Freshman Reflection with Giovanni Bahena ‘20
By Madison Kobe ‘18
It’s finals week and that means lots of different things for everyone at Carthage. It means Commencement and farewells for seniors, preparing for senior year for juniors, hopefully rest and relaxation for all, and reflection for freshmen. This is the perfect time for first year students to compare their expectations and experience of their first year at Carthage. I was given an inside look of these contemplations thanks to Giovanni Bahena ’20. Giovanni just wrapped up his freshman year, which included a full class load, performing in multiple shows, starting a new job, and making self-discoveries, at Carthage.
What are you studying at Carthage? Have you always wanted to study this?
I’m studying Music Theatre, and possibly adding Communications as a second major. Like most people, I went through a laundry list of occupations when I was younger. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I discovered Music Theatre, and decided to study the craft to make it my career.
Why did you pick Carthage as the school for you?
You know, I’ve asked myself this question since I found out about Carthage. Something clicked, something pulled me here. I researched and visited, and it made sense. It was a gut decision to come here, and it was the right one.
Were your expectations for this year different from your experience? How so?
I honestly don’t know what I expected. First semester was rough. I was in classes I didn’t understand, I was trying to create relationships that could last, I was trying to impress professors; all in all I was worrying too much about everything all at once. I was also trying to deal with it all alone, which was my biggest mistake. All the help was at my fingertips, and I just didn’t take it until it was a little too late. I had a rougher time transitioning into the class load than I thought I would. I learned from it, though. Am I the perfect student now? Heaven’s no. I am a better student than I was last semester, and I know I will continue to become a better student as the years go on. I’ve also been given so many amazing opportunities. To have the change to work on a Mainstage show right out the door was just amazing. I still can’t believe it. Carthage Theatre Department does an amazing job at putting you to work in all shapes and form right off the bat, and I can’t even begin to thank the faculty enough. In the end, it’s been an amazing year.
How have you changed since the beginning of your freshman year?
I’ve learned to see my flaws and how to grow from them. I’ve also learned how to take it easy. I’ve opened up to myself about myself a lot more. As I move forward, I’m becoming more self-aware, and am learning from what I do every day.
What have been some of the challenges you have had to overcome?
Anxiety, depression, and dyslexia. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when I was in high school, but my family didn’t really believe in mental illness so I was never able to seek treatment. I was super anxious before I got to college, for a plethora of reasons, and that didn’t go away throughout the semester. I was always nervous about what I was doing and the work I was putting out, and when it turned out to be bad I would get upset and stop doing the work, which is one of the reasons I didn’t do well in some of my classes. I still deal with it, and will probably deal with it as I continue on in my life, and over the summer I’m going to work with my doctor on treatment. Dyslexia makes memorizing my lines a lot harder, and really affected me during “Marriage A La Mode.” Memorizing heightened text as someone who is dyslectic, non-native English speaker was tough, but I made it through.
What have been some of your best memories from this past year?
There are so many, but one that will stay with more for a while was working with playwright and actress Regina Taylor on her New Play Initiative: A Seat at the Table. That entire show is something that will stick with me forever, and I am so grateful to have worked on it.
What advice would you give to incoming students now that your freshman year is over?
Breathe. And breathe again. There is a lot of help offered here at Carthage, so take it when you need it, and sometimes when you don’t for good measure. And don’t forget to breathe.
What are you looking forward to for the rest of your time at Carthage?
I don’t even know how to answer this question. There are so many amazing opportunities here at Carthage, and I just can’t wait to continue working and growing, whether on my craft or on myself.
What has it been like having a job in the Office of Ensemble and Events that will help you in future careers?
It’s given me a chance to work in another area of the performance field. House managing is such a fun job to have, because you are one of the first and last people the patron gets to see when they come to an event, so you get to see live reviews coming and going every night. It’s given me experience that helps make me a more versatile employee and I’m thankful for it.