Graduation letters: Ah-Jeong Kim


Brandon Sarmiento

Illustration by Brandon Sarmiento

Ah-Jeong Kim

Ah-Jeong Kim is the chair of the theater department in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication. You can learn more about her here.

As the chair of the department of theater, I congratulate you on reaching this important milestone. You persevered through the rigors of the academic demands while surviving the unprecedented global pandemic! When “liveness” was taken away from the theater arts worldwide, you spent countless hours on zoom, and even more hours in the rehearsal rooms, labs and classrooms when we returned to in-person instruction. All the while, many of you held several jobs to afford your education. This moment speaks volumes and highlights your resiliency that shows who you are and all the great potential the future holds!

Reflecting on my own college graduation decades ago, I am struck by how much the world has changed. It was the pre-internet era (hard to imagine, right?) and it was a time when things moved slower. Sadly, even with all the technological advancements, our world is faced today with challenges that were unimaginable back then. From the climate crisis to the on-going war and every other disaster in between, we seem to be surrounded by destruction, violence and negativity. Despite all of this, I still encourage you to build hope, to be courageous, and to live to your fullest potential because life is precious and it is worth living.

As theater artists in a liberal-arts-based Bachelor of Arts program, you acted, directed, built the sets, costumes, lights, and managed, while reading and analyzing the world theater history and dramatic literature. Through this process, you sharpened your creativity through interpersonal communication and collaboration that are the hallmarks of theater arts education and training. Creativity, communication, and collaboration are requisites in the Fourth Industrial age you will be living in. Whether you choose to pursue a career in the arts or in another field, my advice is to not chase easy money, since if you run after it, that money will run away from you! Instead, you can use your talents and your voice to bring about positive changes to our world which needs hope and positivity more than ever!

“Follow your bliss,” said Joseph Campbell, the author of “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” But knowing to pursue your dreams is never easy as there will be obstacles along the way. It takes hard work, patience and consistency, and no matter how insurmountable the present situation may seem, never give up! I urge you to do your best to pursue your dreams, to stand up for what you believe in, and to make a difference in the world. Thus, in doing everything, trivial or significant, give all your attention and put “us” first before “me,” while keeping in mind our community, the country, the world and the humanity. If you keep at it, you will become a leader.

The unforgettable Class of 2023! I am glad CSUN Theatre played a part in your formative years as a young artist, and as your journey continues into the world, remember that there is a community of supporters for you wishing the very best with all your endeavors. Congratulations again and break a leg!