I'm worried I will leave grad school and no longer be able to speak English. I know this woman in grad school, a friend of a friend, and just listening to her talk is scary. The semiotic dialetics of intertextual modernity. Which makes no sense at all. Sometimes I feel that they live in a parallel universe of academia speaking acadamese instead of English and they don't really know what's happening in the real world.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Improv definitely made me a better auditioner, without a doubt. We did do an audition semester in grad school, and that was helpful for those times that you have a script and you have a few days to prepare it, to really work on sides. But the auditions I was doing in New York, if you got it the night before, you were very lucky.
It all started with the most basic level of Uta Hagen, right at the beginning. I'm like, 'Really? I came to grad school; I'm going to do the 'Respect for Acting'?' And I realized the importance of that, because it was really to just get you to get rid of everything. Get rid of everything you've learned and just start from the bottom up.
I did work at Planned Parenthood between college and grad school. For me, anywhere that I worked or anywhere that I've come to know intimately is a great place to set a story because it's a place where you know all the details already, and you don't have to make them up; you can just borrow them.
When I was studying photography, I became interested in conflict photojournalism, and that got me interested in lighting. Then I realized there was this amazing thing called cinematography where you could kind of tell more complete stories photographing for film. So I ended up going to AFI grad school for that.
When I got out of undergrad, I had a degree in theater and telecommunications. My first job, I was a news reporter for the local stories for NPR. Then I was a country-western DJ. I did data entry for a yearbook company. In my mid-20s I went back to grad school at NYU, and I specialized in playwriting.
I did a lot of theater in college, and I knew that not many people make it, but I just figured, 'Well, I really want to try acting while I'm young, and I don't ever want to look back and say that I never gave it a try.' I fully figured I'd be back in grad school - probably for psychology.
I spent many years in college studying English literature. I was on the verge of attending grad school to get a Ph.D. in Renaissance poetry - my lost careers were being a writer, artist, or academic. Do I regret spending all that time poring over Shakespeare when I could have been getting a jump start on the competition? Not at all.
Hey, Meg, " she said without preamble. I need you to write a letter of recommendation for me. I'm applying for grad school." Meghann screamed into the phone. "Oh, my God! I'm so proud of you. I'm hanging up now; I have to draft a letter that makes my best friend sound like da Vinci in a bra and panties.
When I moved to Los Angeles, I was straight out of grad school, and I didn't have a single credit to my name. I knew one person in town - another actor whose name is John Billingsley. I just had to audition and audition and audition. I was plugging away for 15 years. So I earned my stripes!
I definitely felt by the time I got to grad school - which was a great experience - I was like, 'What's the difference between the teachers and the students? Why are the teachers teachers if they want to be acting?' It didn't make sense to me anymore. It's not like you learn how to set a broken bone and you get the stamp of approval.
As long as I'm dealing in honesty, I may as well admit that I have been more influenced (as a person) by my childhood readings of Tolkien and Lewis than I have been by any philosophers I read in college and grad school. The events and characters in Narnia and Middle Earth shaped my ideals, my dreams, my goals. Kant just annoyed me.
I definitely felt by the time I got to grad school - which was a great experience - I was like, Whats the difference between the teachers and the students? Why are the teachers teachers if they want to be acting? It didnt make sense to me anymore. Its not like you learn how to set a broken bone and you get the stamp of approval.
If start-up activity is the true engine of job creation in America, one thing is clear: our current educational system is acting as the brakes. Simply put, from kindergarten through undergraduate and grad school, you learn very few skills or attitudes that would ever help you start a business.
I'd let those entering (grad) students in on my secret-higher education is all about perseverance. It has nothing to do with smarts or creativity or anything else. It's about cultivating the willingness and stamina for hoop jumping. Jump through the hoops, I'd say. Do it well. Do it relentlessly. And in a few years you can join the elite of the American education system secure in the knowledge that you too can endure with the best of them.
As a freshman in college, I was having a lot of trouble adjusting. I took a meditation class to handle anxiety. It really helped. Then as a grad student at Harvard, I was awarded a pre-doctoral traveling fellowship to India, where my focus was on the ancient systems of psychology and meditation practices of Asia.
I started my career as a liberal arts major from Berkeley, wrote about enterprise IT for a few years, then followed my passion for the digital narrative into graduate school as well (also at Berkeley, the Oxford of the West or, perhaps, the Harvard - sorry Stanford!). My first project out of grad school was 'Wired' magazine.
If I'm not in the dead heat of working on something, I can end up spending tons and tons of time on the Web, and I hate it. I feel the same shame I did in grad school when I was pretty much addicted to reruns of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. I wish someone would make the Web just go away. Just remove it from the earth.
We hear the stories every day now: the father who puts on a suit every morning and leaves the house so his daughter doesn't know he lost his job, the recent college grad facing up to the painful reality that the only door that's open to her after four years of study and a pile of debt is her parents'. These are the faces of the Obama economy.
It's the uncertainty, the challenge and the willingness to put it all on the line that draws a lot of people to climb mountains. That can also apply to a lot of other challenges in life, whether it's running for office, starting a family, going to grad school or taking all of your cash and assets and starting a business.
And then, one acting class turned into two, turned into four, and then turned into, "I love this. I could do this for the rest of my life. But, I don't have a background in acting. I never acted in college, or did anything like that. How can I go about doing this?" That meant going to grad school and getting some training, and I did. I literally walked down the path. It was real fortuitous for me to walk by that school, that one morning.
There is this thing called Actors Access, which is run by the breakdown services. What they do is they put up casting notices that are available to everyone. Because there's thousands and thousands of actors and there are student films and grad student films and, sometimes, some small independent projects that are on there.
The combination to be on guard for is young and bored, or young and resentful. You can spot them at social gatherings, the grad students or interns who tell you about syndromes, conditions, deviances, and disorders, and they love, love, love to talk. They speak in half-sentences with a knowing smile-squint, watch you falter at the pause, and then keep talking.
I'll bite: Hard science TA's and RA's often repair equipment; it's part of our science. If you want a silver spoon, don't go to grad school. Science is all about dangerous chemicals, semi-safe experimental equipment, and 4am drives down gravel roads in old vans with a nice steep drop on one side. Guardrail? Ho ho ho. Fixing the computers is just the tip of the iceberg. Plus, where else could you get on-the-job experience with a PDP-8?
Jenny Marzen is who again?" Amy knew perfectly well who she was. Jenny Marzen was hot, hotter than Amy had ever been, and Jenny Marzen would be washed up in ten years and didn't know it. "And Jenny is my number one fan?" "No, but she likes you. She read your stories in grad school." "What is she, twelve?" "The point is, she really liked the article, and all that stuff about experience and news. Lex says she says you've got gravitas." "That's a dirty lie. I never even had mono.
I don't want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day.I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grad onto and extend to one another. That's the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don't see it, because I'm too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I'm about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting.
Jenny Marzen made millions of dollars, as opposed to nickels, by writing novels that got seriously reviewed while selling big. Amy had skimmed her first one, a mildly clever thing about a philosophy professor who discovers her husband is cheating on her with one of her grad students, and who, while feigning ignorance of the affair, drives the girl mad with increasingly brutal critiques and research tasks, at one point banishing her to Beirut, first to learn fluent Arabic and then to read Avicenna's Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, housed in the American University. This was, Amy thought, a showoffy detail that hinted at Marzen's impressive erudition but was probably arrived at within five Googling minutes.
But I am scared. Everybody's scared." "You know what I mean, like scared scared. Like coward scared, like if you never went to begin with. But with everything you've done nobody's going to doubt you." Then she made a somewhat frantic speech about a website she found that listed how certain people had avoided Vietnam. Cheney, Four education deferments, then a hardship 3-A. Limbaugh, 4-F thanks to a cyst on his ass. Pat Buchanan, 4-F. Newt Gingrich, grad school deferment. Karl Rove, did not serve. Bill O'Reilly, did not serve. John Ashcroft, did not serve. Bush, AWOL from the Air National Guard, with a check mark in the "do not volunteer" box as to service overseas. "You see where I'm going with this?' "Well, yeah." "I'm just saying, those people want a war so bad, they can fight it themselves. Billy Lynn's done his part.