Now that the school year is back in full swing, I’m finally settling into my junior year at The Theatre School (TTS). One of my absolute favorite parts of fall is getting to know the new TTS students!
Our conservatory is really small; we hover around 300-400 students spread over 12 BFA and 3 MFA programs. This means that every year, 90 new students enter a tight-knit, closely-networked group of upperclassmen excited to welcome them into their community.
Being a new student can be overwhelming. I remember feeling completely prepared for college, but arriving in an arts conservatory where you have 10 people in a class and 16 hour days was still a bit of a shock (see photo at right). Two years later, now that I’m well adjusted to the ins and outs of TTS, I’m a co-coordinator of a program called the Goodman Orientation Detail Squad -- better known as the GOD Squad.
This mentorship program takes its roots from the Goodman School of Drama, what The Theatre School was called when it belonged to the Goodman Theatre (back when DePaul hadn’t “picked it up” yet!). The idea is basically to pair upperclassman students with underclassmen in their same major, creating a community of empathy, networking resources, and helping adjustments to TTS. It’s amazing to see how comfortable students feel when they know just one person. As professional and grown-up we like to say we are, everyone can always use a helping hand.
It’s amazing to see where students hail from every year to come study here in Chicago! Every student has a different background, view on theatre, and framework on the world. My favorite part of this program, though, is the yearly reminder of the excitement that comes with entering college.
When I’m knee deep in homework and starting to feel some Fall Blues, it’s the excitement of a new Theatre School class that keeps me motivated. What better way to start the school year than to be surrounded by 90 nervous, excited young artists?
If you’re starting your career at DePaul this fall, remember this: GOD Squad program or not, students like me are ecstatic to help you through your journey. Your transition to Chicago is one of the bumpiest, most amazing, inspiring times of your life. Find your squad and live it up!