Ryan Zatcoff, TMU contributor and senior at Hofstra University

As a senior in college, I can't help but think about the "real world" and almost being a "real adult". I find myself reflecting on everything that I have accomplished since high school and looking at the person that I am today. I can truly say that I would not be the person I am if it weren't for the enormous amount of support I have had from my family, friends, and mentors. There are many people in my life that have influenced me throughout high school and college.

Honestly, I was very fortunate to have experienced the Drama program my high school offered. What made the program so special and influential were the adults who ran it. My high school director and choreographer are two individuals who have influenced my life immensely. They are the two people who taught me the fundamentals of theater and the importance of collaboration. They were the two people who encouraged me to thrive in any aspect of theater. Whether I was performing or directing, they were there to challenge me and help me grow as a theater student. Today, I still keep in touch with both of my high school mentors, and they are still very supportive of me and have become great friends.

While attending Hofstra, I have been fortunate enough to have more incredible mentors that have molded me into the person I am today. However, my mentors at Hofstra are not administrators or professors; they are my friends. I've met the majority of my friends either through the Drama Department or Music Department and couldn't imagine college without them. Although most of those mentors I've met at Hofstra have graduated, they have influenced me greatly. They have not only broadened and enhanced my appreciation for music and theater, but have encouraged me to always be myself.

The people I was able to work with in my internships and work experience have also influenced me. Watching and gaining real world experience from people in the business has been incredibly influential in my choices, and connecting with people who share the same passions as me has been eye-opening and incredible. Through these people, I have a better understanding of my career goals and what I really want to do after college graduation.

I highly encourage everyone, especially students, to talk to his or her mentors and people who influence them, especially when making major life decisions. Mentors are people who care about you and your well-being; communicate with them because that's what they are there for! Surround yourself with people who care about you and inspire you. The performing arts are an incredible venue for networking and meeting people with a vast amount of experience. Form relationships with people who support and encourage what you do and love!

Quote of the Week:

"Don't you know, silly man? Half the fun is to plan the plan! All good things come to those who can wait."

Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd