"I'm a lot like a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You're here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well." These words, spoken by Dean Fuller, were the first ones to reach the freshman in the musical theatre program. The entire room was still, while our hearts and souls bonded together in a way only artists understand. From that moment, regardless of my fear and stress and aching with homesickness, I knew I was in the right place. A place where I can touch the hearts and lives of so many people. However, a lot of things had to happen to get me to that place. Due to the incredible support of my grand parents, I was able to reach Jersey in two days with all of the millions of things I wanted in my dorm room. We moved me in on Sunday and surprisingly, considering the prison cell quality of the room, everything fit! In the end, the dorm is not so bad besides the lack of air conditioning, the little space and need for constant organization, and the communal showers. I have NEVER experienced anything like a communal shower. Let's be honest, you have no idea who or what has occurred in those showers. Luckily for me, my dorm used to be a frat house. That just goes to show how this place is seriously haunted with bad, and probably disgusting, decisions. Speaking of haunted, supposedly my dorm is haunted. A college kid, who passed in 2007, supposedly haunts our building in the afterlife. That being said some crazy things have happened in our dorm!!! Random chills of air in our, repeat, non-air conditioned dorm, knocks on the doors with no visible people near, blood-curdling screams, and tons of other events. Basically anything that happens in Lake House can surely be blamed on Gary the ghost. Surprisingly, getting used to the quirks of a dorm isn't so hard. Saying goodbye however, that hurt so impossibly bad I would have melted into the floor in order to escape the moment. I've known move-in day was coming for as long as I can remember. In America today many kids expect to go to college while they're in elementary school! But nothing can prepare you for saying goodbye to your family. It's an indescribable feeling you can only understand if you've been through it. As happy as I am here, I don't go a second without missing my parents miserably. If you know me at all, you know that my two favorite people in the world are my mom and my dad. I miss mom's dance classes and cooking, working out with dad and letting him drive me everywhere. They will always be my parents and I will always be their child, but living 1400 miles from the people who raised you and always love you unconditionally is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. My first couple of days at Rider were filled with freshman activities and meeting dozens of new people. I was nervous to the point of constantly shaking by the unfamiliarity of everyone's faces. However, in just a few days I know I have made friends that will last a lifetime. There's a reason people say college is where you make your closest friends. I'm thrilled by the 2019 Musical Theatre Family. Everyone is so unique and special with one come denominator, an intense and magical love for this art form. I can really feel the beauty of what we, as a team, will bring to the theatre. That being said, this is a pretty crazy bunch. We constantly, and I mean all day everyday, walk in groups of four to twenty. No one will be left behind in this bunch. Tonight alone, nearly a dozen of us went to the gym together before a "master class" taught by our peers on the painful parts of rolling out, and the beauty of Beyonce's dance moves. Overall, this group is incredibly dedicated, with anal retentive tendencies, and beautiful souls. I couldn't be prouder to work along side them. We had our first official day of classes today. I started my morning with music theory, taught be a hilarious and quirky woman (Think Ms. Darbus from High School Musical). I'm really looking forward to her class. Followed by a history class with your stereotypical ancient white male history professor. He was about as easy to understand as a walrus. That being said, his theory on the importance of understanding and making judgement on history is quite powerful and I'm sure his class will really benefit me as a human being. With a wonderful break in between, have mentioned how fantastic college schedules are?, I took musical theatre practicum with the entire freshman MT class. It was essentially choir with a focus on musical theatre material. My classes were finished off by finite math with the most adorable old man I've ever seen. He absolutely walked in to class with Crocs AND a bucket hat. I'm hopeful his teaching style will work with my brain and I will be successful in his class. Overall, my classes seem really great thus far. I have ballet tomorrow, as well as acting focused on the Alexander technique. I think I'm really going to enjoy the semester. I'm hoping I will be able to join the theatre fraternity, as well as tech shows and gain more audition experience. As terrifying as this entire experience has been, I truly feel I'm in the right place for me right now and look forward to the growth I know I will make as an actress and person. I miss you all with every piece of my heart.

Tu Me Manques, McKenna


Bottom Picture: First Day of School!