PA to NJ: Theatre Major, Education Minor Elliot Colahan

Elliot stands in a wooded area on campus.

Today, we speak to PA native Elliot Colahan! Elliot is a sophomore Theatre major with concentrations in Acting, Musical Theatre and Theatre Education with a minor in Education from Malvern, PA. Elliot tells us more about why he chose to cross the bridge over to Jersey.

Elliot posing and standing outside Robinson Hall.

What are some fun off-campus things to do within 20 minutes of Rowan on this side of the bridge?

This is a very “theatre major” answer, but bear with me — I really love going to all the different theatres in the Glassboro area! There are so many different ones close by, and it’s always super cool to see what shows are being performed each year. I also love going to grab a bite to eat before going to see a performance! There are a ton of super cute and fun restaurants nearby, with a special shout-out to The Pop Shop in Collingswood. Looking for some super great pancakes? That’s the place to go!

Why did you choose to leave PA for college?

One of the biggest things I wanted out of college was a new, fresh start. Originally, I hadn’t planned that a different state would be part of that fresh start. In fact, Rowan was one of two colleges on my list that wasn’t in Pennsylvania. But as I did some more research and started to tour colleges and audition at various places, it kinda hit me that there’s something super magical about getting to say you go to school in a completely different place than where you live. At the same time, I’m never too far away from home when I start to miss my mom’s garlic bread or my dad’s movie collection. It’s the perfect mix for me!

Why did you choose Rowan?

I really fell in love with the environment here! I came for a shadow day to see what it was like to be a student in classes, and I had an absolute blast. I met some really amazing people that I’m still close with today, and got to check out some classes that I’m still looking forward to taking in my next few years here. Rowan is truly a second home, and I’m really happy with my choice to come here.

Elliot sitting on a rock outside on campus.

What is one thing about South Jersey that was a happy surprise for you or different than you expected?

I don’t think I ever realized how often people go to the beach around here! Back home, we would always have to plan our beach trips weeks in advance, and make sure we’d have enough time to have a good day at the shore and get back before midnight. Here, people will randomly say “Hey, let’s go to Ocean City!” And then they just do it! It’s so weird to see, but I for one am not complaining about it at all. 

Have you adopted any “Jersey” tendencies?

Hmm, this is a tough one. Nothing that I’m aware of? I’m certainly more aware of New Jersey culture than I was before — specifically that I should never get into an argument about whether Central Jersey exists or not. I’ve also gotten a lot more used to New Jersey traffic over the past year. Crosswalks are now my new best friend, but don’t tell Pennsylvania that.

Elliot smiling and sitting outside on campus.

How has choosing to move out of your hometown area for school benefited you?

Moving to a new state that’s completely separate from my hometown has made me feel very free and open! Everyone in my college life only knows me from here, so I don’t need to think about who I was in middle school, in clubs, in any of that. I’m still myself, but I can be me with a lot less stress. It’s a really wonderful feeling.

What advice do you have for Pennsylvania residents leaving PA to go to school in NJ?

Go into things with as much of an open mind as you can! Some things are going to be identical, and others are going to be bizarrely different. Go with the flow and don’t forget to be you! And yes, Wawa’s still exist in New Jersey, so you’ll be fine.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

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