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Returning to the Stage: My First Performance In Over a Year 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

In high school, I was active in musical theater throughout all four years. I performed in my school’s productions through my junior year and did theater camps and choir until I graduated. Once I got to Michigan State, I found it difficult to fit theater into my hectic lifestyle as a journalism student adjusting to college. Besides a few open mic nights in my first fall semester, I have not performed in front of anyone on a competitive or semi-professional level since I was in high school. 

Being a sophomore in college has taught me how to better regulate my schedule, so this semester, I decided to sign up for a singing competition called MSU Idol. Put on by ‘They’re So Dramatic’, a theatre organization on campus, it served as both a fundraiser for the club and an outlet for non theater majors to perform with less stakes. The show was open to anyone who wanted to sign up and the only commitment was the day of the show. I decided to go for it because what did I have to lose? 

It ended up being one of my best experiences of this year, but I cannot even begin to describe how nervous and anxious I was when I walked into the performance space to begin the tech rehearsal. Despite only performing in front of the other participants, I was unbelievably nervous until it was my turn to practice. The response I got from my peers was exactly what I needed to soothe the pre-show nerves. They were so supportive and kind with their compliments. We joked afterwards in our free time before the show, watched the Lions game on our phones, and the next thing I knew, the first act was being called. 

I sat backstage waiting my turn as the act before me was performing. The nerves started to creep back up, but I reminded myself that it was supposed to be fun despite being a competition. I walked into the spotlight quietly, sat down shaking with nerves, and took a deep breath as my backing track began. I let myself breathe as the opening sequence to “So Big/So Small” from Dear Evan Hansen rang through the theater. 

I have sung this song a million times in my room, but never had the courage to do so in front of others. Despite this, I was overcome with a sense of familiarity and calmness that I had not felt in years. As I sang, the emotion came naturally, I let myself relax, and it was like no one else was in the room until I finished. As the room erupted in applause, I realized that I had just performed for almost 50 people. I could not help but smile because I forgot how amazing it felt to perform in front of people again.  

I was just thankful to be given the opportunity to sing a song that I have loved for years for everyone. I expected nothing out of it at the end of the competition, so when they announced the final five and I heard my name, I was in shock. I stood in front of everyone, hand in hand with my peers as everyone gave a drumroll before the host announced the winner. As she said my name, it took me a moment to recognize that I had just won. My face was pure shock and joy as I took the prize basket in hand and took in the applause. I am beyond grateful for the experience that this gave me. This was the confidence boost that I needed to get back into the thing that I love. The serotonin that this experience gave me has made it one of the best times of my college career. I did not realize how much I missed the stage until I had returned to performing. Now, I never want to look back. 

Mikia Lawrence is the current Vice President and Co- Campus Correspondent of MSU's Her Campus Chapter and is starting her first year of the position. She oversees chapter operation and assists with internal as well as external affairs such as meeting planning, brand partnerships, and recruiting. Lawrence is also a part of the design and editing teams to create graphics and edit content for her chapter. She is a junior journalism major at MSU with minors in broadcast journalism and leadership of organizations. She was an anchor and the producer for her high school's daily live announcements throughout her four years. In the 2024 spring semester she was an intern at HOMTV in Meridian Township. In her free time, she enjoys watching sports with friends, reading, writing, and playing dinosaurs with her little brother.