After Three Months Out of School...
...Here's a Recap!
At the beginning of the summer, it seemed that everything that could have blossomed did, in fact, simultaneously bloom—and beautifully so. I graduated, turned 22, celebrated my with Evan, received an award for my honors thesis, got signed to two talent agents, and this very blog was launched. The next three months involved plenty of the usual upset and the expected moments—or stretches of days—of self-doubt and post-grad anxiety. But they also included a plethora of special memories that may only get to occur during this particular summer immediately after graduation: days off in the middle of the work week spent at the beach or in a museum, my first camping trip ever, playing with my little cousin and seeing her grow from baby to toddler (and, also, seeing her learn to walk on her own!!), watching bad TV with my sister and making the most out of these last few weeks living together before she begins her undergrad career in the fall (P[e]ace out, Vicky!!), thrillingly going to back-to-back auditions and film shoots, and blissfully basking in not knowing—you know, actually enjoying these fleeting days of uncertainty and being okay with not having it all figured out. Come September, I will start as a teaching artist assistant at a nonprofit outreach program for NYC public school children, while humbly and graciously still getting to live my dreams of being an actor, a writer, an aspiring academic, an artist of color, a proud woman, and a student of the universe.
The few months since graduation have been a whirlwind. I'm the kind of person who genuinely enjoys being busy, crossing things off my To Do lists, and scheduling my whole day. This summer I tried my hardest to keep myself busy. I scrambled together two part-time summer internships before the end of my senior year, which gave me a window of time to look a full-time job and continue living in New York City. So, I split my week between assisting the editors of an art criticism magazine and working in the curatorial department of a small museum. I spent what felt like every free hour applying to any and every job that peaked my interest and didn't require an MA. (I felt like my third part-time job was reading job postings on nyfa.org). June was a blur of unanswered application emails; July was punctuated by rounds and rounds interviews, networking over coffee, and the anxiety that comes with hunting for an apartment to sublet. In the first week of August, I found short-term shelter (!) and was asked to a third round interview for a job at a museum that I really felt like I'd be good at. A couple excruciating days of waiting later...I was offered the position! (read: me happy-crying on the phone to my parents during my lunch break, repeating 'I got the job!' and not really believing the words coming out of my mouth). I spent the rest of August moving all of my worldly possessions to my new place and slowly saying goodbye to my first New York apartment. August 31st was my first day at work, and that evening I handed over the keys to my old apartment. It's been a season full of uncertainty, self-doubt, stubborn persistence, laughter, caffeine-induced studiousness, and the kind of joy that can only come from being offered a job that you have earned. I'm beginning a new chapter, as scary and exciting as that is.
As I write this, i am seated on the beach, in the Rockaways, on the coldest summer day they've had yet. I decided this Labor Day would be my last beach weekend; and yet it's too cold to rock the bathing suit I have on under a stained tee. If that doesn't describe me, I'm not sure what does. BUT tbh I'm digging it. Post-grad I got a job (and kept it????), I've been able to do some brief and fun traveling, with a boy no less. My friends and I have made some rituals and I've gotten even better at drinking. I have made the decision to pursue graduate studies, mostly cause I hate working. There have been some ups and some downs, and tbh it still doesn't fully feel like I'm a Graduated Adult™. But I do feel like I'm living a life I don't aggressively hate (and in fact, maybe even like?). So cheers to that! Now I'm gonna get back to drinking rum out of the bottle, under my towel, at this abandoned beach. Xoxo, gossip girl.
My summer was not perfect. If life is just a balancing act between love, career, family, money and friends, there are certainly some areas I excel in and some that I don’t. And I’ve noticed a few things about progress and happiness that I think have contributed to making me overall a really content adult out there in the post grad melee. This summer has altered me in so many ways, all because of a few of the valuable lessons I picked up just by going out and doing shit.
1. I Learned how to be (really) happy for my peers.
This one's a biggie. As an artist, there is no one path to success. A lot of my classmates have been signed by agents, have been cast in national tours, in shows on broadway, in various commercial spots, the list goes on. But by being grateful for your friends’ successes, in a way you are paying it forward for your own. This profession is ultimately about supporting one another, not tearing each other down. And I would hope that when my big moment happens my friends will have my back.
2. I learned to appreciate the peaks and the valleys.
Not every day is a whirlwind. In July I was averaging about 2 auditions a week, rushing from callback to callback, writing a play for a theatre company, working on a set, meeting new people, making new friends. In August the most I had to look forward to was getting off work so I could take a nap. Progress isn’t linear. There will be months of inactivity, and I think something that has helped me a ton is not being hard on myself about that.
3. I learned to know when the party’s over.
Just...know when it’s time to leave. This isn’t a career thing. This is an everything thing. There comes a time--and often I know exactly when it is but in the past I have chosen to ignore it--when I should walk away. And I’m sure everyone’s moment is different, but it doesn’t make it any less clear to you when it happens. Whether it be a party, or a relationship, I’ve learned that saying goodbye is sometimes the most appropriate thing to say. Especially when you have work at 6:30 in the morning and it’s 1 am--do you go to the next bar or take a lyft home? Home. Don’t ignore the impulse. Just don’t. Go home.
4.) Friends are perhaps the most important area to cultivate.
Friends are so important. This summer, my friends have seen me through a lot. I’ve made lasting and important friendships with people that I know have my back. When you’re trying to build a career, which I am, it is so important to have a support system. I am so lucky to have these wonderful people populating my life. This summer I have done so much. I’m proud of the person I’ve become. And I wouldn’t have become that, without them.
Being patient with myself, supporting my loved ones, peers, and friends, and miraculously finding a job that pays bills and also fills me with joy...I’d say I’m pretty lucky. I’m looking forward to what’s next.
Photo by Alice Sholto-Douglas (@aliceishbel)