BWW Blog: You're Not In High School Drama Club Anymore
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR TRANSITIONING FROM CAST PARTIES TO FRAT PARTIES
"You're not in high school drama club anymore" was the first thing a college acting professor said upon entering the room on my first day of freshman year. There was something completely terrifying about hearing that phrase out loud, even for those of us who weren't even in a "drama club" to begin with. My professor scanned the room of already terrified freshmen, sat down, and began to laugh at us. "Okay, so how was that?!" He asked. As we all began to laugh uncomfortably, we tried to figure out exactly what it was that made his statement so intimidating.
Was there a "safe" connotation with "high school drama club?" Was there a secret comfort in gossiping about which two girls were clawing each other's eyes out for Elle Woods or who had to kiss onstage or who tried beer at the cast party? I, personally, couldn't wait to leave the world where being included in a Senior Show Groupchat was the most important thing, like, ever, and yet when my professor dropped that bomb on us, it gave me something to think about. We were all a part of a coming-of-age story a little bit more mature than Heathers: School Edition--the transition from high school to college.
Congrats--you've made it to college, the place where you finally get to shed the high school "theatre kid" (let's be real, that term is almost derogatory at this point), and become a real person. One of the first things I learned during my time in the acting program at Syracuse University was that you have to let go of what they call "high school head." High school head is that voice in the back of your mind that tells you in order to be good at anything, you have to put on a show and dazzle the audience with some over-the-top fake charm, when really that only gets you as far as a high school auditorium and a Facebook post from your Grandmother.
College, in my opinion, is truly the transition from childhood to adulthood in that it is the crossroads between education and real life experience. You're living on your own for the first time, and time management, eating healthy, cleaning your room, and maintaining your grades and your skills suddenly fall into your hands, all while you have the opportunity to freely make, well--Alexa, play Bad Decisions by Ariana Grande.
I've always felt as though acting is the major that correlates the most with emotional development as you are quite literally in class for hours a day working on becoming more vulnerable and connecting to others. It's no longer all about who can belt the highest--it's about exploring your interests and learning how to live in the world without your high school drama teacher constantly telling you that you're doing a great job, maybe just be a little louder.
A common misconception regarding B.F.A. programs in Acting or Musical Theatre is that you don't really have a life outside of the program. This is entirely untrue--as I had previously mentioned, this is your chance to become a well rounded individual and transition from cast parties to frat parties, from boys who play angsty renditions of Beatles songs on the piano to boys who know every single word to "All Night Longer" by Sammy Adams. I would advise incoming students to look past the idea that "drama club" is your entire identity and to find other hobbies, a wide variety of friends, and interests beyond your major. Go cheer your school on at a sporting event--you'll come to find it's called football and not sportsball, and it's actually kind of fun.
So no, you're not in high school drama club anymore. While merely hearing those words made my heart drop to the pit of my stomach the first time I heard them, they progressively became less terrifying and almost comforting. College is a time where you will not only learn how to exist as an artist, but as a person, and every little thing you do in these next four years is incredibly important--whether it's character development or developing a character.