The Intern Diaries

Improv teaches us that sometimes you have to make a jump even if you don’t know how the situation will turn out for you. This year I made such a jump, and I am happy to report that the results were of a positive nature.

I am currently 20-years-old and approaching my junior year at Iowa State University. This is probably one of the weirdest times in my life. I feel like I am stuck in a purgatory between the perception of being an adult and actually having the mentality of one. I mean, turning 20 was fed to me as an accomplishment of sorts, but I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything. For a long time, I had a lot of internalized self-doubt about my abilities that didn’t necessarily come into fruition in my everyday life, but were still present enough that I was losing confidence that I desperately needed. I hated feeling bogged down by my own psyche and decided that I would make a jump and push myself to ditch my feelings of inadequacy. I went about this in many ways; I auditioned for my college’s improv troupe, Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival, and became the youngest player in the group, I increased my participation in the theatre department, I dyed my hair black (that jump was questionable), I changed my major to accurately reflect the career path I want to be on, and I found an awesome internship opportunity here at the Brave New Workshop Student Union.

This internship has been fulfilling both externally and internally. I have gotten to see how improv changes people’s perceptions of themselves and the world around them. Watching students enter the building on Monday with the same trepidations that everyone experiences and seeing them leave on Friday with confidence and a smile on their face is an indescribable kind of magic. Improv is a special art form that allows self-doubt and anxiety to become a motivation rather than a detriment. Once you get over the hurdle of self-conscious behavior, the world becomes much easier to navigate. I applaud all the students from the camps this summer for allowing themselves to be goofy and have fun. Their lack of inhibition has inspired me to try and experience new things with a fresh outlook.

Not only have I seen changes within the students but I have also seen personal growth because of this experience. I am not going to lie, it seemed daunting at first. I had to relocate from my hometown to a large city, didn’t know what to expect, and had a lot of anxiety about what my time here would look like. After I arrived, I realized it was easy to jump over the hurdles in my way I was supported by the people around me. I started with small tasks that slowly built my confidence back. These small things led to me trying my hand at larger scale projects such as creating a communications plan, designing marketing images, and even teaching a group of high schoolers an improv basics workshop. I became less afraid of criticism and proud of the things I accomplished. I learned to say “Yes, and” not only in my improv work, but also in my day to day life.

I am sad that my time here has come to an end but I am excited to see where this experience will take me. The growth that I have gone through at BNW SU will help propel me to where I want to be, professionally and personally. I would like to extend a warm thanks to everyone that I worked with at the Brave New Workshop and the Brave New Workshop Student Union for making this experience so inviting. This summer has been an amazing experience.

Improv for Everyone. Improv for Life. Improv for Good.

Ellie Seaton
Brave New Workshop Student Union Summer Intern 2018