It\u2019s taken a lot of time and thought to realize this, but these past four years theater has made me understand that sometimes it\u2019s what\u2019s under the surface that really makes something great.A few weeks ago I was filling out the \u201cpost-high school questionnaire\u201d (that was definitely not supposed to be done before summer)* and one of the questions asked how an extra-curricular has affected my life. I\u2019m certainly not involved with it because of all the glorious solo stage-time I\u2019m getting (I\u2019m not) or for all of the musical rehearsals where I need to be privately taught by the choreographer in order to grasp a stupidly simple step \u2014 so why have I done every show I could and why do I keep coming back to it? After further reflection, I think I have an answer for it, and for my obscenely overdue questionnaire.It\u2019s the little things. It\u2019s not about how many times I fall on my face (I\u2019m using that phrase literally and you know it) during my freshman dance audition, it\u2019s about the senior who sacrificed her own time to pull me aside and teach me the steps herself. Theater will put me in a situation with a particularly \u2026 difficult improv audience volunteer but provide me with an ensemble who supports me through the chaos. It keeps me coming back for more because it keeps putting people in my life who make dealing with it enjoyable. The rejection brings us together and the stress makes us closer.Sure, it can bring out the worst and the best in people, but it cultivates an environment of acceptance and love because everyone who knows this knows how bad the sting of rejection can feel. Nobody wants to make anybody else feel the way that not getting a callback feels, so the majority of people make a real effort to be genuinely inclusive. After my first rehearsal freshman year, a senior and junior took me out to get donuts just so I could feel included. When a person is upset by harsh decisions, a group of others will drop what they\u2019re doing to cheer them up \u2014 be it with funny videos or an outing to Orem\u2019s for mounds of comfort food. When people notice that someone is even slightly downcast at rehearsal, five or six people will assure her that they\u2019re there if she needs them. Theater can do a lot of harm to a person\u2019s self-esteem without even trying, but that\u2019s nothing compared to the good that all the other kids do to counteract it.I can\u2019t believe it\u2019s gotten to the point where I am in a position of leadership. I can be that senior bringing unsuspecting freshmen to get donuts or make them feel undeniably included. This has given me three years of students who made my time something I looked forward to, even if my name wasn\u2019t where I wanted it to be on the cast list. That\u2019s something I want to pay forward, and I\u2019ll try my hardest. Anyone who\u2019s willing to put him\/herself out there to be critiqued and judged and worked to the max deserves to be treated with kindness and love by the people doing it with them.I guess I\u2019ve stuck around so long because it\u2019s made me better, onstage and especially off. It taught me a lot about singing and acting and inclusivity. It\u2019s not about if my name is on the callback list or not, it\u2019s about having the support system to handle whichever. It\u2019s not about someone\u2019s mistake onstage, it\u2019s about them knowing that they\u2019re walking offstage into open arms and voices telling them they were fantastic regardless. Theater is supposed to create a competitive nature, but all I\u2019ve seen is love and people working together to make stress bearable and even enjoyable. So thank you, WHS Theater, for allowing me to learn how to handle rejection in a healthy way, for some wonderful teachers who are guiding me to becoming better onstage, and especially for the incredible people of all ages (from freshmen in high school to juniors in college now) who have shown acceptance through their actions \u2014 not just words.Oh, and to everyone reading this, come see The Pajama Game in May!*I started this article in the fall, and just now finished it. I promise, the questionnaire wasn\u2019t that late. Brooke Amodei is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.