The Harbinger Online

Senior Column: Leah O’Connor


Who am I? Am I a j-kid or am I a theatre kid? I’ve struggled with this semi-identity crisis often over the past four years. At first it seems obvious, I’m getting a BFA in technical theatre, the majority my friends are from theatre and most of my journalism projects have been related to theatre. So, doesn’t that make me just a theatre kid?

But then I think about how I’ve also spent all four years of high school on The Harbinger. Theatre took me to see my first Broadway show, but journalism brought me to Santa Monica Pier, the White House, and the Grammy Museum. These departments have given me some of my best, and worst, memories of my life. I could never have imagined the trips, the awards or the connections I’d create by being a part of these contrasting departments.

When I was signing up for classes before my freshman year, I wanted to be a full-blooded journalism kid. But come first semester, and I began to realize that that would not be the case. While I still enjoyed being in J-1, I managed to find my niche in something completely different: theatre. I walked into my first Saturday workday and never really walked out.

I’d discover how passionate I really was about lighting when I designed my first show, Eurydice, my sophomore year but as a freshman merely being a part of the department was amazing to me.

Still, I applied for The Harbinger for my next seven semesters. I had fallen in love with lighting design, but I couldn’t imagine not being able to take photos, write columns, or help people make podcasts.

As the initial charm of each department dwindled with increasing social and academic stress, I knew that I wanted to be a part of both departments for all four years, even at my darkest times. I had grown to love being the only link between the two, since it gave me opportunities to both promote and defend each department. I got to have two homes within the school, along with two very different groups of people I could relate to. I’ve never not had a class in room 521, just like how I’ve never not had one in room 213. And I can’t imagine going through high school any differently.

Going into freshman year, I didn’t have anything to label myself as. I knew that I wanted to be a part of things, but I had maybe two close friends and I didn’t have a group of people that I hung out with. But through my involvement with the journalism and theatre departments, I was able to find places I belonged. And while I still have a lot to learn about myself, as I exit high school I’m sure of two things: I am a theatre kid and a j-kid, and I’m content with being both.

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