I get asked on a daily basis what my major is in college. When I respond acting, I am often met with skepticism and doubt. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me what I was going to do with that or why I didn't choose something more practical, I'd be able to pay for college by myself.
I have become weathered by the responses and usually launch into the various creative opportunities my college offers me to perfect my craft. From equity to mainstage, to senior showcase, I couldn't be more lucky to be in an environment that provides me as many opportunities as it does.
It does get tiresome, though. Have to explain the rationale of my degree choice, defending my right to follow my passion. Now, I'm not about to ask for sympathy or condemn you for asking me what my plan to do with my degree is.
Heck, I'm not even asking you to come to my show (even though it's a very worthwhile production full of budding actors who work hard long hours to produce the final product). All I'm asking is that you take into consideration just why you think I'm pursuing a degree in acting before you ask condescending questions.
My average weekday starts at 6 A.M. I grab a banana and head out the door. Because of the rigor in the degree program, I am taking an 18-hour course load to stay on track. Though I know performance-based classes are not as hard as organic chem, they do require a lot of outside work.
Not to mention, as new students, we need to be seizing new opportunities within the program. This looks like 3-hour rehearsal 5 nights a week. Add in an additional class rehearsal, a sorority meeting, and a group project work time, and that puts me in bed around 12. My days look about the same all week.Why is running myself into the ground worth it? Because for 20 minutes, when we ran through our show tonight, I was alive. I was present in the moment with the people around me, living a life that wasn't mine. Was I exhausted before we began? You bet. But there is nothing that compares to the feeling of being on stage playing a story and a character. Theatre allows you to travel and experience without ever buying a plane ticket. It is the one thing, it is those 20 minutes, that makes every day worth the lost sleep, meals, and quality time.
Like I said, I'm not asking for your sympathy. All I'm asking is that you consider maybe asking "what are you working on?" or "what's your next project?" Instead of questioning the entirety of my degree. Consider that for a moment, some people don't want to get business degrees. Not that there's anything wrong with a business degree. However, I'm willing to fight to do what I love for a living. Will I make it? Maybe. Will I be broke? Oh hell yeah. Will I be happy with my decision for the rest of my life? Of course.
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