By Alison Perelman, Assistant Culture Editor

Vaysha sets her sheet music on the piano for the accompanist to see. It’s “I Know Where I’ve Been” from “Hairspray,” and she knows the song well — she was the understudy for Motormouth Maybelle in high school.

“There’s one section that I can’t get for the life of me. It’s that B flat.”

Vaysha points to where she plans on starting and ending. The accompanist asks for the tempo and Vaysha sings a
cappella at first.

“I will try to follow along,” the accompanist says, and she begins to play.

This is Vaysha’s first semester back at Miami since her medical leave of absence — she worked hard to get back and decided to jump right in. She’s involved in her residence hall’s CLT, hopes to join a leadership fraternity and is a member of Stage Left.

Vaysha is a psychology major with a minor in theatre, planning on using both for her future career — drama therapy.

“You basically use theatre to act out your feelings and ways to try to resolve how you’re feeling,” she said. “It helps with depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, if you have PTSD.”

She is passionate about both psychology and theatre and has a personal connection having struggled with depression before.

“I want to be able to find ways to not only help myself, but I hope to use my career path to help other people so that they don’t have to go through the same thing that I did.”

But for now, she’s taking opportunities for herself and preparing for her audition for
Stage Left’s musical.

“Usually, I just use theatre to express myself ‘cause I’m just a naturally shy person … But when I’m onstage it’s like I’m a whole different person,” Vaysha said. “I’m more outgoing and it’s easier for me to open up to people.”

Vaysha moves slightly with the music, going through the whole piece before focusing on the interval she has trouble singing. Her voice is low and almost gospel — nothing like her talking voice.

“Yay, I got it,” Vaysha says with a small smile, finally content.