“It can be hard to follow through on what you care most about because you never know what may happen, but I know wholeheartedly that this is what makes me happy and that’s what is most important.”
With graduation upon us, we spoke to some of CFA’s talented #LMU20 graduates as they gear up to leave LMU and take on the world. In our We Love Our Grads series, we asked a graduating student from each of our departments to share some words about their time here, as well as their plans for the future.
Jessica Dickerson ‘20
Major: Theatre Arts
Career Goals: Professional Actor
How did you decide to become a theatre arts major?
Before I came to LMU, I studied education at a different university and one of the mandatory classes was introduction to theatre. I fell in love immediately, and after some soul searching, realized that my interest in education was more about job security than passion. I really enjoyed working on characters and dissecting Shakespeare, and found myself dreaming of a life where I did this as a career. I had an epiphany, and decided to chase my dreams of acting. I knew that if I didn’t try this, I would always regret it. I decided to apply to other schools, but this time as a theatre major to train professorially and get a full understanding of the industry I wanted to join. LMU was perfect for me, with a small team of great faculty members who offer individualized attention and mentorship.
Tell us a little about your time at LMU!
During my years at LMU, I committed to focusing on developing my theatrical skills and understanding how film and theatre functioned. My first role in the theatre was as a crew member who had to help actors put on their socks and shoes during quick changes. This led to me becoming an assistant stage manager for LMU’s production of Intimate Apparel, where I learned about the rehearsal process and the importance of the crew.
I also participated in events like Haunting of Hannon where I can proudly say I was a top-notch possessed nun. I continued to audition for roles where I then landed the dream role of Marina in LMU’s Shakespeare on the Bluff production of Pericles. Who doesn’t want to be a badass princess? After that, I was cast in Save the Pier, a play performed on the Santa Monica Pier, The Staged Reading of Detained, and was a costume designer for the Del Rey Players production of A Doll’s House. My plate was always full but it was always with something I enjoyed, that challenged me, and surrounded me with great people.
What are your post-graduation plans and how did you come to that decision?
I have always known that I’ll stay in Los Angeles and continue to pursue acting professionally, since film and television auditions and productions are so often here in L.A. It can be hard to follow through on what you care most about because you never know what may happen, but I know wholeheartedly that this is what makes me happy and that’s what is most important.
Did you have a particular experience that led you to this path?
Besides all the amazing people who believed in me, I would say staying true to myself. This is also the hardest thing to do because the practical part of life can get in the way. So, the true first step of my journey was really believing in myself, and the belief that I can do anything I set my mind to.
How do you feel you experience at LMU prepared you for this next step?
It’s funny that when you are applying to colleges you don’t realize the impact that that school will have on you. I picked LMU because of the small individualized classroom setting and I left LMU with life-long friends, mentors, and experiences that I will never take for granted. Now, don’t get me wrong, there were many ups and downs where I began to doubt myself but I think that is truly the remarkable thing LMU did for me, preparing me for life as an artist. I now understand that the path I’ve chosen isn’t easy or glamorous, it’s a lot of unrecognized hard work but it is all so very rewarding for those few moments where I get to do what I love. My next step is to keep hustling just as I did on campus and I might win some, I might lose some but I will always be centered by my confidence and training giving to me by LMU.
What will you miss most about LMU?
I will miss the close-knit community, being able to see and hug my friends often, and I’ll miss working with the amazing faculty who always pushed me to do my best.
What advice do you have for underclassmen?
Never be scared to believe in your dreams.