How My USC Experience Changed My Life

By Lily Amateau ‘23
The moment I got accepted to the USC summer program for their Acting Intensive Program, I was ecstatic!

When I realized that it wasn't a dream and that literally my first day was the following day, I panicked! I thought about what other people were going to think about me, if I was going to make any friends, how was I going to find my way across campus. But the scariest question that occurred to me was, “How was I going to express and share my faith in a non-religious campus?” I was not in an environment that had the safety of my Christian faith to surround me. I was swimming with the sharks. But I knew with my very heart and soul that God had a purpose for me. 
During the last week of my summer program I performed the monologue I wrote. This is what God called me to do. I wrote a five to seven minute monologue about my testimony, which they told me to write about since it was what mattered to me most. When I had to perform it to my group, having them all stare at me in plain sight was the scariest thing I have ever done. I was telling atheists, and people with different backgrounds, about my God. And, what I had thought was the scariest thing in my life, became the happiness I longed for in the program. The kids in my class told me how brave and amazing it was. I will never forget how one kid told me how amazing it was to hear from their atheist point of view. Then, my nerves calmed for the big performance. (Well, some of them.)
Next, it was not just the kids in my group I was performing in front of, but the other half of the group, along with many parents and kids from other programs. I was deeply afraid again. I remember pacing back and forth when I was up next, asking God to calm my nerves. I reminded myself that God called me to do this, at this moment, in front of these people. Then in an instant, being on stage, I let go. I let all the emotions (anger, sadness, hate) come out from the testimony that made me. The testimony that brought me to Jesus. At the end, I cried and could hear whispers from the audience believing that God really used me in that moment. I walked off stage and fell into my friend's arms and cried for about three minutes. I felt free saying my monologue, but reliving the moments of my darkest hour overwhelmed me. Nonetheless, I felt that I completed my purpose for God and I walked out of the theater, not only with the happiness of my reviews from others, but the joy of knowing that God used me as a vessel to show His love to others. 
That was my time at USC in a nutshell and what God did through it! All the Glory be to God!