With the commencement of a new year and semester, I formed a set of goals and resolutions in hopes to improve myself.  Some of the objectives were small: Make sure to call my mom once a week. Some were larger: Begin exercising again. One of the more interesting resolutions consisted of a personal challenge: Do something out of my comfort zone every day. Whether it’s simply smiling at a stranger or voicing an opinion in class, these activities can help me assert myself and increase my confidence. As soon as I arrived on campus for the start of spring semester, I knew I didn’t want to back out of my goal.  And luckily, I had the perfect opportunity to break out of my shell.

During the spring, Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre holds an annual Fringe Festival.  This showcase of different plays is inspired by the larger international Fringe Festival that takes place in Scotland.  Each of the plays is relatively short (generally one act) and are directed, assembled and performed by students.

This year, a more unusual type of show is being produced. “Calling All Dawns” is an entirely choral based show directed by senior Matt Kridel. The songs all focus on the celebration of life according to various religious writings.

Initially, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with putting on a show.  I thought that I couldn’t possibly handle classes, extracurricular activities, work and performing in a play! Additionally, I was a bit apprehensive about my performance abilities. Although I was super-involved with the arts in high school, (think marching band, drama club, show choir, and chorus) I hadn’t been on stage in over a year.  I was nervous about singing again, especially among so many other talented individuals with more performance experience.  After some encouragement from my peers, I decided to contact Matt and express my interest in participating in “Calling All Dawns.

While rehearsals have yet to begin, I can already tell I made a wonderful decision. When I arrived at Gannon, I put the arts on a backburner to focus on my studies. I forgot how happy being involved with music made me. I’m excited to start a new experience and branch out of my typical routine.  Also, I’m looking forward to performing with my friends and improving my vocal abilities. I think it will be beneficial for both my self-esteem and assertiveness to begin performing again.

This semester, I encourage students to always keep their goals and aspirations in mind.  While sometimes it might be easier to do the more comfortable option, stepping outside your comfort zone is a great learning experience.  So, have a great spring semester and remember to challenge yourself this year!