The start of a journey

What started my love for acting was when I noticed the way I felt when I would sit down in my living room and watch television when I was younger. I remember feeling like the actors had a superpower that could take their audience to a different world and put them in a place of possibilities. My cousins and I had to look for a way to entertain ourselves at times when the power was out due to Nigeria's regular power outages. We would make up scenarios in our heads and pretend we were our mothers in a salon getting our hair done and discussing the latest gossip. We relied on the observations we made in our everyday life. I remember how alive it made me feel. I did not want to let go of that feeling. My experience in the Nigerian educational system for 16 years of my life has been a journey that has helped me understand the true meaning of perseverance and has made me ask the question, who am I? At the start of my 10th-grade year, a year students have to make a choice that would impact their future. There were two departments to choose from: Students who chose the Science department were expected to be doctors or engineers, while students who chose the Art department were expected to be lawyers or entrepreneurs. I didn't know which to choose, mainly because everyone thought choosing the science department would result in a promising career, but I knew my heart didn't belong to formulas and elements. I chose the Art department because it consisted of subjects I enjoyed, which were Literature and History, but didn't know what career I wanted to pursue as an “art student”. I was interested In acting, but It did not seem like a career path in my school because there was no investment in a theatre program. Therefore, I never got the chance to explore what I loved to do because it was not considered a practical profession. For a long time, I was uncertain about who I wanted to be, but not who I was. Anytime I mentioned acting as a profession to anyone who inquired about my future, It seemed like only a dream, and was encouraged to find something more “realistic.” When I moved to the United States to finish my High school education, I remember encountering many pathways. I joined my school's theatre program and felt at home, but also different from the rest of the other students because my teacher had said to me, "I joined the party late". I registered for the August Wilson Monologue Competition, so did most of the experienced actors in my school. I wasn't intimidated by this but excited that I had the opportunity to build an experience for myself and to see if acting was just a dream as people thought it was or my reality. I went on stage to recite my monologue. When reciting my monologue, The stage light towards me shined so brightly that I could not make out the faces of the audience. It was blinding yet ever so comfortable. It was as if it was just me in my room, no one around to see me in my most vulnerable states. I felt powerful like the whole world was letting me speak and be whoever I wanted to be. It was a surreal experience. It was after I said my last line, I heard the thunderous applause from the crowd that made me realize I wasn't alone. Once I was done with my performance, I noticed how I took my audience with me to a world of possibilities and how amazing it was to have the superpower I idolized as a child. After that performance, I knew that I could no longer pull back from the fact I wanted to be an actress. A few weeks later, I found out I made it to the semi-finals. I couldn't believe it. I was truly shocked. That experience made me see a part of myself that I didn't know was there, a part that did not get enough credit. It made me realize how important it is to always follow your dreams and to acknowledge the little things that you enjoy.

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