Q&A with Jodie Sweetin: ‘Quit being an idiot’

Alumna Jodie Sweetin speaks about her life after Full House and her struggles with addiction. Photo by Bonnie Cash

The Panther sat down with Sweetin March 8 to ask her about her Chapman experience, “Fuller House” and advice for college students.

Q: Why did you want to speak at Chapman?
A: Well, it’s funny, because I’ve traveled all over the country doing these speaking events and I never got to come speak at my school. This is where I graduated from in 2005, and I’ve never gotten to come back and speak, so it’s really fun to get to come and share my story. A big portion of my story and a lot of it, where it began, was here, so I’m excited to get to come and share that with everyone.

Q: What was it like attending Chapman after being on “Full House”?
A: It was an interesting experience. At that point, I was 17 – the show had only been done for about four and a half years – so it was still very fresh in people’s minds. I do remember moving into the dorms and people blasting the ‘Full House’ theme song. I didn’t blend, that’s for sure, but it was great and I have wonderful friends that I’ve remained in really close contact with since I graduated.

Q: What was it like to come back with the original cast for “Fuller House”?
A: It’s been beyond a gift. I don’t think I can properly put it into words, because I don’t know there are the right words for the amount of gratitude and excitement that I have to get to do this again. I mean, these are people that I’ve loved and that I’ve been family with for almost 30 years now. To get to come back and recreate something that was so special to me as a child, this incredible working environment with the people I love, getting to do what I love and perform and make people laugh and do this as an adult with that same group of people is kind of mind-blowing.

Q: What has been your favorite memory from “Full House” or “Fuller House”?
A: I’d probably say that my favorite memory is that the first week we went back to shooting ‘Fuller House,’ my daughters came to the set and I have a picture of me and my two girls sitting on the couch in the new set of ‘Fuller
House,’ in the same space, on the same stage that we did the original show and stuff on. To come back full circle and to have walked away from something that I thought that this is it, this is done at age 13, and then have it be coming back and be sharing it with my daughters, and my parents come to every taping –– it’s just a really neat, full circle moment for me. It’s not necessarily the big stuff, but it’s those little moments that I really hold on to.

Q: What advice would you give your college self?
A: Quit being an idiot. My college self was 17, 18, I’m 35 now. I think probably the biggest thing that you learn in your 20s and 30s is that it doesn’t matter what people think. That’s hard and I still struggle with it. I’m by no means perfect, but I’m definitely more comfortable with who I am today than I was when I was 17 or 18, and I wish I could impart a little bit of that self-confidence, like, ‘You’re good, you’ve got this, you don’t have to be or try to be anyone else.’

Q: What was your favorite part of your Chapman experience?
A: I had the most amazing teachers and professors here. (William) Cumiford was one of my history instructors, and he was also my counselor when I was here. He really helped me when I was going through some rough times. I look at my time here and I learned so much. I couldn’t probably pass any test that you gave me today on any of that, but I know that when I was here it was really impactful. It really shaped the way that I discuss things and the way I see the world.
Q: What message do you want students to take away from your talk?
A: The biggest thing that has really come out of this is, yeah, I am talking about addiction and a lot of the struggles that I went through, but I think that the most important thing that I do in coming out and sharing my story is doing just that: sharing my story and sharing my humanity with people. I think that at a time right now when people are so divided and only looking at the differences of all of us, I think it is very important that we all come out and share our stories, no matter how ugly or messy or not perfect they are. I think that when we share our stories and when we share the things that make us human and make us real, that that’s really the important stuff.

Read more about Sweetin’s visit to Chapman here.

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