An Autobiography of Sorts

My Name is Andrew Hitzhusen and I am a theatre/history double major at Northwestern University. Andrew, according to the folkways of my parents, means Lion of God. Andrew was also the name of the hurricane that landed the same year of my birth and remains the costliest hurricane in United States history, according to Wikipedia. I like to think I exist somewhere between the two.

I grew up in Worcester MA, a son of two Midwestern transplants, both doctors, both Methodists, both voracious word eaters. My father is a gentle man, who in another life would probably have been a minister. My mother, intelligent as she is fierce, lives up to the Hitzhusen name, which, according to more family folk myths, means Hot House. I proudly bear my mother’s name and occasionally the Hitzhusen family temper. But I like to think I exist somewhere between the two.

I have an older brother and a younger sister. Matt, my elder brother, is 13 years older. He’s been my idol and my inspiration for much of my conscious life. He graduated from college and law school at the top of his class, and followed his passion for physical fitness into opening his own gym and being a personal trainer. He’s exacting, witty, and passionate. My younger sister was adopted from Romania when I was three and she was two. She has Reactive Attachment Disorder, dyslexia and ADD, and struggled growing up. But she has worked incredibly hard to achieve a high school diploma and now she’s attending college part time and on the Worcester Rollerderby team. She’s open hearted, emotionally intelligent, and stalwart in her faith in Jesus, magic, and fairies. I definitely exist between the two.

As you might be able to tell, I use the idea of divergent dichotomies often in my self-identity. Part of me has always done this, but I have found it specifically useful after I was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder. What this means for me is that I often exist between two extremes. When I’m feeling up, I feel like I can conquer the world. And when I am feeling down, it feels like the world has conquered me. I have always felt things deeply, crying and laughing in equal measure, but now I know to be careful with both my ups and downs. With the help of my Pillars, I like to think I exist between the two.

At Northwestern, I have the opportunity to study two of my favorite subjects: Theatre and History. For me, both are about telling stories. Both give the opportunity to explore the human condition and the lives of people. They both offer a chance to imagine the possibilities of the future and tactics to approach our own everyday lives. They are also just incredibly fun.

This love of stories and fun brought me to Creative Drama. But there is another reason which is rather pressing on my mind. I’m at a point in my education where I get to take the leap out into the world and into a profession. And I’ve thought a lot about teaching High School Students. When I took time off from NU during my sophomore year, I assisted a ceramics class at the Worcester Craft Center where I worked with 6 freshmen girls. They were at a moment of discovery in their lives, when they were starting to put together their identities. And that seemed like magic to me. I want to be part of that process, help them feel confident and safe as they experiment with who they will become. But I’m terrified. I want to be part of all of that, but I don’t know how. And that’s why I wanted to take Creative Drama.

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