Getting to Know Allison Billmeyer

Allison Billmeyer

Allison Billmeyer

Getting to Know Allison Billmeyer

Pocatello has residents of all ages, interests and abilities. Sometimes, however, we think we know people just because they have been here for years and years. At other times, we look at young residents of our town and perhaps think they probably don’t know themselves enough to be interesting. In both cases, we might be wrong, so the purpose of these articles is to provide a glimpse of random individuals so that 1) we might expand our understandings and 2) develop our abilities to find out more about others by listening and learning.

For this exercise I chose a nineteen year old young woman willing to talk with me about her personality, interests and perspectives. Glimpses of these characteristics are visible in her activities and education, so here we go.  Allison Billmeyer lived in Arizona, Kansas and Wisconsin until 2007 when her parents moved to Pocatello, Idaho. Her father, Kurt Conrad Billmeyer, died when she was almost ten  years old and so the adults in her life have been her mother, Cynthia Billmeyer, her grandparents and family friends.

Life can be tough when one of our parents is no longer present to help develop our intellect, interests and ways of interpreting the world. Allison, however, has done well in school, has had many friends and was a busy girl throughout elementary school. Most of all, she has a mother who through genetics and a caring nature, has been extremely important in giving Allison the freedom to pursue her interests and desires.

When the need to choose a secondary school came about, Allison decided upon the Idyllwild School of the Arts in Southern California. This school is nestled in the mountains above Palm Springs. Although close to the California desert, evergreens and altitude keep the school area beautiful and sometimes it even brings  snow in winter. Allison had made an early decision that theater was going to be in her future.  Why? Well, partially, she saw the intent of most plays is to examine different ways of life which can affect not only the perceptions of audience members, but the actors. For her, this implies using her empathy to understand the range of human nature and its variety of expression.

This young woman exhibits such characteristics as being independent, desirous of making her own decisions and also willing to deal with the results. This can be painful for those who take the wrong direction when making decisions; but for Allison it provides an opportunity to look for other pathways. Her descriptions of her capabilities include being independent, curious, adventurous and friendly. Each of those can include the possibility of taking a wrong turn at times, but with a shrug of a shoulder, Allison not only marches on but sees these experiences as a way of learning. When it comes to problem solving, she seeks solutions without asking someone else to take over.  Intuitive thinking sometimes requires trying things in different ways,  and for that she enjoys the challenge.

After graduating from secondary school at Idyllwild, Allison applied to the University of Utah so she could continue her education in acting.  When I first met her, one of my comments was to encourage  traveling and meeting residents of those countries. My purpose in doing that is to encourage others to learn that we are all more alike than different. People often say that to travel to other countries takes lots of money, but there are so many opportunities for going abroad such as teaching English, joining the Peace Corps, joining an NGO, going to college and so on.

I was somewhat taken aback  when Allison described her travels in the U.S. plus  traveling abroad with her church group. As an example, this summer, she and several other students of her age went to Spain and hiked two hundred miles of the Camino Santiago Trail. They did that in two weeks and then she came home to Pocatello to spend time with her mother before going on to Salt Lake to take a summer course in math and get a job so she can save  money for school. Courses at The University of Utah. as per their descriptions, will provide her the opportunity to enhance her desire for learning about acting. They will also undoubtedly expose her to other valuable information and  understandings.

To discuss personality styles is interesting but often difficult when individuals have not explored the reasons and inclinations they exhibit when making decisions, personal choices, and ways of learning. With Allison,this discussion had the effect of opening doors to thought, intent, aims and perceptions. For me, it was a truly interesting experience because her understanding of her own intentions and ways of seeing the world had clarity.  For all of us, personality attributes are important, but sometimes they are thought of as being blurred, misunderstood, or not useful when guided in specific directions or pathways to be taken in order to achieve ‘important’ goals. For that reason, I usually suggest that students should wait until close to finishing college. Therefore, when meeting a person such as Allison, my first response was “wait to decide what your future will be;  explore possibilities so that you have tested a variety of choices and then turn your  energy and intellect toward your choice.”  Oops! she was several jumps ahead of me. So, I was glad to have had the opportunity to interview such a bright and forward thinking individual. Thank you, Allison.

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