24 August, 2007

Reflections on the after (college) life

Again, it’s been a long while since I’ve written so I’ve decided it’s time to flesh out my thoughts a bit and tell you what’s been going on in my life. First of all, not since I packed up and left Nashville to move 500 miles away to Virginia in 2003 have I experienced as much change as I have over the past 2 months. I’ve moved to a new city: Orlando, experienced life outside of a Christian school for the first time in my life, attended 12 auditions and callbacks for professional acting jobs, house sat a lake house, lived with my friend Rachel’s family for a month and a half, and moved into a huge house with 3 relative strangers that work with Josh at Disney. I’ve also not gone back to school in August for the first time ever and had to budget and pay for my own bills.
That’s a lot of changes.

And now, a few observations:

1. When it comes to money, having 1 solid full time job is a better situation than having multiple part time jobs. You always know exactly how much you’ll make which really lends itself to staying on top of things financially.

2. It’s kind of cute how much I thought moving into the real world and being around 90% non-Christians would be an easy adjustment. It’s not. For a committed Christian, (or maybe just me?) it’s infinitely easier to live out your faith when you’re surrounded by people who get it. Every day I pray and make attempts at being salt and light, but I don’t even know how much of an affect I’m having—if one at all. It’s strange too because I’m not growing close, personal relationships with people at work…so far there hasn’t been a vast array of opportunity for “heart to hearts.”

3. I think I’ve finally got my “worst job I ever had” story. On Monday and Thursday nights I work at MGM Studios selling merchandise for a show there called Fantasmic. If I’m lucky I get to stand at a stationary cart and sell the toys but if I’m not so lucky I have to strap on a tray full of light-up crap and walk up and down the aisles of the theatre. Ever so slightly demoralizing. On the up side there have been a few aspects of this job that have been beneficial. First, it supplies me with a free pass into Disney. And since my boyfriend is in every show/parade (practically) on the property, it’s great to be able to wander in and watch. Second, I work with a lot of international students and that’s really cool. Just last night I worked with a girl from Brazil, a guy from Cannes, France, a girl from Ireland and two girls from Shanghai. And third, and most importantly, every time I go to this job I despise, I’m re-inspired to work hard at what I love. Every hot and uncomfortable night of work makes me more and more sure that I will rock it out in my next audition, or have my music memorized before the first rehearsal, or apply to grad school early.

4. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this summer: the more you audition the better you get at auditioning. And the better you get at auditioning the more likely you are to get a job. I know it sounds kind of obvious but truly with every audition I gained a better perspective of what casting directors were looking for and how to present the “total package” so to speak. Aspects that are very important? Picking the correct song for you and the show you’re auditioning for, being self-assured and friendly when you walk into the room, feeling positive and optimistic about your performance, dressing for success, and just being well-prepared. In addition, I’ve learned how much potential I have—if I explore it. The small tragedy about my college experience is that by the end of it I thought I had reached my talent’s potential. I thought that the talent I possessed was all I was capable of. I’ve learned in the post-college theatre world that performers are always learning new things, sharpening their skills, taking dance classes, getting more flexible, reading up on acting techniques, and studying voice. If I really focus and hone my skills who knows where I could be in 10 years.

5. Being a person who has always gone to school when August rolls around, it's hitting me hardcore to not be in classes right now. A little part of me does feel like I'm missing out, even though in large part I'm very, very, very glad I'm where I am. I think I left Liberty right when I should have. I think some people outgrow Liberty and stay there long after they should peace out. And for those of us who left right when we should have its kind of shocking thing to not be in Lynchburg come year 5. I know the longer I'm away the more I'll be used to it and feel like my life is really exactly where i am...

I’ve got to go to Anthropologie now so reflections are getting cut off here, but that’s probably the 5 main ones anyway. In other news, one great thing about not returning to college this week is that I get to go to Miami for the weekend with 2 of my best friends. Real life does have its perks—and for that matter, my life has its perks.