Graduating is a funny time of one’s life, and rightly so: it is the end of an era after all. Receiving results, followed by results drinks, results parties, graduating students’ self-indulgent theatre and comedy shows as a big final hurrah. And then you hit a wall. What on earth do you do after the degree?
Suddenly ,so many paths were opened up to me. I could go into further education, corporate work, or follow the dream. But then again, which dream? I’d been frolicking through university with a comedy society, for which I’d been writing, performing and occasionally directing, but unfortunately there is no equivalent of Fame! when you’re out of education. Which is a shame, because since I’d seen that musical in a town hall back in my hometown a part of me has always wanted to sing on top of a New York taxi. Preferably not dead, of course. But still, reality settled in. I was in Old York, I couldn’t afford a taxi, and life is not prone to impromptu musical numbers.
Grabbing whatever I could take, I got an audition for a ghost bus as a tour guide. This was surprisingly easy. I’d heard all the horror stories from friends who’d graduated already on how hard it was to be thrown a bone in the job market and here I was with an audition! It wasn’t much in the way of pay but what a great source of pocket money. Of course, nobody tells you that odds are greatly stacked against you in a first ever audition/interview/application process. I think that’s the first big difference between the little sphere of students and the actual real world: people don’t know you, they’re a lot quicker to reject you.
I did not get the job. Like any self-respecting and humble actress, I naturally blamed it on how incredibly short the audition had been, the script not having many jokes in there, the guy auditioning. Of course I wasn’t right for a ghost bus, I insist on dragging my little sister to see Disney films with me and my wardrobe is made up of mainly the primary colours. I saw my auditioner the other day in the streets. We saw one another, didn’t acknowledge anything, and then walked on. That was my closure.
At least here the aftermath of a bad audition is a lot smaller, neater and more easily forgotten than at university. There you inevitably know the directors, and it becomes an internal monologue of self-doubt. Out in the cold of “grown up land” it all becomes clear. A word to the rejected students: of course they’re not out to get you. They want to pick somebody who fits the brief the most, get over it.
I’m still not sure whether this was really a maturing moment for me, because if it was I’ll have to acknowledge that my graduation is indeed just weeks away. I do, however, get the feeling that a lot of similar revelations will be occurring this next year, as I emerge from the performance chrysalis that is university.