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Take a chance, take the stage

Maddison Behringer / THE GATEPOST

By Ryan O’Connell

Associate Editor

Three weeks ago I went to a show at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, where I saw Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, two improv comedians who made their big break in the ’90s, perform live.

In the aisle with me was my girlfriend and five other close friends who’d all been in the Hilltop Player’s - our school’s theater club - improv troupe, The Suit Jacket Posse, at one point or another, as am I.

It was, of course, invigorating to see one of us join Colin and Brad onstage for a game - and between fits of laughter I was only able to think about how much fun I’ve had performing for an audience at Framingham State.

The funny thing?

I didn’t know I liked improv three years ago.

In October 2020, I was a senior in high school and learning on Zoom after the initial outbreak of COVID-19. As a gamer, I was more than happy to be inside, talking to my friends online all day.

Even before that, I mostly kept to myself - the only extracurricular I participated in was DECA, an international business roleplay program, which assembled merely three or four times a year.

That was all I really did outside of school. Plus a few Saturday mornings I spent doing extra credit classes for my AP Computer Science class.

There wasn’t anything wrong with that - I don’t regret the way I spent that time, working on my art and writing, video production skills, and spending time with my friends on Discord - but in the last two years, I definitely don’t wish I spent more time by myself.

When I moved into Towers my freshman year, August 2021, I was in a new environment.

That new environment helped me change - because after meeting my random roommate, saying goodbye to my mother and sister, and looking out onto Framingham from the 11th floor, I found myself doing things differently.

I was taking every new opportunity I could.

I struck up a conversation with a girl who lived on my floor, which turned into a conversation with her and her roommate, then them and their neighbors, most of the floor, and into a friend group.

Emily Rosenberg, now our Editor-in-Chief, recommended I join the school newspaper, The Gatepost. I attended the social with one of those friends I made on our floor, Maddi Behringer, now a Design & Photos Editor who is studying abroad this semester.

I joined without any idea what I wanted to do, other than to take photos, maybe.

But I took the chances I was given.

I started to report for the Arts & Features section, learned a whole new way of writing, and developed strong communication and leadership skills.

A few days before that, I had heard a high school friend was going to try out for The Suit Jacket Posse. He asked if I wanted to come. I agreed, because I decided I didn’t have anything I’d rather be doing in my dorm.

That night I met my girlfriend, and a half dozen of the funniest people I know. And although I wasn’t picked for the team that first semester, that opportunity was enough to help me realize I really loved performing.

Putting myself out there wasn’t exactly easy. It takes a lot of courage to do anything new, let alone acting.

But even if I hadn’t liked improv, or the newspaper, my major, or any of the other great new things I’ve tried at college - I don’t regret it.

There’s only one way to know if you’re going to like something.

Only one way to know if you’re about to find your new favorite hobby. One way to start the next best chapter of your life.

That’s to try something new.

Take a chance.

Take every opportunity you can get.


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