Cheyenne Dalton works all day studying theatre design and technology at Auburn University. At night and all weekend for several months recently, she was immersed in the hard, hard work of remodeling a house that sounds like a candidate for the scrap heap. She wrote:

The walls were covered in nicotine; the carpet was stained beyond description. I have never seen linoleum coated in so much dirt. Cabinets in the kitchen were missing knobs and handles, and light bulbs were missing or broken. One bathroom's plumbing had completely rotted and lay in pieces under the house, not to mention both bathroom floors had to be taken up completely. Wallpaper hung in strips, glue tacked to the walls. I don't think we were expecting this job to be so difficult.

But Dalton wasn't daunted; in fact, she credits her theater studies with helping her succeed. "I was used to the sweat, the heavy lifting, the painting, the problem solving, the carpentry, and most of all, the long hours," she writes. "I was never slowed down by not knowing how to use a tool, and I even learned a few transferable skills."

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