Why I chose a theater minor as a biology major

My name is Em, and I am a biological science major in CLAS and the honors college! STEM majors are heading into a highly competitive field so it can be overwhelming studying for them. Don’t worry, though; Wayne State has many resources, from advisors and counseling services to study groups and tutors.

Em DeWolf
Em DeWolf

Many other biological sciences majors elect to minor in psychology, forensics, environmental science, and other related fields. In my first year of college, I was planning to minor in psychology and major in biology, then do a master’s in neuropsychology in the future.

It made perfect sense to me; however, as most first-year ideas go, that did not happen. I went in the exact opposite direction. I am minoring in theatre while also completing a honors biological sciences and university honors co-majored degree. This seemingly bizarre duality has made my college experience much more enriching by allowing me to meet all sorts of students and observe different teaching styles.

Despite loving public speaking, I was not very active in plays or musicals in high school. I was a debate club founder and did tons of sports, so I sadly didn’t get to explore my passion for acting much. I did one or two shows my first year, and that was it. Now though, as a third-year college student, I can happily say I have been able to live my childhood dream of being an actor while also grinding myself into the dirt trying to ace biology classes. For me, theatre is all about truth. It is an artistic expression of the truths in everyday interactions that we may not consciously think about. It is a way of safely expressing pain and communicating about the more difficult things in life. In my opinion, it is the purest form of communication we can access.

 Freedom Players at Gleaners Food Bank in 2019
Freedom Players at Gleaners Food Bank in 2019

But how on earth did I make such a huge transition? Well, during FestiFall – an event where all the clubs, colleges, and deans come out to chat with and recruit various students –  my first year, I was looking for a drama club because I met lots of really close friends through my drama classes in high school and wanted to pursue an extracurricular that was fun, so I didn’t overwork myself and not develop a social life, as I did in high school. What I found was a fantastic person named Cam. Cam represented an ensemble called “Freedom Players,” a social justice-focused traveling theater troupe. As an honors college student, one of my core values is community service and engagement, so this sounded like the perfect opportunity to fulfill my service-learning requirements while doing something I loved.

However, auditions were that day at 5 pm, and I had not prepared a monologue or even known that I would be doing this until that very instant. Trusting my gut, I found a poem, paraphrased it, and added my movements to it. I wandered through Old Main to see the audition room and got there as the third to last student to audition. Shockingly, it worked! I was in! However, after getting in, I found out Freedom Players was part of a “WSU Touring Theatre” class and was not extracurricular.

Furthermore, this class was only available to theater majors or minors and met at the same time as one of my psych labs. So, I switched minors to Theatre and signed up for the class in a leap of faith! You can access more information about Freedom Players on Instagram @freedomplayerswsu if this piques your interest!

By Em DeWolf

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