First-Timers: The Stressed Parents Thread

<p>OK. Let's forget about the kids. What about the stressed parents? If anyone is like me -- parent (of an MT student) going through college auditions for the first time -- you are beginning to stress, panic, go broke, grow more impatient, and just plain freak out.</p>

<p>Letters may begin to trickle in in these next few weeks. But we've still got to keep it together for about another 6 or so weeks.</p>

<p>SO -- how are the current crop of stressed parents holding up? And veterans ... please weigh in and tell us we'll make it through this.</p>

<p>I, for one, am in the complete panic stage. What if my D does not get into any MT programs? That's where I am. Total panic. I'm also in the "There's no hope" stage every time I read a thread indicating a school's record number of applicants with 2 slots available for fall 2008. :)</p>

<p>Any other stressed people out there? Help!</p>

<p>Oh yea..........I am there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have completely run the gamut since Monday when we got our rejection letter from Wright State!!!!!!! Gone from being overwhelmed with WHAT DO WE DO NOW to where I am now-- just checking out programs where my D can still apply (and hopefully get accepted)! I SO WISH we had found this forum six months ago!!!!! Things this week would have certainly been different!!!!!! But for now, we're submitting applications like mad and praying.................In the meantime, I'm here--seeking solace in the fact that I'm truly not alone in the madness! THANKS FOR STARTING THIS DISCUSSION!!!!!!!!!!!! And good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!</p>

<p>Bless your hearts! And take a deep breath! Many of us are still hanging around here and live to tell the tale, we all lived through it! For some of us it was a picture perfect proccess, for others it was a bumpy ride of a life time, BUT we all lived through it and you will too. In my case I had accoridan folders and binders. I took apart a large desk blotter type calendar and "wallpapered" my kitchen with it so I could see quickly what was happening with all of this audition stuff: preparation, wardrobe, travel plans, and all of the other senior year stuff. It was COMAND CENTRAL in my kitchen! I know of one parent on here who designed a spread sheet and shared it with others. My way was definitely less high tech. What I am trying to say is we sympathize but you've got the be the one who's calm now and know that things will work out, even if you can't see it now, maybe in 6 months or even a year, but you will see that it will all work out for the best, in the two years I've been coming here I've seen it over and over again. Get as organized and as prepared as you can reasonably then you just have to trust in what I and other say, it will be fine. You need to get calmer, not only for yourself but for your students. Can you imagine how stressed they are and how much worse their stress is when they see you all crazy with it!
Time to be the rock, moms!</p>

<p>srw is so right on!!!</p>

<p>I do have to admit that I think I was more freaked out last year than my D, because she had her spring play, dance, social stuff, etc. going on and didn't have so much time to think! I just TRIED to not transmit it TOO MUCH to her! I am OCD anyway, so that didn't help matters!</p>

<p>Then there are the re-visits (and in our case, one initial visit - a Unified audition so hadn't seen the school) which had to be frantically and last minute scheduled so decisions could be made. And charts to compare one school to another to help her decide (again, I am the OCD one in this family!).</p>

<p>I will admit that I am glad to not be re-living it, but it is kindof like childbirth - it fades in time, and when they are happily enmeshed in their programs, you know it was all worth it!</p>

<p>Hang in, you are in the worst, but last throes of it, and soon you will be happily posting your child's results!! Good luck!!!!</p>

<p>What I have found to be one of the hardest aspects of this entire process is the inability to know how your son or daughter truly did at their audition. There is no comparison point except sometimes in the dance audition. Therefore, you have no idea what your child's odds are to get into a particular school. I have learned that all that really matters is that they feel they did their best. The rest is fate. </p>

<p>I am also tired of being a temporary germaphobe. I think that I am keeping the Airborne Company and Clorox in business. Keeping the auditioner healthy is also a huge challenge....especially when they want to have a social life amidst the audition season. I know that my daughter is ready to have the nagging stop!</p>

<p>Only a few more weeks. Thank goodness the end of the actual auditions is almost over. We are keeping our fingers crossed that our daughter will get into at least one of the programs at which she has auditioned. We are deferred at two schools, rejected from one, and have no idea about the other four. We shall find out soon enough!</p>

<p>Good luck to all of the other parents out there going through this. I wish the best for all of your children and hope that they receive good news.</p>

<p>I have to smile at this thread, and at myself for having been guilty of this last year and the year before as my daughter struggled through this process--twice.<br>
I am reminded of something my ex-husband, who is a physician, was told in medical school: "The patient is the one with the disease." We need to remember that as close as we are to these kids and as much as we want to help, THEY are the ones that have to find their own way to deal with this. Yes, the MT school process is brutal; AND it is only step one of this business. We as parents have to take a deep breath and a step back--okay, just one step! But remember, we can't do it for them.<br>
You know, my parents were completely uninvolved in my own college application process. As I've helped my older two through this, and as I will with my third, I try to be an advocate, a guide, an advisor, and try to keep my own mouth shut as much as possible.<br>
Your kid needs you to be calm, calm, calm, and know that no matter what happens, you are there for them and will listen to them figure it out. And that includes if they don't get into any programs--which did happen to my daughter the first year.<br>
BREATHE, everybody!</p>

<p>I am glad to have stumbled upon this discussion. One of the things we have encountered is schools indicating that unless we paid a housing deposit (often nonrefundable) there might not be room for us once acceptances are sent out. Seems like schools would hold back enough rooms for this sort of situation--- This process is expensive enough without paying deposits everywhere while we wait!</p>

<p>We too have the dilemma of which schools to visit over our mid-March spring break...</p>

<p>I am thankful to have met some wonderful people as a result of our auditions and CC. I am sure we will remain friends long after the dust settles. Great to have a support network/sounding board/crying shoulder... it is difficult to understand this situation unless you are in it! Many of D's friends already have roommates, dorm rooms, etc... They cannot understand why we cant "decide" (it is not up to us!!!)</p>

<p>It has been amazing to watch how my D has handled these auditions- Her strength, confidence and grace in the face of the unknown is remarkable-- It takes alot of grit for these kids to go to auditions knowing that the next 2-3 minutes could determine the direction of their lives...</p>

<p>I have to believe that there are many wonderful programs out there just waiting to be discovered (just like our kids!) These kids cant all end up at the same schools, just as they cant all get cast- but hopefully they can all make the most of whatever opportunities are put before them and be grateful, gracious and happy. Good luck to all of these remarkable young people!</p>

<p>I had next to no help from my parents when I applied for college (graduated from a top MT college in London in 2002). Mainly because they couldn't help me as they know nothing about the business - they are a lawyer and a photo journalist. It was up to me to find an acting coach, a singing teacher, audition material, dance classes, etc. They were willing to pay for some of it - but I had to organise it all. And they certainly didn't watch any of my classes or meet any of the teachers. Even when I did my singing exams at the Guildhall (top opera school in the UK) at 17 - I went alone. I went to the open days and to all the auditions alone too. In fact, my parents never saw my audition pieces as a) they didn't know what they were watching anyway and b) it would have made me more nervous and c) they couldn't give me any constructive feedback. I was rejected from one top school (where again it was me who drove all the way there again to find out why I had been rejected and have a chat with the head of the course) and then accepted by the other top school. This was their deal - they would only assist in paying for it if I was accepted at one of the top two programmes in the country. They then never saw the school I was studying at until my final term when they went to see my final shows and I took them on a little tour around the school and they met some teachers, fellow students, etc. But by that time I was 3 months from graduating. </p>

<p>I was taught to be independent as soon as possible as I ended up studying in the UK without having any relatives or family friends even in the same country as I am originally from Germany and my parents then moved to Singapore just as I started attending MT college. Time different is Singapore 7 or 8 hours ahead, so most of the time I couldn't even call as it was like 3am their time, so I had to sort it out myself. I had to grow up very fast, especially since there are no dorms for MT colleges in the UK - you have to organise to share and rent an appartment or house with other students without any help from the schools. Again, all of which I did myself, I just faxed them the guarantor paper they had to sign to guaarntee my rent as obviously at 18 IU was a student and had no income. </p>

<p>While some of this was very hard - looking back most of it was good. Because standing on your own two feet and doing it yourself - is the very first and most basic step in having a succesful career in this business. If your kid wants to do it - they will do it. My advice is don't get actively involved - get passively involved. Listen if they want you to, always be that open ear if they have had a miserable day. Give hugs. Be willing to pay for stuff to a reasonable degree but also let them earn some of it, like use some of their allowance or clean out the shed, etc. NOTHING is for free in this business, the sooner they learn that the better. If they ask for your advice in regards to the business - DON'T give it. You are not qualified and say so - I am your parent, I don't know. Even if you are a pro - you are too biased most of the time (I have seen that scenario go wrong so many times). Get another pro to advise them. Always be positive, say you are proud, well done, I am sure you will be fine, just keep doing your best, etc. Especially - make it clear that you don't CARE whether they are succesful in acting or not, if they do that's great if not, they are still a good person and you love them just as much. It's for THEM not for you. Do always listen and talk about school choices, get clued-up, seem interested, watch shows with them, read this board etc. But let THEM choose the courses. Let THEM approach the subject, don't initiate too many conversations about it. That way, you keep your role as parent very separate. After all saying "I thought that song performance today was no good, you should have done better" and then the next day saying "I love you singing that song" is like petting a dog with a hand that hit it earlier. If that makes sense. You are a parent - not a voice coach, acting instructor, etc. Let someone else take those roles, someone who is qualified.</p>

<p>If they go out partying the night before an audition - don't SAY anthing. It's THEIR loss. And it's their responsibility to look after their voice and their health. Not yours. It's not your job to remind them to stop shouting around so as to save their voice. There is enough information now on the internet and in books to tell you everything and anything you need to know about a career in MT and acting (not just a shameless plug to sell my own book ;)). Let THEM decide what to wear even if you hate the outfit. What time to leave to the audition. In fact, DON'T go along to any of the auditions. If they seem seriously terrified and are dying for you to come well - then they are obviously too young and not ready yet for this business and shouldn't be auditioning in the first place. I realise that some auditions need parental accompaniement if it's out of state, etc. </p>

<p>And unless you are in the business yourself CURRENTLY in a professional manner (actor, director, etc) - DON'T help with audition material. Sure, show them webpages or books that might help them but - let them choose it. If you don't agree with it - DON'T say so. They have to learn for themselves and if they are really willing to do this as a career, they will do the required research and learn from their own mistakes. If they can't even do that - they will never succeed even if they do get into a great MT programme. It's about a LOT more than just graduating from a top MT programme. That's like - step 1 and 5% of the entire deal of being a working actor. It's a very lonely business out there and as horrible as it sounds, you as parents will not be able to help unless you are actively succesful in the business currently. But you CAN help by just being "available". :) And non-judgemental. Be that person they know they can come to for support and comfort that has nothing to do with them as an actor.</p>

<p>If they are unsuccesful at all their auditions and you think you could have prevented that with your help ("if only she had sung the song I recommended, worn the dress I bought for her") - then that's life. Only the toughest and fittest will survive this business. If they give up and crumble at this first hurdle of nothing but rejections from all MT colleges they applied for - then this career was not meant for them. People in the UK try for 3 or 4 years running to get into a good school and spent 3 or 4 years just working, working, working to be able to pay for it all. </p>

<p>I really don't mean to sound discuraging here but sometimes parents helping - is actually hindering the child to make their own decisions and use their own initiative. Please realise I am not directing this at anyone personally. Just a few reflections of my own...hope they are interesting and helpful. :) I understand you are all worried, my parents always were and still are. But they HAVE to go this road alone.</p>

<p>I really do think that it's harder on the parents than the kids! I remember being devastated when my D got her first rejection; she handled it much better than I did!</p>

<p>Unfortunately, every year there are students who do not make it into any of the programs they auditioned for. If this should happen, just remember, going through a BFA program is NOT A GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS. There are lots of working actors who never even attended college; and many who acquired a BA degree instead of a BFA. If your child is truly committed (and truly talented), there are other ways to achieve their goal.</p>

<p>It won't be long now -- good luck to everyone!</p>

<p>JIJane - Thanks for taking time to write that long, thought-provoking post. You make a LOT of sense.</p>

<p>What a great thread and great insight from all! I have always been pretty laided back as far as my D's theatre activities are concerned, letting her do her thing. I certainly supported her and went to see her shows, but as far as being invloved in the fine details, I was not. Until the college search began. I am now an official, crazed lunatic. I'll let you know if and when I ever snap out of it!</p>

<p>3 more auditions to go. AHHHH! It wouldn't be so bad, but my supervisor and branch manager will not understand why I am taking off so much -- so my audition trips are doubly stressful. As far as the auditions themselves go, I've not had any stress, but I think I could make a lot of money if I set up a portable parent's bar in the elevator at the Unifieds!</p>

<p>I'm with you, sister! You would definitely get my cash at the bar!! Are you in the financial industry? "Supervisor and branch manager sound very familiar!" Where are you from?</p>

<p>all right, everyone calm down and back away sloooowwlly from the
exclamation point key.</p>

<p>Patsy, that is hilarious. I know; I am guilty of exclaimation point abuse. I will try to contain myself.</p>

<p>Patsy, rofl! and su, use all of the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you want, maybe it will give the "official, crazed lunatic" ness some relief!!! You people are funny, see even during this stress you all have not lost your senses of humor. I'd say thats a good sign!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</p>

<p>Anyone else getting sick of clicking on the "Check Your Status" links? I can practically do this in my sleep at this point . . . Gee, funny how it NEVER changes . . . arrgh!</p>

<p>What I just neglected to say is that I am officially on the lunatic parent bandwagon. My confession: If my daughter had any idea how often I checked her never-changing status online, I'd be downright embarrassed.</p>

<p>I absolutely loved reading all these parent panic posts tonight. It helped me laugh and realize that their are others in this situation. I can relate to the post which cited-"others,( non MT )parents have no clue about this brutal process. If one more parent asks-" Has your daughter decided on a college yet?" My response is "Whichever one she gets into".
For us auditions are over and we just have to WAIT! I only typed 1 exclamation point, but meant many more.</p>

<p>This thread has certainly brought back memories. First I made a chart with general info on each school. Then a chart with all the admissions requirements. The charts, of course, had to go into a binder. Then the binder had to have sections for each school. But then I needed a spreadsheet with the application steps and timeline for each school. And I didn't want the guidance counselor to feel neglected, so I made her a spreadsheet of all the things the school needed to send out to each school with her very own timeline. It gave her such joy. Then the end of September hit and I got bored. So I made another spreadsheet of all the audition requirements and timeline for each school. By then, my binder was bursting so I separated everything into separate binders for each school - and filled the binders with all the program and audition info from each school's website and all the audition music and monologues. Well, all work and no play makes for a dull boy, so what could be better than a road trip to clear the mind. And the more the better, so I did 2 with my daughter for each school - one to visit and tour and one for auditions. Suddenly it was February and we were done. But then I realized there was an existential void in my life. How better to fill it but by - yes - making more spreadsheets. So I made spreadsheets to evaluate schools side by side for when decisions came in. One showing the curriculum by subject matter and one showing it by semester.</p>

<p>In the meantime, my wife was also very busy - making arrangements to have me committed. My daughter just shook her head with incredulity when at each audition I seemed to know parents from this Board. And then the madness descended.</p>

<p>Ah, March Madness on the CC Board. As letters, phone calls and emails arrived or didn't, with seemingly total disregard for all that we parents had been told by schools about how the notification process would work. No rhyme or reason, no patterns to acceptances or rejections, no relationship between audition dates and notification dates and every parent of a senior suffering from an out of control obsession/compulsion to dwell on every post on this Board. And then suddenly, it was over. The end of April and somehow we all survived the rollercoaster ride of our lives. And now, almost a year later, it all seems to have gone by so fast.</p>

<p>This is a time filled with excitement, stress, joy and uncertainty all rolled into one. For students and parents alike. It is also an opportunity for parent and student to share some very special time and experiences together. As nuts as it's making you feel now, enjoy this time with your kids. It's a unique time in your lives and it will come and go all too fast.</p>