2000: When I applied to colleges in high school, I chose somewhere from eight to ten schools with strong musical theater programs. I fumbled through my essays, stressed out over my SAT scores, and traveled to audition in rooms full of other jittery teenagers, all trying to dance more perfectly than the next, all wanting to belt like Bernadette Peters, all hoping their image seemed smooth and professional and unique. We all believed, or were trying to believe, that we had "IT," the thing directors would sense as we walked into the room, the thing that poured from stars. Why else would we be waiting in those long New York hallways, practicing our breath, practicing how to say our names, listening to the piano vamp & stutter, watching as kids emerged from the audition room attempting neutrality but obvious in their glee or shame.
And so, and so, out of 10 or so schools, I got into, what - two programs? My academic records were blatantly awful, and the Syracuse drama department said they'd fought for the University to accept me, that I'd have to keep my grades up....
And so, and so, fast forward nine years. I expected to be accepted to maybe, maaaybe, forty percent of the schools I applied to for graduate study. The numbers, however, are nothing like that. I was accepted to NYU, Columbia, New Mexico State University, CalArts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Houston. I still haven't heard from Oregon, and was rejected from the Michner Center in Austin. What's the difference? Superficially, the difference is that I was a crappy student in high school, having skipped most of my senior year, and done things like escaped from detention out of windows, thereby receiving more detentions. On another level, the acceptances have to do with a shift of focus and lifestyle. When I started to try to stop drinking, in 2004, I was at Emerson College, and it was the first time I'd ever been consistent about schoolwork. Not only consistent, but, dare I say, dedicated. I still fucked up on a regular basis - received embarrassingly bad grades in history classes and a class on Judaism - but I was dedicated to work surrounding writing and literature. And I guess, the other important thing is that I have been out of school since 2006 - this period of time has been important for actually seeing how motivated I am towards self-education, separate from Academia. I'm grateful for the time that I've been out of school, it just makes the prospect of the fall that much more exciting.
Hi Ho Houston!