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The 'Hunger Games' Influence on my Journey to John Paul the Great University

The ‘Hunger Games’ Influence on my Journey to John Paul the Great University

Editor’s note: The Hunger Games are rated PG-13, with parental guidance recommended.

I am grateful for my Seton homeschool education because it taught me how to think for myself and seek a purpose in life. I am currently studying at John Paul the Great Catholic University near San Diego, California. It was quite the journey to get here; God’s hand was clearly on my endeavors, from the first day of my life onward.

From the very beginning, I was homeschooled through Seton Home Study School. It helped me immensely in so many ways. It made me a strong writer and critical thinker, taught me to be self-motivated and independent in my studies, and got me into an amazing college with a huge scholarship.

Most importantly, Seton’s amazing religion core formed me into a strong Catholic woman. I was able to attend daily mass, for which I am eternally grateful. Homeschooling allowed me to think for myself, to love God, and to dream big.

I loved sharing my Catholicism with my friends and with others through my prolife activity. I found it very fulfilling to be a witness to the beauty and pricelessness of life. I wanted to keep showing this beauty and humanity to others.

Acting out the Faith

I soon discovered that acting allowed me to do just that. I remember the first time that a burning desire to become an actress took hold of my heart. At first, I suppose the biggest draw was the fun, the adventure, and the opportunity to tell stories and be part of a family-like cast. Later, however, I wanted to act because it was my way of showing the world truth, beauty, and goodness, as found in God and in the human experience.

In high school, I took part in several plays and read many acting books in order to grow in my craft. Whenever I met an actor or someone who used to be in the film industry, I would meet with them and pester them with a hundred questions.

I started dreaming big. One of the hilarious things about my homeschool education was that my Dad, a CPA, made my sisters and I read motivational books. I begrudgingly complied at the time, but now I am glad that I read them. “No Glass Ceiling, Just Blue Sky,” was the title of one of them. The books showed me the importance of a dream, and proved that to achieve our dreams, we must set little goals along the way.

Drama Camp

Throughout high school, I was strongly leaning toward stage acting. The summer before my senior year, I decided to attend a drama camp at Liberty University taught by professors at the university in order to see whether I really wanted to make a career out of my passion. I came back from that nine-day camp feeling so ready, so on fire, so in my element… I knew there was no going back, no other path in life that I wanted to pursue.

When I realized that I couldn’t dance, I had to give up my dream of stage acting. Then I saw the first Hunger Games movie and it struck me deeply. I couldn’t get Peeta out of my head; I kept thinking about his selfless love for Katniss. It was at this point that I knew I had found something great. I decided to become a screen actress so that I could bring that feeling, that new knowledge, that experience of humanity and truth to millions of other people.

My spiritual director supported me in this dream. She said that God never puts a desire on our heart for no reason. She also said that God works through our desires and speaks to us through them; and so I should not be afraid of going where my heart called me because it was the same place God was calling me. That gave me peace.

JP Catholic

Very shortly afterwards, my eye caught sight of a little school in the San Diego area, called John Paul the Great Catholic University. It was the only school that taught acting, was strongly Catholic, was in a perfect location for media work, and would afford me an adventure. I later found out that it was also the only school that teaches acting from a Theology of the Body perspective.

I have grown so much over these ten months that I have attended JP Catholic. My acting has improved greatly, I have vastly deepened my personal relationship with Jesus, and I have such an amazing community of believers to encourage me both in my faith and in my dream. I hope that when I graduate, God will continue to lead me to the places that he has in mind for me. I know that he will allow me to use my talent for his glory. But right now, I am content to be in training.

Before, God wanted me with my family, being homeschooled in Virginia, while he prepared my heart for a dream. Now, I am confident that he wants me here. So I follow him, and ask him daily to show me how to really live for him.

Your turn: What was your most awkward or exciting moment in front of an audience?

About Hannah Dorss

Hannah Dorss

Hannah Dorss is a sophomore acting student at JPCatholic University in the San Diego Area. She enjoys theatre and film acting, as well as quizzing film industry professionals about their experiences, listening to music, working out (especially by training in Shotokan karate), and being involved in the Daughters of Divine Mercy household at her school. Her favorite quote at this time is something her acting professor says, ‘do your best work now.’

‘Hunger Games’ Art Copyright Lionsgate

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