One of Whittier College’s students of the arts and humanities that will be walking the stage at graduation this May is fourth-year Cristian Castillo. As a Double Major in English and Theater, with an emphasis in both Creative Writing and Performance, Castillo has dedicated his four-year experience at Whittier towards his vision of living a life for creating.
Castillo was raised in Mexico until he was 10 years old. When his grandmother passed away, his mother saw that they had few family members in their home country — most having moved to the U.S.
Whittier College offered Castillo plenty of financial support, which he appreciated. When visiting the campus, he realized that the College would give him what he needed to create the life he wanted. “You can shape it at your liking, and that’s what really attracted me — to have that control to be able to really take my experience and make it what I wanted it to be,” said Castillo. He found the opportunity to carve his own life as a blessing.
Growing up, Castillo had always been a performer and found inspiration in the arts and humanities. From on-campus internships through the Dean of Students Office and the Office of International Programs, to off-campus internships at the LA Opera and OUT Magazine, his time at the College
During his time with OUT Magazine, Castillo thought about studying sociology, as the program provided a great field
Castillo claims that writing and performing never stop evolving; that he never wants to stop improving his skills. “Because they are my disciplines, they are my disciplines
Castillo does not believe that his future is to become famous and to perform for a living. What he does believe in is that, as an artist, he can envision a life that he enjoys. He always sees himself on the stage — being a director, writing, and bringing people together to make art. “That is something that, even if I’m not getting paid, or I’m doing it from my terrace, I know I’ll be doing it,” said Castillo. This is how Castillo knows that art and performance are not only hobbies or passions, but an extension of who he is. “What you really discover is that if you love it, you can carve out the life you need for your expression,” said Castillo.
Currently, Castillo has his production, Rose in the Desert, coming to life Thursday, April 5 at 7 p.m.
In addition to his play, Castillo is also preparing himself for his life after graduation. He has applied to many graduate schools: Yale, Northwestern University, University of Santa Barbara, and Mount Saint Mary College. Castillo’s ambition for graduate school is to earn a PhD in performance. He does not plan to drop his studies in English and he looks forward to
As graduation approaches, Castillo reflects on the person he was when he first came to Whittier, and who he is now that he is leaving. He finds that he has become bolder, braver, less apologetic, and prouder. “When I came on to the campus, I felt like I was ashamed of something, or I was
Throughout all the opportunities that Whittier College has provided Castillo, he will miss the staff and professors who were key figures to his college exeperience most. These staff members, as Castillo says he has told them, have all been
Castillo recalls when Professor of English Wendy Furman-Adams told him, “We’re all rooting for you,” and how those five words gave him encouragement that the world was not against him. As he heads out into the world, such encouragement makes Castillo believe that anything is possible.