Loads of eager high school seniors crowded into the Conant Performing Arts Center on the Oglethorpe University campus in January 2010 for our annual Scholarship Weekend. The event is an important and unique opportunity for prospective students—including theater majors—to compete for one of many full-ride scholarships. I can personally attest to the anxiety, exhilaration, and enthusiasm that is included in this event, as I competed not too long ago, but now that I am on the other side, I have a slightly different perspective.
I had the opportunity to work the behind-the-scenes aspects of scholarship weekend through my work study job in the theatre. There is a beautiful combination of empathy, compassion, and excitement for the students who stand in the shoes I wore not too long ago. The Oglethorpe University Theatre Department offers prospective students the chance to win a scholarship, which includes four years of tuition plus other opportunities, which in the past have included a $3000 study abroad stipend, and an internship with the Georgia Shakespeare, the professional theater in residence at Oglethorpe.
In 2010, the scholarship required students to read self-selected monologues and participate in a seminar discussion over assigned readings. Watching students as they were directed from place to place around campus and sitting in on panels and discussions brought up a certain sense of nostalgia and appreciation in me, as I’m sure it did for many of my fellow peers who also volunteered. I would even argue that weekend was as valuable to us as it was to the students, as I was reminded of the energy and efforts that got me to where I am today and all the gratitude I owe the Oglethorpe staff for helping me to make it to my dream school.