As a senior, it is really easy to get caught up in the stress of all the to-do items that naturally come with preparing to start a new chapter in your life. I’ve definitely spent my fair share of nights agonizing over job applications and thesis work, trying to balance a social life with my academics while also making a plan for post-grad. This past weekend, however, I was reminded of why I was looking forward to senior year in the first place, and why my time at Notre Dame as a whole has been so special.
Since my freshmen year, I have been involved with the student-run musical theater group, PEMCo, and have served in roles ranging from Director to Marketing Producer to Costume Designer to Cast Member. This past weekend was our spring production of Anything Goes, and my final show at ND.
I went into tech week admittedly a little bit overwhelmed by all that I needed to do in the upcoming days, knowing that the amount of rehearsals we had left were dwindling. This was the first show I have done while balancing several production roles including a role in the cast, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t letting any one of my jobs suffer because I was too focused on the others. However, when we got into the theater last Sunday, my personal anxieties towards the week took a backseat. Everyone came ready to work, and by the end of Monday, we had built an entire boat, loaded in costumes for 25 cast members, and set up sound, lighting, and the pit orchestra. In the rehearsals that followed the next two days, everyone’s diligence in learning their parts and sheer excitement towards the approaching show was so apparent. No matter how worried I would get in the moment about forgetting a line or having to do a last minute costume alteration, there was always someone to crack a joke, give a hug, or just make you smile on stage. Inevitable tech week mishaps of course occurred, but the genuine dedication and familial nature of the group helped us to really be prepared come opening on Thursday. When we began doing the shows, I felt a switch flip. Somehow, some way, all the things that we had been worrying about seemed to work out - we really had a show. Every time I got to go on stage and perform with my friends, I was just so filled with joy and gratitude for the moments I was spending with them, and the things I was so stressed about just days before seemed nowhere in sight.
When we closed the show on Saturday, I couldn’t help but reflect on how much my time with PEMCo, and this show specifically, have mirrored my time at Notre Dame. Throughout your four years in college, you will inevitably have times when you find it difficult, sometimes impossible, to balance all that you have and want to do. Yet time always passes, the assignments get done, and deadlines come and go. Along the way, however, you’ll make some of the best friends you’ve ever met, and make memories that you’ll remember long past your time at ND. It’s amazing to me that in my last few weeks here, I still continue to make new friends, have new bucket-list experiences, and am filled with so much excitement and joy to be a part of this wonderful community. When you get to senior year, or the shows at the end of tech week, you’re able to see the fruits of your labor and start looking ahead. While that can be a little scary, it also gives you a chance to reflect on all the people and experiences that made you prepared to be exactly where and who you are right now.
PEMCo has truly shaped who I am today and my overall experience at Notre Dame, and it’s made me so grateful for the past four years. Sure it’s made my schedule a little more hectic (maybe even a lot…), but it’s been so worth it. So as a bit of unsolicited advice from an outgoing senior, don’t stress too much. Be grateful for the people who are supporting you along the way and don’t get too caught up in worrying about planning for the future that you miss making memories in the moment.