Amanda Jacobs, Class of 2011

Like Hermia in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, I felt as though I was in a state of disarray. Although I was not involved in a love triangle like Hermia, I couldn’t quite figure out what steps to take in order to maintain balance between my work schedule and going back to school. Before I started Free Minds, I had some idea of what I wanted to do with my life but no clue on how to restore order. I knew that I had to figure out a plan of action so that both my daughter and I would benefit.

I never had any interest in Shakespeare or any of his works besides Romeo and Juliet. That interest came from needing to earn a passing grade in my high school English class. When A Midsummer Night’s Dream was introduced in Free Minds, I was nervous because I didn’t believe that I was going to understand it. But reading and actually staging scenes from the play with Mr. Clayton Stromberger from UT’s Shakespeare at Winedale program was something magical. It was as though I was under the same spell that Puck placed on the various characters in the play. My own eyes were opened to something brand new.  I was able to gain a whole new perspective on the story.

Going to the UT campus to see the play and another individual’s interpretation was an added treat. The portrayal of the enchanted forest, including Bottom the weaver and his friends Snug, Snout, Quince and Flute by the Actors from the London Stage, was beyond hilarious.

The past few months that I have been involved with Free Minds I have noticed a change within myself. I have noticed that I have become more vocal and more willing to express my personal opinions in discussions. Just as in the end of the play, when Hermia and the other lovers end up safe and married back in Athens, I too can sense that order is being restored in my life. Now I have a better idea of what path I want to take and where I really want to be in the future.

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