. It is truly a freeing experience to have others respect your identity. Everyone always told me college is where you truly find yourself, and that’s exactly what it did.  

Throughout high school, I always struggled with General education courses. I was nervous about coming to Geneseo because I knew I was required to take those courses. In my first semester, I took an anthropology course that was challenging. I am not a strong writer and am not very good with words. It was complicated to keep up with my musical theatre training and this class. Don’t get me wrong, I found the course very interesting, but I lacked the motivation to dive deep into the study. This challenge made me realize that I  need to take my time, notice details, and take my non-theatre classes more seriously. I put a  lot on my plate this semester, but last semester taught me how to manage my time while still having fun.

In this class, I want to learn how to write. Growing up, my mother was an English teacher, so I honestly have no excuse as to why I still don’t know how to write an essay properly. In high school, each teacher had a different idea of what an essay should be. This system was never regulated, so I always wrote to please the teacher and learned a new writing tactic the following year. By the time I graduated, I had scattered ideas of how an essay should look. In the book They say, I say,  they refer to writing style, how it comes across to the viewer, and how to bring up controversy smoothly. They also talk about how to respectfully disagree without discrediting. Formatting an essay is something with which I’ve always struggled. I want a format I can follow to write an essay I want, so I won’t have to take so long to write essays. One thing I would do differently (looking back on my first semester) is to take the writing seminar as soon as possible so that I wouldn’t have struggled so much in other writing classes.