I graduated from college today

Hey all, feeling quite the mixed bag of emotions at the moment, so I figured I would share them with a few hundred strangers. (ends up being kinda stream of consciousness, and a bit long. You were warned)

Well, no I didn’t, I don’t get my diploma until I finish a Spanish course over the summer, but since they aren’t printing up any of the diplomas until mid august anyway all us summer school graduates had commencement today with the rest of everyone.

So as far as the rest of the world (read: my family) is concerned, I just received my BA in Theater from UCLA. Not too shabby.

I am a little surprised at how hard this is hitting me to be frank. I was done with all my departmental requirements last quarter, and completed my specific program in Directing for the stage back in March. As far as I was concerned that was it for me, the rest was just paperwork. But going through the ceremony was actually a rather emotional experience. Anthony Hopkins was one of our speakers, and there were some cheesy musical numbers by a couple of department kids, and all in all it was rather more fun than my high school graduation.

And now here I am, fresh from one graduation party, heading off to another (maybe) and it is starting to hit me, holy crap I am done with school. What am I doing with my life? WHY DID I DECIDE TO MAJOR IN THEATER OF ALL THINGS!! What good is a theater major going to do me? AHHH!!!

Ok, I am better. It is kinda cool. But I feel very much at lose ends. I just finished a project, and haven’t done any projects outside of a school setting…have I ever done any projects of my own outside of a school setting? No. I haven’t. I have worked professionally for others, but one doesn’t get to be a director by going on job interviews and sending out resumes, do they? Why didn’t anyone cover this before we graduated!?! I know how to stage, work with actors and designers, I even have some experience pitching, but I have no clue as to how to get someone to give me money to make theater in the real world.

I suspect no one else does either, I think they all got here by accident and are just as surprised as anyone that they are getting paid to play dress up.

I do have some plans, so to speak. I have a steady day job and a nice apartment with reasonably cheep rent, so I don’t have to worry about being homeless. My ex girlfriend is a playwright (we are still on good terms) and we have been talking about starting to do shows together, maybe even founding a company. I know a few actors, I don’t know enough designers, but I am sure that once I have an idea of what my next project is going to be I can figure out how to make it happen. I am just not sure that I can do it without placing myself in bankruptcy.

I suspect that this is what Kundera was referring to when he spoke of the unbearable lightness of being. I feel like I am floating, and it is all hitting me at once. I was fine less than 12 hours ago. It’s not like I am being crushed, but rather like I am coming apart at the seams and drifting.

At the same time, its really freaking cool! I am a college graduate! I graduated from a prestigious school, with an kick ass degree doing something that I absolutely love. I made a couple grand in gift money (an unexpected bonus) and am about to start a new chapter of my life. It’s cool, really really cool. It’s awesome even. Awesome in the original sense of the word. As in, so amazing that it leaves me awestruck, at a loss for words. The way childbirth is awesome, not the way a really good hotdog I awesome.

But I am not sure I was ready for it all to end. Its funny, two weeks ago I was complaining about how badly I was ready for school to be over with, how I wanted to stop treading water and start my life. Well here it is. My life. REAL LIFE. No more practice, here we go.

What happens now?

Congratulations! Good luck. I am sure everything will work out if you keep a positive attitude.

Congratulations! And good luck!

A Theatre major is no bad thing; there are many opportunities to work on all kinds of productions, all over the world. Trust me; I know firsthand.

I am involved in lighting; mostly for corporate events, trade shows, and the like nowadays. I have been involved in Theatre for more than 24 years, for 20 of them as a paid professional. It is not an easy life, at times, but for those hearty enough to stick with it, and the will to work hard at their craft, the rewards can be tremendous, both personally and financially.

I would offer you only this advice: Do not become too proud. There is no shame in taking a position further down the ladder than you believe is warranted, or than you would like. Today you may hold a clipboard, or a walkie-talkie, or assist the grip crew. When that tomorrow comes that you are the director, you will have a better appreciation for the work that needs to be done, and greater respect from your crews. Never be too proud to work hard; hard work is what shines through, and that shine is what will get you your next gig. The more shine people see, the more personal integrity you will have, and this will lead to more work and more responsibility, until soon enough you will find yourself exactly where you want to be…

And what happens after that is the real story.

Break a leg, kid.


So I reread my post after coming back home and realized that it is a bit of a downer. So I would like to reiterate that I am actually very happy and excited, I just am also totally afraid and a little sad. I guess I was dwelling on the sad and afraid bit a little more than the happy excited bit because all day long everyone was talking about nothing but the happy excited bit. I needed the balance.

But yeah, done with school. Go me!

Congratulations! Wishing you luck in all your future endeavors. :slight_smile:

Congratulations! Break a leg!

How does it compare to graduating from high school?