Student Blog: Maintaining Discipline

My “academic integrity” is truly the same as my personal integrity as an actor, and it is deeply rooted in my own morals of a strong work ethic.

By: Jan. 31, 2024
Student Blog: Maintaining Discipline

As a student at the Institute for American Musical Theatre, my perspective of academic integrity is very unique. IAMT is an untraditional post-secondary school in the sense that students do not receive a degree. This conservatory, in nature, is a creative environment above all. Because my school isn’t incredibly scholarly, my “academic integrity” is truly the same as my personal integrity as an actor, and it is deeply rooted in my own morals of a strong work ethic.

I hold myself to very high standards regarding my discipline as a performer, and I hold myself accountable for getting the most out of my time at school. I participate often, work with my classmates, and include myself in extra projects outside of class that fulfill me creatively. When I’m outside of class, I devote my energies to preparing for the next day. This means finding new songs, memorizing lines, printing sheet music, and getting plenty of rest so that I have the energy to continue improving throughout the week.

I admire the fact that IAMT is untraditional as an institution, as I truly believe that it sets you up for success in a way that many other programs don’t. For instance, because nothing is formally graded, it motivates students to work incredibly hard, for no reason other than personal drive. This trains me on how to work in the professional world. It is one thing to be disciplined enough to get an A in a class, but it is another to learn how to push yourself when there is no immediate gratification for your efforts. There are ways that my school encourages a strong work ethic without the grading system. We receive feedback every day from our teachers, and we have the opportunity to reflect on our progress through semester evaluations. That healthy criticism from our instructors can then be applied to better ourselves as actors, and it can be used for motivation to stay disciplined. Not only that, but at IAMT your teachers are current actors, producers, directors, and casting directors, and they will remember students who were easy and fun to work with. Those who work the hardest during training usually reap the most rewards post-graduation, as you’re more likely to succeed in the industry if you’re dedicated.

At the end of the day, I know that if I let my discipline go, my artistry will suffer. I got myself where I am today because I have strong integrity as a performer, and if I let that go, I know that I will be worse off creatively. My idea of academic integrity may differ from those who are attending college programs, but for me, it is one and the same with my integrity as an actor. The work I do as a student, such as spending time to improve my book, practice my craft, and prepare, is the same work I put in when I attend auditions. It takes a strong work ethic and a lot of integrity to survive in this industry, and the sooner I practice those good habits at school, the better I will become.