Her Campus Hofstra has some badass women, so let’s meet them!
Up this week we have: Katie Pericak, Her Campus Hofstra Social Media Director
Major: Drama BFA
Hometown: Hamburg, New York
Member Since: January 2018
Why did you join Her Campus?
“I joined because I initially wanted to be a double major with Drama and Journalism. Writing for Her Campus – you can quite literally write about anything, so that made me want to join.”
What is your favorite part about being involved in Her Campus?
“The freedom, but also – I was the Instagram editor last year, and now I’m the social media director. This is the first club that I joined here at Hofstra that I had this kind of growth in leadership positions. It’s been cool and I just feel good and I love it!”
What is it like being the Social Media Director?
“The basis of Social Media Director is just making sure all of our social media platforms are posting and meeting the requirements. But, I came in with ideas, so now we do Humans of Her Campus each week. We are also doing a new thing where a member takes over the Instagram story each week. And besides that, I love to hype my girls up – the social media editors are the best.”
I saw you recently wrote about going on a social media cleanse. Why was that something you wanted to do?
“There was an article in the editorial calendar that said, ‘I tried *something* for a week, and here’s what happened’, and I claimed it. Originally, I planned on going vegan for a week. Where I was at that point in the semester, I just didn’t really have the time to go vegan and give it my all. I wasn’t going to be able to cook cool things, and I would have eaten terrible food. It wouldn’t have been a good article. And then, I remember one day on my walk home, I don’t know how it came to me, but I was like ‘I’m not going to use social media for a week.’ It was so nice not having Instagram, and now I still only barely scroll through it. It is really great. But, I did miss Twitter – I missed Twitter a lot. Whenever I was at the point where I had finished all the work I had to do I just wanted to be on Twitter. But, it was really good. I recommend it to everyone.”
What is your overall take on social media?
“I think social media is good. I never want to say it’s a bad thing. But, I think for certain people, depending on your circumstances and who you are as a person, it can become toxic. If you don’t monitor yourself, it’s probably going to take over you. I remember Instagram came out around when I was in seventh grade, but there are children now growing up with it. I feel like you have to realize when you need to take a step back. Just remember that people’s Instagram pages don’t showcase everything happening in someone’s life. It is literally just the highlight reel. You don’t know what someone is going through just because they have a nice Instagram page.”
What is your favorite article you have written for Her Campus?
“I wrote an article my freshman year called My Coming Out Experience during my second semester. I was so stressed. I don’t think my mental state was the best it could have been. There was a situation from my High School that would still follow me – whether I would hear about this person or I just couldn’t stop thinking about them. I just wrote the article and I wrote my entire coming out experience. I remember I went to bed at 4 a.m. and then I pitched it to Sarah and Abby, the CC’s at the time. They really loved it. And that summer, the Nationals of Her Campus told E-Board it won second place across the country for personal essay. It was a really special article to me. It was a very cleansing thing for me that I needed at the time.”
What else are you involved with on campus?
“I am in the Drama Department. I am in Critical Fail, which is a non-audition improv group, and it’s crazy. Honestly, my drama classes take up most of my time because I chose to do it that way.”
You have to audition sophomore year to receive the Drama BFA. What was it like coming to the decision to audition?
“When I came to the school, I knew about the BFA program and that you audition sophomore year, but I decided I was going to be a double major – I didn’t really want the BFA. And second semester freshman year, I was very back and forth all of a sudden. I was just really in my head was thinking, ‘Maybe I should do it’. But, I had already made my schedule for next semester and I wasn’t registered for classes that are pre-reqs for auditioning for the BFA. I was walking this one night with some of my friends, one of whom had the BFA, and I asked them for advice. I was in my first performance class at the time, and I just realized I really wanted to give my all to this thing, and they just told me “Audition. Do it. You can rearrange your schedule. If in the long run you do want to go into journalism, you can go to grad school and you can get your masters.’ And then, I switched my schedule around to take the BFA pre-reqs. Freshman year, I would take so many naps because I had so much time for naps. First semester sophomore year, getting ready for this audition, I did not nap. I worked very hard. A few days after the audition had taken place, I took a nap and I slept for three hours. I woke up and was like ‘I can’t believe my body just did this! It really needed it.’ But yeah, I auditioned, and I got it, and it’s really fun!”
Since you have received the Performance BFA, how has that affected your college career?
“For the BFA, you have to take three BFA classes every semester, and there is only one offering of each. I’m in a class right now, Movement III: Red Nose. Its movement for the actor and we literally wear red clown noses. I went into it like, ‘So, we are going to be clowns… what?” But, it’s a comedic acting class. I’ve had a lot of fun with it. I’ve had a Voice and Speech class every semester, and I’m in Voice and Speech III now. Somehow, we will be doing a monologue and our professor will come up to you and move your body around in certain ways to make your voice feel a certain way, and then you are crying. That class has been awesome because there are so many ways that you can use your voice and your speech, more ways than you know. It’s great, I love it.”
Since coming to Hofstra, how have you been able to see yourself grow as an actor?
“I just know going from my first audition freshman year to my most recent audition, I am more confident in myself. I am more comfortable and confident in saying I am an actor, which I don’t think even last year I would have been able to say, not because I was embarrassed but because I just didn’t think I truly was. I know I have a long way to go in terms of growth, but I have already come a long way.”
What is your favorite role that you have played?
“Last semester, in our scene study class I did a scene from Street Car Named Desire. It is the role that has made me change physically the most. She had a little bit of a southern accent, it was just a light one, so I had to do that too. It was cool the way my professor had us do these exercises in class to get into these characters. I just physically really became her. It was so fun and so awesome to be such a different person, in such different circumstances, from who I am. But like I did it – I was Blanche.”
Your most embarrassing theater story?
“In my little Catholic school that had 100 kids in it from preschool to eighth grade, we would put on one play every year and it was our Christmas play. Before I got to fifth grade, it had just been the Jesus Christmas Story, but then our school hired a director. I don’t remember what it was called, but I was the Christmas Tree. Other people were cast as presents – we came to life and talked. There was this rehearsal we had with the whole school, because everyone had to participate, and each grade had a song that they would perform together at some point during the play. When I got to school, my principal told me it was a dress rehearsal and brought me to my costume. And my costume – it’s a Christmas tree…it’s got ornaments on it and Christmas lights. When we walk over to the church, I see my fellow classmates and no one is in costume. They all said they didn’t have their costumes, but my principal told me ‘You got this Katie, you are THE Christmas Tree.’ My fifth grade self was like, ‘This isn’t a good thing that everyone is going to be looking at me!’. I also had a crush on a seventh grade boy at the time, and it was this whole mess. It felt like my whole world was falling apart. But, we did the dress rehearsal, and I was embarrassed the whole time, but I said my line. And then, I wrote my college essay on it, so it was embarrassing but a great story to tell.”
How do you get over stage fright?
“I think I get more stage fright whenever I am going into an audition. I did this new thing this semester during auditions where throughout the day, whenever I saw myself in the mirror, I told myself ‘you are hot s*** and you’ve got this.’ I really think that helped because I wasn’t as nervous going into this audition as I have been in the past. So just tell yourself that you are ‘hot s***’ throughout the day and you will believe it.”
Have you had a teacher that has greatly influenced you?
“My junior year, I had this teacher. Toward the end of the year, she had us do this assignment where you write a letter to your future self. She gives you her own example, but she did the opposite, where she wrote a letter to her younger self. She reads us her letter– and at this point I knew I was bi, but I don’t know if I was fully out to everyone yet, and I definitely was not out to my family. As she was reading the letter, she says ‘no matter who you end up with, no matter who he or she is,’ and literally no one else in the room noticed it, but if I was a dog, my ears would have perked up so high, my tail would have been wagging, I was like ‘woah… what… are you also– ? oh my god.’ It was the first time I had a teacher or anyone older than me who I had a direct relationship with give any indication that they are also possibly bi. It made me feel good. I just love her, such a great thing for me.”
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I wanted to be a veterinarian at one point. I loved animals and it was before I had my dog. There was a good period of time I thought I would be a lawyer. The thought of me going to law school is hilarious, but those were the two big ones when I was younger.”
What do you want to do when you graduate?
“Ideally, I move into the city, I don’t know where, I don’t care where, wherever is cheapest. I just want to be there with some roommates, hopefully some people I’m friends with. Get a job to pay the bills and have money, but also go to auditions. My dream is to be in a Broadway play – not a Broadway musical. A Broadway play. So ideally, I would just be in a Broadway play and winning Tony’s here and there.”
Best part about Long Island?
“I think there’s a lot more to Long Island than where I’ve been. I really want to explore more. I want to go right by Mineola station where there are a few strips of cafes, restaurants and shops. There is a karaoke club I really want to go to.”
Best part about NYC?
“I just love New York City, oh my god. Freshman year, I would only go to Times Square and around that area. But, it’s been cool to explore parts of Brooklyn and other parts of New York City than just the touristy parts of it. I love Central Park when its warm out. There is a really good restaurant called Benny’s Burritos – everyone should go there. Candle Cafe – it was this really cool vegan restaurant. Also, there is this vegan place called Vegan Du Jour Blossom where I decided I was going to be vegetarian, so highly recommend.”
As you are from Buffalo, what do you miss most about it?
“I miss Tim Hortons, which started out in Canada, but it’s just a coffee shop and donuts and it’s just so good. In my opinion, it has the best coffee, the best everything. There is one nearby here, but it’s not the same. There are a lot of things that I didn’t realize were just Buffalo things, like sponge candy, the way we say bison, we say pop instead of soda. We have a taco place called Mighty Taco – it’s like Taco Bell but better. There’s also a lot of landmarks in Buffalo. We have a shark girl that people go and take pictures with. It’s so weird, I don’t understand why it’s a Buffalo thing.”
Biggest misconception about people from Buffalo?
“Well, freshman year, whenever I expressed that I was cold and people knew that I was from Buffalo, people would say ‘How are you cold? You are from Buffalo. It gets so cold there’. And I would say, ‘Yeah it does get cold there, I’m cold here too. I can be cold in both places. It’s cold. It’s a lot colder there and I don’t like it.’”
Dream place to travel to?
“I want to go to Australia so bad, but also, I feel like there are a lot of weird animals in Australia that could potentially kill me, so we will see. It’s also a long plane ride.”
What is the best gift you have received?
“There is this book – my friend from home gave it to me for my birthday two years ago, ‘Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression’ by Johann Hari. It’s a really good book. It talks a lot about how anxiety and depression are more than an individual problem now. It is very societal. There are a lot of society causes that people don’t acknowledge or try to fix. Medication and therapy are good, but there are so many other things that need to be addressed. She got it for me – I was in a very mentally unwell state, and the book is very comforting. The person that wrote the book struggled a lot with depression, but they wrote a book! So, you know, you can always do things even when you feel like you can’t.”
What is the best gift you have given?
“Last year, I was in a class called Drama 5: Play Production, and our final project was to make a wine bottle holder from a block of wood. My sister has always loved Winnie the Pooh, so I made it for her. It’s Winnie the Pooh getting honey out of his jar. It turned out pretty well, I was pretty proud of it. She opened it on Christmas day and she didn’t know what it was because there is just a slant and then there is a hole where you put the wine bottle in. I just don’t think she had ever seen a wine bottle holder before, and she was like ‘This is so cute, but what do you do with it?’ So, I showed her and she was like ‘That is insane, that is so cool,’ and I was just really cool.”
What is a cause that you care about/ fight for?
“I wrote an article for Bi-visibility day this semester saying we exist. There is a lot of bi-erasure outside of the LBGTQIA+ community, but also within. Whenever I get the chance, whenever I can tweet about it, when I can talk to someone about it, I just love to explain.”
What is something you are working on in the vein of self-improvement right now?
“I am a very emotional and sensitive person. I was a very passive aggressive person like in high school – it’s insane how different I was. Coming into college, the first time I was away from home, I realized it might have been a product of how I was raised. Being away from my home, I realized it was an issue and I need to work on it. I think I’ve gotten a lot better, but I still catch myself when I’m in some high tense situation or any kind of conflict. Being sensitive, you just have to remember that not everything everyone says is a direct attack on you.”
Do you have a mantra?
“‘Everything happens for a reason,’ and I definitely believe that. I tell myself that and I still know that it’s going to be okay in the end.”
What is your proudest achievement?
“I think getting the BFA. Whenever I feel like s***, especially whenever I’m having trouble with a drama class, I just remember, ‘I can do this, because I am in this program for a reason’. And every time I write an article for Her Campus, I’m like, yeah, I did that.”