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Student Blog: Look For the Opportunities

Thoughts On Having My Play Produced

Student Blog: Look For the Opportunities

I guarantee that most of you reading this blog have had the same experience-you tell people that you are studying theatre or music or (shudder) creative writing and they examine you with a look of growing concern and pity. You might as well have said that your future plans are to become Batman and save Gotham from a revolving door of supervillains. The people who love you are allowed to express concern, of course, but the line between concern and discouragement is a tightrope that they immediately fall off. Getting people to accept your plans as legitimate is far harder as a person in the arts-imagine if the traditional response to "I want to become a teacher" was "You can always do it as a hobby."

A future in the arts is precarious. It involves overwhelming self-motivation and internal strength. It means that you must constantly advocate for yourself. It means being okay with the fact that you may not succeed right off the bat-and if you're a worrier like me, existing in this world can sometimes feel like running a marathon with a blindfold on. I'm a planner. The thought of graduating college in two years and being tossed into a world that will be greatly determined by my own drive to create is frightening.

Two years ago, as I wrote about previously, I didn't get into any of the colleges I applied for. I thought that my career was over before it had begun. In my mind, these next four years would forge all of the connections I would ever make in my life-they would determine whether I would sink or swim in the creative world. At that point, I felt like throwing in the towel before I had begun and walking away a self-proclaimed failure.

Then, something weird happened-I began succeeding. I was asked repeatedly to stage manage and direct. I was invited to do summer research. I won an award for a presentation. I'm not saying any of this to inflate my own ego (although let's face it-it can use all of the help it can get) but rather to prove a vital point: Opportunities will come to you if you seek them out.

Last month, my short play was produced by Student Experimental Theatre at Allegheny. The surreal experience of seeing the words I wrote coming out of other people's mouths-a whole scenario totally invented by me one night in my basement coming to life before my very eyes-is a feeling that I'll not soon forget. I am not on the path that I had planned for myself. In fact, my life is very far from that future I first imagined years ago. But I firmly believe that I would not be having such incredible opportunities-by all definitions, successes-if I had not accepted this new route and started searching for ways to thrive.

So, the next time that somebody winces at your theatre major or your dance minor, remind them that what you're really talking about is not a degree, but rather your motivation to succeed. Then, choose to bet on yourself. It never fails.


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