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What do you do with a B.A. in English?

March 26, 2013

Ever since I was 3, I dreamed of being an actor. I started working in the biz at a young age, and never imagined myself doing anything else. When I started high school, people began asking me, “Where would you like to go to college?”. At first, I simply told them I wasn’t planning to go to college. I had never given it any thought. I was going to be a working actor, auditioning every day- I wouldn’t have time for college! My plan was met by a lot of criticism. I was used to this, having been homeschooled. Most people don’t understand homeschooling either. As I grew older, I began to think more and more about it- “Should I go to college?”, “Will I be missing out on something?”, “Will it hurt my career if I don’t go?”. I was told by many older actors that I should go to college so I can teach when the biz is slow. Personally, I could never imagine myself being a teacher. I never wanted to be a teacher, and I had no interest in the field whatsoever. I thought about college a lot. I even took a 1 week digital filmmaking course at the New York Film Academy, and a 2 week cartooning course at the School of Visual Arts. I took the SATs, mostly because I felt pressured by my peers. I genuinely considered taking online courses as well.

After a lot of planning, pondering, and imagining the possibilities- I didn’t go to college. It seems most people I talk to have gone to college, and think I am utterly out of my mind having not gone. I just feel I have taken a different path. I have a lot of things on my plate. I have a survival job, I sing with a jazz band, I go to auditions, and I can’t exactly imagine piling tons of homework and finals on top of that. I definitely enjoyed taking the college courses. I stayed in a dorm both times, because I knew one way or another, I would want to have that experience! I learned a lot, and it made me feel good to have completed them. In the end, I just didn’t think I wanted to devote 2-4 years to college. I preferred to spend those years auditioning and learning from experience.

A lot of actors have gone to college, and a lot of actors have not. I think it should be the choice of the individual. No one should feel pressured to go one way or another. You have to know whether it’s the right step for you. Personally, I think I made the right decision. I have learned a lot from experience and going to the School of Hard Knocks.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2013 12:55 pm

    I’m almost done getting my master’s in Educational Theatre, and since I don’t plan on teaching (at least not for 10 or 15 years) I do often hear people ask me why I’m doing it. Personally I love the training and growth that comes from being in a university. Asides from learning the various areas in theatre, you can learn a lot about the world we live in, your peers and even yourself in school. For me, I like education for education’s sake.

    HOWEVER. It’s a really subjective process. It only works if it’s what you want to do and if it’s how you want to grow. There’s a lot of ways you can grow as an actor with and without college training. Ultimately, if you feel it isn’t the way you want to go, then it shouldn’t be done now. You have your whole life ahead of you to decide if you do want to do (after all, there’s no age limit on when you should get your education). 🙂

  2. The College Theatre Dork permalink
    March 26, 2013 2:07 pm

    *rolling up the sleeves*

    I don’t think college is necessary for anything except teaching and medical. I think experience is the better teacher for some people while others would do well in universities or other training programs.

    For me personally, I had lots of reasons why I’m in college: my parents wanted me to have the degree, I wanted to study, I wanted that environment. I probably would have failed in The School of Hard Knocks because I wasn’t ready for that life yet. I think everyone needs to know how they will learn best.

  3. The Growing Artist permalink
    March 26, 2013 2:35 pm

    Thank you both for giving your opinion on the subject! I definitely agree that it depends on the person. It was helpful to read the reasons you both decided to go to college. I think it’s important to see both sides.

  4. May 21, 2013 8:40 pm

    When dealing with the question of college vs. career, it truly does come down to the individual. Finances, logistics and “readiness” all come into play for an individual. In the end, it ultimately matters if the individual finds some form of training. CDs and industry professionals want to see training and work, not on-again-off-again “actors.” Find a way to be consistent with your acting training whether it is in school or out of it.

    • The Growing Artist permalink
      May 22, 2013 1:48 am

      Hi Ben! Thank you so much for your comment. I definitely agree, and I am always looking for ways to remain consistent in my training. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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