6 Lessons I Learned in My First Year of College

As summer draws near and the school year comes to a close, I got to catch up with the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation 2014 Dance Magazine College Scholarship Winner Paul Morland. He’s finishing up his first year at New York University. Between classes, finals, rehearsals and a student choreography showing, he shared some of the most important things he’s learned this year. Whether you're entering or exiting college, Morland offers some wonderful insight.


1. It’s totally up to you. “It’s your responsibility to get to class and do the work,” Morland says. Your college professors are there to push you technically and artistically, but it’s not their responsibility to wake you up and make sure you’re getting to class on time.


2. Keep an open mind. Morland found that composition classes and some technique classes were far different than what he had expected. Instead of backing away from new artistic territory, he went for it, head-on. “You have to approach class with the right mentality, and then you can get a lot out of it.”


3. Know when you’ve taken on too much. It’s easy to, especially your first year, say “yes” to everything. Take advantage of opportunities, but know your limit. Morland advises, “If you commit to something, you have to do it. When you’ve said enough 'yes,' don’t be afraid to say ‘no.' ”


4. Appreciate the artists around you. In the beginning, all of the new faces may be a little overwhelming, but trust that you’re with other dancers that want to be there and who want to pursue their passions, too. “Everyone is here for a reason. Everyone is here to create and to learn and to help people grow.”


5. Network from the beginning. “Don’t stress yourself out about it, but do it!” Morland says. Take a class outside of school every once in a while, meet students from different schools, establish positive relationships with your professors, and make good impressions right from the start. “It all begins as soon as you walk in the door!”


6. Have fun! “It’s supposed to be fun, too!” It’s your time to explore and play, both in the studio and out. Morland finds that, especially being in New York City, “there are so many opportunities and things to do. You have to remember that they’re there for you, so take advantage of them!” Stepping away from campus to visit a park, a museum, or a gallery is an easy way to refresh after a busy week of classes and rehearsals.


For more information about the NYCDA Foundation's scholarships and opportunities, click here!

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