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My Top Ten: A Look Back at My Time at Rochester

By: Emily Tworek, Class of 2020

As my time at the University of Rochester comes to a close, I’m feeling nostalgic, and I thought I would share 10 of my favorite things I’ve experienced while being a humanities student at the U of R.

1. 24 at Todd
From my first days on campus, 24 at Todd gave me a community of ambitious, artistic, and fun-loving friends. This 24-hour theatre festival is the crucible in which lifelong friends are made, not to mention that it’s a whole lot of fun. I remember waiting backstage with my new friends, listening to the play I wrote, not sure whether we would succeed or fail, and smiling when I heard the audience laugh at our antics.


2. Departmental lectures
These events don’t get enough love among undergraduates, which is a crime. Humanities departments across the college bring in leading thinkers, writers, and humanitarians.

3. Humanities for Life Program
This unique internship program gave me so much direction as a result of my participation. I was able to experience Rochester in the summer (I cannot recommend that enough!), and I learned so much from both my organization and from the organizations of the other interns. Learning about all the work these humanities nonprofits did in the Rochester community was so inspiring, and gave me a new appreciation for Rochester as a whole.

4. Any Humanities Center event involving food
The Humanities Center offers incredible events throughout the year, but my personal favorites are the ones where food is involved (are we surprised?). Expect to see Wegmans subs, freshly made hummus and pita chips, and gigantic cookies. Come for the inspiring thinkers, stay for the food!

5. Toscars
Toscars is a yearly event that honors achievements in theatre around campus, hosted by Drama House. Though the prizes are bottles of root beer, it’s a great way to come together as a theatre community at the end of the year and celebrate one another!

6. URCG Film Screenings
These film screenings happen about every week in Hoyt Hall, and there’s a new lineup of films for every season! Screenings are free, and there are always snacks and sodas free of charge to enjoy while enjoying a newly-released film with friends! My favorite was Baby Driver, which my friends and I went to a midnight showing of back in sophomore year!

7. Exploring Rochester
I can’t speak highly enough of the city of Rochester and all its quirky, artsy goodness. Whether I’m spending an afternoon strolling through the MAG’s sculpture garden, trying out a new place for brunch, catching a foreign film at the Little, or seeing a matinee at Blackfriars, there’s always something going on that’s art-related in Rochester! It would be a crime not to take advantage of all Rochester has to offer, especially in the summer.

8. Eastman operas and other performances
Not many people know this, but tickets to all Eastman performances (excluding visiting artists) are only $10 for students. That means you can see outstanding concerts and operas for only the price of a Chipotle run. I saw The Light in the Piazza last year in Kodak Hall, and I was absolutely floored by the quality of the production and the incredible talent onstage. That same year, I also snagged tickets to see Patti LuPone in concert: I was four rows away from the stage!!

Fun fact: a few months later, I met Patti Lupone in London as a part of my Theatre in England study abroad trip with the English department. If you were wondering, yes, it was one of the best days of my life.

9. Resources!
I talk often about how lucky I am to be in such a small theatre program, because the International Theatre Program surprisingly offers students to work on out-of-the-box shows with industry leaders in theatre: people who have designed for Off-Broadway and Broadway shows, and some of the country’s best directors. Apart from the theatre program, though, I am so lucky to be a humanities student in an institution where the humanities have so many resources at their disposal. The Stratford trip, for example, which is a short-term study abroad opportunity open to students of all majors, costs only $200 to go on, including transportation, lodging, a fancy dinner, and tickets to four shows.

10. The outstanding, welcoming, and diverse community that is the humanities at Rochester.
The best way I can describe what the Humanities at Rochester is like is that it’s open and diverse. Students in the humanities come from every walk of life, every country, and every experience, and they bring their individual points of view to whatever they do. Most of them have a second major, many may not be majoring in the humanities at all! They do art because it makes their soul happy, which means being a member of the arts/humanities community at Rochester is being a part of passionate, driven individuals who support each other and the art they’re making. Like the rest of Rochester, the humanities are not marked by competition, and for that I could not be more thankful!

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