“The moment it changed was when I stopped thinking ‘What do I want to do,’ and I started to think ‘What do I do well that can be a service or a gift to others.’”
Abram Rice found himself drawn to Brigham Young University-Idaho. During a college fair in high school, the booth for BYU-I caught his eye. They were playing the talk where Henry B. Eyring prophesied the students would become legendary. “I thought, ‘A place with a mission like that, that’s where I want to be.’” He went on a tour of campus and said when he entered the I-Center, “It was like a wall of the Spirit.” And so, he came to BYU-Idaho.
Being involved with many Shakespeare plays in high school, Abram had an idea of doing something with theater for his career. However, being a little unsure, as most freshmen are, he decided to spend the first couple semesters at BYU Idaho trying out different classes. He took theater, communication, and business classes. However, he couldn’t find a major that seemed quite right for him. After a while, no matter how unsure he was, it was time to decide.
He printed off all the majors BYU-I offered and highlighted the ones he was interested in. He then looked at the classes of those majors to see if he was interested in taking them. Then, Abram remarks, “I realized it was very specific things within different majors that I wanted.” It was then that he noticed the Interdisciplinary Studies degree. After learning about this degree, Abram realized this was the solution, “I thought ‘This is perfect for me!’”
Abram learned that he could use the IDS degree to practice theater as his concentration, and learn business management and communication management as his two clusters. This would also help him towards a Master’s degree in Arts Administration. “Those are the guys that run a theater,” Abram clarifies. When asked about when he decided he wanted to run his own theatre, Abram reflects:
“I was a T.A. for a teacher, and she had a guest speaker come. He was talking about how he worked for Disney as one of their hotel managers. He told a story about giving a gift to a child, and then Goofy walked around the corner, who was this child’s favorite Disney character, and the kid started crying; he was so happy! And I thought, ‘That’s so sweet. I want to be a part of that for the rest of my life.’ … That was the point where I thought, ‘I shouldn’t be focusing on what I want to do. I should be focusing on what I can give to other people.’”
Abram continued to discover his dream of running a theatre during his internship at the Playmill Theatre in West Yellowstone, Wyoming. Some of his favorite roles include Sebastian in The Little Mermaid and Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun. “While I was doing that, I was acting, but they also had us do concessions, we also seated the guests and there was a lot of customer service. I realized that I enjoyed the other things just as much as I enjoyed acting. So, it was clear to me I have more passions than just acting.”
Abram continued to explain, “I enjoy business. That’s not something all theatre people enjoy doing. So, if I can learn the business part, I can be the business guy in the room, and then the people that really love acting can do the acting. ...I can do the business, though. That’s something that I can give.”
With about a year left at BYU-I and having just applied for his IDS Capstone project, Abram is excited to continue his education with the pursuit of his Master’s degree. He’s enjoyed having the customization of the Interdisciplinary Studies degree, which has allowed him to diversify his skill set throughout theater, business, and communication management. He said, “I need the things I’m learning in all three areas.” He also reflects on the classes he had taken those first couple semesters. By choosing an IDS degree, those classes were no longer taking up his electives. “It might have felt like I had been wasting time trying to figure things out, when in reality, by doing the IDS degree, I had been progressing towards my graduation the whole time.”