Angel Smigielski

Acting (BA) '21, with Minors in Poetry and ASL

What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia? 

The most surprising thing I learned at Columbia is that my future is solely that—mine! There are so many ways people tell you how to “make it” in the entertainment industry (and in life, if you think about it), and when I got in-depth into my craft, picked up my minors, and got to talk to real people about the field, it became clear that whatever way I make it is, in fact, the right way to make it. 

What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial? 

The courses I found most beneficial were my advanced acting courses and my intensive writing classes. Those were the prime places where I got to play and shape myself as an artist (with no judgement, might I add). For my Theatre majors, please check out Solo Performance with Stephanie Shaw when you get the chance. My writers: look for Tony Trijilo. ASL: Malinda Tran! All these professors and their classes welcomed me to explore myself as an artist and person, and they made me feel supported in this adventure while being there with band-aids if I fell. 

What are your plans for after graduation? 

The plan is to get signed to an agency and get out there as an actor. I hope to make a foundation for myself in Chicago, and hopefully branch out to places like New York or Atlanta after I feel ready. In terms of my minors, I want to continue writing poetry and use it to branch out into print and entertainment, and the same with ASL. Most of all, I’d just like to be happy making art, and making money while I do it. 

Do you have any advice for current students? 

My advice: just do it! Life is truly what you make it, so just make it! You want to be their friend? Go do it! You want that job? Go ask for it! You have an idea for an art piece? Go make it! Nike had the right idea, so make it your idea, too. Life waits for no one. 

If you were going to sum up your experience at Columbia in one sentence, what would you say? 

My Columbia experience was life-changing, something that I’ll always be grateful for.