I Don't Feel Like College is Right for Me
Okay, so I am a senior this year and so I've accepted a place to Marymount Manhattan College's BFA Acting program. However, the thought of going to college literally makes me feel nervous and sick, not excited and thrilled like it should! I don't think that I feel this way because I'm leaving home or going to be in a new setting. My friend and I wanted to move to LA for community college but it didn't work out. When we were seriously discussing that and looking into it, I felt excited and hopeful. I just don't know if I'm made for the college setting. I've never enjoyed school although I do do well in it. I want to get into the entertainment industry, either in front of or behind the camera and figured college was the best way to do that. Now that decision time has come and it's become real, college seems like something terrifying. I'm not exactly 100% thrilled with my decision either, since I was rejected from my top choice and this school was one that was never at the top of my list. I just don't know what to do. For the last couple of months, college hasn't felt right. In my heart, I don't feel like this is the right choice for me but I don't know what else to do.
I've thought about attending a 2 year conservatory type program in LA and living on my own and the idea of doing that seems much, much more appealing to me! However, my parents are very iffy of me living on my own on the other side of the country (I live in PA) and I wouldn't have a four year degree.
It's always been pounded into my head that college was just a necessary step after high school. I took all the right steps to accomplish that: rigorous course load, good grades etc. I had an audition coach this year and got into good schools and I feel like if I choose not to go then I wasted my parent's money and time. I just feel really confused at this point and truly do not know what to do. As I was visiting different colleges and auditioning at them, I just didn't feel right or comfortable and can't see myself there for the next four years. My mom is adamant that I get my degree but I just don't know if this is the right path for me.
Felt the same way last year took a gap year,all my friends went off to college and I said I could not wait to go to college this Fall but honestly still do not no what I want to do!
I'd suggest you take a gap year. Both my daughters felt exactly the same way as you for different reasons. They spent their gap years working (one in a diner, one in a library) while everyone else left. They didn't really care because taking the year off was right for them. Now if their case, they lived at home b/c they had no desire to leave. However, I would have been supportive if they'd said they wanted to move out--although I agree with your parents, that California is rather far. How about a compromise, in which you do a trial run close to home? Or do volunteer work that pays room/board?
As far as routes to college--I would advise against going to an expensive 4 year college if you're not happy with going there. You could indeed go to a community college --many people do that. You can take the gap year. There are many choices; you don't have to immediately, this year, go to a 4 year college you don't want to go to. But you DO need to have a workable plan for this year, and it sounds like you're thinking about that.
I think that whatever you do, you should keep pursuing your dreams.
I think I would suggest that if the college that admitted you isn't one that you actually wanted to go to, give it a miss. College isn't going anywhere, you can always go to college some other time, there is no reason why you MUST go to college now. One option is to wait a year, or just a term or semester, and then re-apply to the colleges that you wanted to go to. In the meantime, make sure you are doing things that improve your chances of getting in to the college you really want, get more acting experience or training to put on your resume, improve your auditioning skills, etc.
It's your life, not your parents'. It sounds as though your dreams have more to do with "screen" than "stage" (because you mention "the camera" in your original post), so sooner or later you are going to have to move to a city with a screen industry (movies or TV). Los Angeles is a good choice. Your plan to go to a conservatory in Los Angeles seems workable to me. Again, you can always go to college later if you change your mind. While your in Los Angeles, you may as well get yourself an agent (of course if your conservatory allows that).
Today in the 21st century, there are many many people who are very succesful without college degrees, quite a few of them in the entertainment industry. There is no reason why you MUST go to college just because your parents say so.
All good advice up there but the one thing I would caution you consider - if you go for just a semester or a year "to see" how you like it versus taking a gap year, you will no longer be a freshman and most of the good scholarships vanish into thin air. We found that at every single of the 25 or so schools we researched, only one had transfer scholarships that where anywhere close to freshman offerings. In most cases, transfer scholarships were significantly fewer and smaller.
So I think a gap year (which at most schools will not endanger your freshman status, especially if you have communicated with them ahead of time that you want to attend but want to take a gap year) is often a financially safer way to figure out what you want than blowing that one time shot of being a freshman at a school which you have pretty big doubts about.
As someone who lives in Southern California and has been doing theater for years, my personal choice was to do to a CC first and foremost. I auditioned for a conservatory after my HS senior year (AADA) and was accepted, however the area is not safe, by any means. Plus the fact that many conservatories do not have dorms means that living expenses are through the roof (studio apartments in LA cost a ridiculous amount). One great thing about LA is that despite the area being dangerous, you are near a good amount of studios and recording companies. When it comes down to it, it is all about weighing the pros and cons.
I chose to go to a CC because of financial reasons. I am so happy that I did, because the theatrical classes there have made me into a much better actor, and I am blessed to have had such wonderful teachers.
My ultimate suggestion is just to look more into your options. Like the above poster wrote, college will always be there waiting for you. :)
I suggest Actors Theatre of Louisville's Apprentice program. Very prestigious
Sent from my DROID RAZR using CC
^^ Actors is wonderful, but I'm pretty sure the apprentice company is for college graduates. Isn't the OP talking about a gap year between high school and college?
Actors actually accepts some people right out of high school. I know this because I have a close friend who is trying to get into the program who studied at conservatory with me. Actors Theatre is not affiliated with any college. It's completely independent.
^^ Interesting! Sorry for any confusion! I've only known of post-college apprenticeships there, and their website says categorically: "You must have completed a four-year degree by the start date of the season for which you are auditioning. This does not necessarily have to be a BFA or even a major in theatre. *An exception may be made if you will receive internship credit for your time at Actors as the final requirement for graduation." This must be a different program from what your friend is pursuing. I don't think anyone implied Actors was facilitated with a college program, by the way. In any case, I hope things turn out well for your friend--it's a superb and very competitive program, and it's good to be reminded, amid all the CC focus on BA/BFA programs, that there are other wonderful options beyond (or after) the traditional 4-year college path.
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