The Transylvania Times -

BC Students Confirm Their Career Paths


Hannah Leonard

From left to right, Josh Goldstein, Kaylee Smith, Henry Crowder, Hannah Leonard, and Grace Pryor ride high in the Eye of London, a glass enclosed ferris wheel, high above downtown London.

Every year millions of newly graduated college students enter the workforce, but in most cases these graduates realize that the degree they worked so hard for is not the degree they actually want. In fact, only 27 percent of college graduates in the workforce have a job related to their degree.

However, for five Brevard College students – Josh Goldstein, Kaylee Smith, Henry Crowder, Hannah Leonard, and Grace Pryor – this won't be an issue after immersing themselves in a four week study abroad program in London, England.

The students were encouraged by Brevard College's Theater Director Brandon Smith to take the month-long trip, which was a collaborative effort between Brevard College and Midwestern State University. Smith, who accompanied the students on the trip, himself went through Midwestern State University's same study abroad program when he was 19.

"I recognized the value of the program because it changed my idea of what kind of professor I wanted to be. I saw more diversity in theater, and that is a powerful teaching tool," Smith said.

"If students can, they should go to London for one summer," Smith said.

Smith wanted his students to have a similar experience to what he had at 19 because the program gave him a clearer sense of direction. He also wanted them to discover what kind of theater – classical, modern, etc. – they might want to pursue.

Most theater students have a limited exposure to other styles of theater by staying in the Western Hemisphere, but Brevard College theater majors Leonard, Goldstein, Smith, and Crowder were able to experience many different styles while in London.

Under the wing of Smith, the four students were able to explore the history, "London culture" and how it shaped Western theater. They saw a variety of professional shows on the West End, and then analyzed and critiqued what they saw. They had guest speakers talk to them in classes and toured famous theaters like The Globe, the Theatre Royal, and Drury Lane.

"Coming from a theater background, being immersed in the culture, and seeing professionals act affect you as an audience member. The experience was mind blowing," said Leonard. "It inspires you to say, 'I can do that.' For me personally, it's given me a real inspiration for theater. Watching professional shows, and even seeing parts of their rehearsals, makes me want to pursue the art of theater even more."

Some students even went beyond the planned curriculum and saw more shows in their free time. Watching the performances was Goldstein's favorite part of the trip. He saw 26 shows in 30 days, while Leonard saw 20 during the same time.

"My biggest challenge was figuring out the correct way on how to analyze a play. It took a while to understand the fullness of it, but once I did I couldn't get enough of the shows," Goldstein said. "I now know that I want to pursue a theater major. I was questioning it before."

Brevard College health science studies major Grace Pryor had a similar experience while in London. Though she was without a professor in her field, she went to pursue a better knowledge of public health. The United King-dom has a different public health care system from the U.S. Medical care is virtually free since it is paid for through taxes and adminstered by the government.

Although Pryor was working in a different health care system, many of the ailments patients experience are similar all over the world.

"I learned a lot about diseases. I'll be able to take that knowledge with me into the classroom, and eventually to my future profession," Pryor said.

Although Pryor was the lone health care student and did not have a BC professor to guide her through her work, she said the quality of her experience was not dependent on who was there for support, but what she was able to learn while working.

When they weren't doing work, all five students would visit tourist destinations, socialize and experience the cuisine. They visited such sites as the Eye of London, Big Ben, and Abbey Road. They also had the opportunity to meet actor Bradley Cooper.

"It was awe-inspiring to see Bradley Cooper perform on stage. I even got his autograph. I'd say that was one of the best parts of London," Leonard said.

In addition to doing work in their prospective careers, the students received six hours of academic credit.

Most importantly, all five discovered that the majors they are pursuing at Brevard College, whether it be theater or health science studies, are majors that they plan on using in their future careers. Not every college student can say the same thing.

(Holt is a senior at Brevard College.)


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