Thats the word Jordan Hickling used to characterize his biggest motivation for the life-changing move he made over Christmas break.
A senior theatre major, Hickling has been a fixture of Cedarville performances throughout his college career, including his most recent starring role as Algernon in the universitys fall production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Enamored with acting since childhood, Hickling recently admitted to feeling as though hed been on cruise control, simply going through the motions of high school and college. But all those years, he said, a dream had been forming in the back of his mind. The first semester of his senior year, he decided to reach for it.
So I got in the car, drove 3,000 miles, and here I am.
Now, here for Hickling is Los Angeles, film capital of the world. For this thespian, it was time to get out of the classroom and start garnering real-world experience.
In a recent phone interview, Hickling explained that the gutsy move didnt come without careful consideration.
Im not completely stupid to the point where Im going to just get in the car, drive to L.A., and say, Hey, Im here! he said. He had been in contact with several Cedarville alumni in southern California for over a year, and they had kept a spot open for him to room with them.
It was a major plus, he said. The first thing you want is a place to stay.
With contacts, housing, and money secured, he said that while the trip itself was spontaneous, it had been in the works since his childhood. But he still knew the decision would be met with varying reactions.
After formally making the decision over Thanksgiving break, Hickling said, I got back to Cedarville and had a lot of explaining to do, especially with my adviser. I told him my plan, and the first words to come out of his mouth were, Just go for it! I couldnt believe it.
Hickling said that he thought his adviser, assistant theatre professor Bob Clements, would try to tell him to finish his education first. But Hickling said the professor was supportive.
He said, I cant say anything. You are driven by ambition and a dream. I cant stop that, and I dont want to stop that.
And while Clements himself declined to comment on what he believed was a private matter, he did say that he wished his student the best of luck.
Ill be keeping him in my prayers, he said, then continued with a laugh. All I have to say is, he better win an Oscar, and thank me in his speech when he does.
Hickling said one of the questions hes answered most is how his family reacted to the monumental decision. He was glad to report that his parents had been very supportive, saying that he should make the venture, knowing that he had enough of a safety net to fall back on.
They had a joint feeling of he needs to try this and were OK with that, as long as he keeps trusting in God, Hickling said. They want me to keep my focus on Christ and the one who gave me this desire to move to L.A.
Now that hes in Hollywood, Hickling said hes grateful for the foundation Cedarville theatre gave him.
Its a great experience, and they teach you to see God in every aspect of your art, he said.
With 17 credits remaining to attain his degree, Hickling plans to graduate from Cedarville at some point, though finishing is not currently a priority.
I will get my degree, he said. Write this down: Im an advocate for education.
If you have a degree, youre more respected. If you dont and youre an actor, thats probably all right. But if youre anything else, youre not going to make it out here at all.
After only a few weeks in Los Angeles, Hickling said the venture had already started to bear fruit. Hes been in contact with a producer and found an agent who is interested in representing him. Hes even appeared as a featured extra in a VH1 pilot.
Already God has been putting my foot in the door, he said.
For now, Hickling is content, and hopeful about the future.
I made it, I prayed about it, and I feel that if it were the wrong decision, God wouldnt have allowed it to work out because its not what he wanted, he said.
I believe this is where he wants me right now. Why? I dont know. I dont know if he wants me out here for acting, or maybe just to realize this isnt my place. Its going to take some time and money to figure that out. As of right now Im glad I made that decision.