Try New Things
In May of this year, I graduated college, stepping into a terrifying new realm of life and becoming entirely exposed. In all of the years leading up to my final year of school, if you had asked me what my plans were post-graduation, I would have given you the response of, “Oh, I’ll most likely attend graduate school for a master’s degree in vocal performance.” I tried desperately to muster some enthusiasm in this response but the words always left my mouth with an air of annoyance and indifference. I always knew in my heart that furthering my stay in the academic world was not high on my priority list. I was ready to escape the monotony of classwork and graded assignments. Mind you, I am not slamming school, educators, or anybody who wishes to further their education; I am simply saying that the realm of academia was no longer where I wished to be. I was ready for new challenges, a different sort of expectations; being planted somewhere I could feel useful.
However, I had resigned myself to the fate of slogging through at least two more years of school because I knew that the time spent there would for the betterment of my instrument. I thought that by remaining in the familiar routine of school, I was doing myself a favor instead of venturing out and exploring new possibilities. When it seemed that I had but this one option, I spiraled out of control. I couldn't complete any schoolwork or keep my emotions in check. I didn’t want to take any steps towards applying to grad school because I knew that it meant being miserable. I sank into a deep depression and battled demons everyday. I felt that I had no say in the direction my life was heading; life was just an inevitable sprint towards more and more school. There were so many days when I felt I had no reason to leave my room. I was drowning in confusion. Through the help of some individuals who saw my unspoken pain, I began to recuperate and find that I could once again take control of my life. The thing I wanted most was to try my hand at something new. I needed a change.
I stepped away from performing for my own sanity. To serve in a new capacity, I took on the role of head stage manager for my university’s spring opera. Working backstage was something unfamiliar, but I was ready for a different type of challenge. In taking on this new role, I discovered something that I had a sincere passion for and succeeded at. Jesus works in mysterious ways; wrecking our plans entirely by ripping me away from performing, something I thought was my greatest talent in the world, and planting me somewhere that felt wholly foreign.
Working behind the scenes, being the unseen problem solver and caretaker of numerous singing actors allowed me to realize that I had a genuine passion for taking care of others and satisfying their needs above my own. This is what led me to LSM. When I was informed of the opportunity to join the intern team as the stage management intern this summer I knew that it was an opportunity I could not pass up. In the first week with this wonderful cluster of people I have discovered how quickly a community can be formed. Though I have known some of these incredible people for four or five years and some only four or five days I feel we were all meant to come together at this time in our lives. We are all at different junctures in our lives, some are graduated with jobs, some are just at the beginning of their collegiate careers, and yet we have all joined together to serve the needs of others and learn new trades and skills. Also, we should have our own TV show, just saying.
If you are an LSM student reading this, then in the next few weeks, I implore you to try new things. Go out of your way to talk to someone who you’ve not yet approached. Try your hand at something new musically and diversify your skillset. You have so much untapped potential: go forth and discover what you’re capable of.
Recently, I got to spend some time with my 5-year-old cousin, Emma. I was awake early in the morning when Emma came downstairs to eat breakfast. I wasn’t entirely sure what to get her so I asked her if she wanted any cereal. She picked Cinnamon Toast Crunch and climbed up onto the barstool. I poured the cereal and she looked me straight in the eyes and told me not to put milk on it (I think she didn’t like the idea of the cereal getting soggy and mushy). Halfway through the bowl of cereal, Emma asked for milk on her Cinnamon Toast Crunch and said that she wanted to try something different. I told her that trying new things is the best way to experience life because it gives us a taste of what we like and what we don’t like. Trying different things shows us what we’re good at what could work on. I simplified for her into a simple “proverb”: “Trying new things is good.” In that moment, I realized that I was not only trying to teach Emma a life lesson with something as miniscule as cereal, but also reassuring myself that there are exciting new experiences awaiting all of us in this life.
Now that I’ve graduated, I can give you a more enthusiastic response to the question of what is next for me. I’m going to Disneyworld.
Matthew Manchigiah is the Lutheran Summer Music 2016 Stage Management Intern. He grew up in North Carolina, Virginia, Texas and Nebraska and has BM- Vocal Performance from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) in Belton, TX.