Dear IU Newcomer:
I am sure you are currently being bombarded with advice from your family, your friends, and your soon-to-be professors and administrators. Receiving even more advice might seem a tad too much to juggle… But if you are interested in the arts and humanities on campus, then hopefully these two simple tips will be easy to slip into your backpack of recommendations.
#1: Choose everything.
When I first stepped onto campus four years ago, I remember being overwhelmed by the number of performances, activities, and groups. My head was spinning with where I should begin and what I should choose. I suggest that you choose everything.
College is all about exposing yourself to new experiences, meeting new people, and opening yourself up to becoming a new you. When an event presents itself—whether that be an IU Cinema showing, a SOAAD exhibit, or a Contemporary Dance performance—don’t ponder whether or not you should stay in your dorm or go. Gather some friends and go! (Or go alone! I still have fond memories of taking myself on a date to Motown The Musical and Reversible at the IU Auditorium.)
Part of Grunwald Gallery of Art’s past exhibit, New + Next (2020)
Of course, this might look more like “logging on” instead of “going” for the upcoming semester. Even if it is not in-person, do not be discouraged to take part. You will truly be blown away by the talent you encounter, and the breadth of art you will begin to see and appreciate.
#2: Talk to people.
As a dancer, I have been taught that in order to be well-rounded, you must cross-train the body with other forms of exercise. Similarly, throughout college, I have come to understand the importance of cross-training your mind by taking in various forms of art. With constant exposure to new things, you will come to love viewing and creating cross-disciplinary work.
Even more, you will find that your time at IU will be richer with inspiration if you make connections across fields. It might be scary at first, but you should really talk to people.
If you’d like to participate in many different kinds of art, or collaborate with diverse artists, talk to them. This year, there will be plentiful digital events you will be invited to. When you decide to go to an event, stay afterward for the artist talkback. When you view a performance, congratulate the performers and technicians, or send them a message.
By making connections with artists on campus, you are technically doing the “networking” that we are told is so important to building the foundation of a career. However, it is not just about building opportunities. It is about reaching out to other humans and enriching your own life in the process; you can learn so much from your superiors and your peers if you take time to talk to them and understand them.
As many of these events will be online, and other people will seem so far out of reach, you are going to need to virtually put yourself out there. It may seem intimidating, but I promise the motivation you find to get involved will give back tenfold!