Everyone here is very accepting. They help nudge me out of my comfort zone without giving me a big shove.
Leaving your comfort zone takes courage. Courage can be come by in a variety of ways, whether it be naturally, through individual self-growth, or through learning to overcome challenges. Laura Hellwege happens to be a beautiful combination of all three.
From a young age, Laura exhibited a natural ability to perform. “I love acting because I’ve always been really good at bouncing off people’s energy. In normal interactions, I’m usually pretty concerned about offending people, but when you’re acting it doesn’t matter, because it’s the characters talking and not you. You get to live someone else’s life for a few hours.”
Even though Laura has always loved acting, her participation in the theatre department at Concordia was not always a choice. “I was involved in the theatre department mostly because of my scholarship. It required me to join in and try out for productions I may not have had to otherwise. I’ve grown so much from that.”
Another major aspect of Laura’s life and Concordia experience has been her love of music. “I’ve been a musician for most of my life. I’ve been playing piano for 12 years. I’ve seen how therapeutic that has been for me, and I want to help people experience that same thing.”
This led Laura to pursue a degree in music therapy. “I honestly didn’t know much about the program before I got here, but the more I learned about it, the more I fell in love with it.” Laura sees herself eventually working with an older population. “I’m currently working in a nursing home and I just love learning more about my residents and how I can better help them.”
Initially, Laura was interested in music therapy because of her natural inclination to help people, but it didn’t take her long to realize there would be times where she’d be pushed out of her comfort zone. “Something we learn in one of our first music therapy classes is perfecting our elevator pitch. It’s a relatively new thing, so you must do a lot of self-promoting. It can be scary, but it’s a great program and I’m excited to be a part of its growth.”
Through her supportive friends, Laura is able to find the courage she needs to promote herself, going against her naturally humble disposition. “When I first got here, I found a great group of people to connect with. The friends I’ve made here are great and they support me through good and bad times.” Laura has similarly found a love for the professors at Concordia. “All of the professors love what they do and love to teach, and that’s not super common at universities. You can tell that they care.”
The combination of these experiences eventually made it clear to Laura the reason why people leave their comfort zone. “I really like my comfort zone, but I know I can’t grow there. In order to make an impact, I need to be able to leave that place and reach out.”