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Nural Mohammed

Performing Arts Portfolio Essay

Portfolio Timeline Essay

From a very early age I was always interested in acting and the performing arts. One of
the main reasons why I chose Wheelock College was because of the Wheelock Family Theatre. I
wanted to have access to, and to be exposed to, professional theaters during my time in college. I
first signed up for a Public Speaking class where I began to develop my skills as a public speaker
and learn more about what it takes to perform in front of others.
My experience with my first performance arts day really showed me that I had what ti
took to be able to push myself and get on stage in front of others. This was the biggest hurdle
that I needed to conquer and was a huge reason why I did not perform in any plays in high
school. Through the mentorship of my professor Jane Staab, I decided to even audition for a part
in Aladdin at the Wheelock Family Theatre. Taking improv, public speaking, and participating in
Aladdin really gave me the confidence and encouragement that I needed to pursue a performing
arts major.
Being a performing arts major also helped me gain courage in other areas of my life. As a
result I went from being involved in one club on campus to become a leader in several different
clubs and organizations on campus. I also made new friends and connections everywhere I went
because I was better able to advocate and speak up for myself thanks to what I had learned in my
classes first semester. Classes such as Acting I and Acting II really helped me to garner and
enhance my acting skills. I had only done acting in public as a child and spent most of my
adolescence filming myself acting out scenes by myself in my room. It was extremely beneficial
being able to get feedback on my acting and also taught me how to develop a thick skin and take
constrictive criticism. I also learned a lot about give and take and working with others thanks to
the acting classes that I took.
Taking classes like Aesthetics, History of Dramatic Literature, and African American
Music took my understanding of acting and the arts to a deeper level. I learned how to analyze
and explore the arts more deeply and helped me to understand what role the arts played in
society. This also helped to broaden my horizons and understandings of how the arts could be
incorporated in many different aspects of society. As a double major in Juvenile Justice & Youth
Advocacy and Performing Arts I am used to receiving quizzical looks and questions regarding
my professional and career choices. People seem to think that the two are very different from one
another, however I always felt that these two areas of interest would be able to work
collaboratively together. As I worked my way through my majors and corresponding classes I
began to see an even stronger connection than I had previously thought.
This was furthered by my Movement for Drama and Children class where I was
encouraged to make the connection between how I would use movement and drama in the work
that I would be doing with juveniles. I had already seen just how instrumental and helpful
performing arts would be for my work as a lawyer. It would help me with my public speaking
skills as well as acting skills. It would teach me to read an audience and use that to enhance my
argument. It would also teach me the skills necessary to think on my feet and improvise when
needed. What I did not realize until later, however, was how my performing arts major could also
help with giving the youth that I work with alternate ways and median to be able to express
themselves and their emotions. The arts can give you new ways to be able to explain your
feelings or advocate for yourself and that is something that should and could be certainly
utilizing when working with youth.
If I had not majored in Performing Arts and taken the classes that I had, here at
Wheelock, I would not have been able to recognize that as fully and as well as I have. Now when
people give me strange looks or ask what I plan on doing with two very broad majors I feel
secure and glad that I have pursued such two distinct areas of interest of mine and have been able
to find a way to make the two come together. Not many people get a chance to combine their
passions into one career path and I have been fortunate enough that I am able to do so.
My Performing Arts major has given me more than just the ability to act, it has given me
confidence in both my professional and personal life, and has given me the tools necessary to
present myself in a completely different way than I would have previous to coming to Wheelock.
This experience has been very hard at time but I have come out stronger and more empowered as
a result. I have a much deeper and richer understand of the arts as well as of myself and people
within my personal and professional life and for that I will always be grateful.