16 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Studying Drama at University
Nothing can really prepare you for studying Drama at university. But here are some things it would’ve been good to know beforehand.
1. People will unrelentingly and unfairly question your life choices.
When you tell people you study any kind of drama or theatre degree, you’re often greeted with a shifty glance which is then usually followed with something along the lines of “So, like… you want to be on EastEnders? That’s… interesting.” Eventually, you’ll craft the perfect response…
2. That being said, you will also question your life choices at times.
After being told again and again to “study something worthwhile” and then looking at the ratio of success among performers in the industry, you’ll begin to wonder why you chose this for yourself and constantly doubt your decision to stick with it.
3. And you’ll definitely do some things you’re not proud of.
Whether it’s partying too hard at the weekend or auditioning for the part of “Hooker who eats cheese in background”. You’ll do things you regret and that’s okay!
4. But you’ll always style it out.
As a performer, you’ll build up a resilience like no other and a confidence to persevere through those times of humiliation. It’s what we like to call “Character building”.
5. Black is the new black.
You might as well just throw out the rest of your wardrobe because all you really need are black t-shirts, black jogging bottoms, black everything. It’s the law.
6. 14 hour days with hardly any breaks are very common.
People like to think that it’s all rainbows, smiles and jazz hands, but do not be fooled. Character research, extra rehearsals, line learning, academic papers and many, many other things don’t just do themselves!
7. You’ll become a pro at powering through.
With the lack of sleep and the constant workload, you’ll often feel like you can’t go on, but you’ll soon find ways to cope. Some of us need our coffee, others choose cigarettes. Pick your poison.
8. And a master of the “Art of Improvisation”.
One of life’s valuable skills. We’re faced with a scenario that is unexpected and we’re unable to resolve, but we adapt and move on. Nobody really enjoys an improv class, but before you know it, you’ll be able to face anything.
9. Always expect the unexpected.
Whether it’s someone falling ill on the day of an assessment or some wacky spur of the moment performance choices; this one speaks for itself. Never preempt your outcome. People surprise you, just be prepared to whip out those improv skills!
10. You’ll do a lot of lying.
This is essentially the premise of acting and performance. You’ll pretend to be able to do things you can’t do, pretend to want parts in things you don’t necessarily want parts in, and pretend to be another person in the hope that the audience will believe us. But it’s all perfectly acceptable.
11. But this means you’ll also be able to spot another liar from a mile away.
We don’t study body language for nothing! You’ll instinctively be aware when someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
12. You’ll occasionally lose control of your emotions.
Flipping between emotions becomes second nature, but it can be hard to keep them in check. It can only take one comment on your performance ability. The flood gates will open and you’ll unleash the diva within, but that’s allowed every now and again.
13. You’ll find and lose yourself on a daily basis.
One second you’ll be saying: “Playing all of these different roles has really made me understand and differentiate myself and my motivations.” The next it’s: “After playing all of these characters, I don’t really know how to be me anymore”
14. And cry tears of joy, anger, sadness and despair all in one sitting.
Whether a performance was so beautiful it moved you to tears, or you’re struggling through an intense show week with the flu, or you still haven’t finished your essay and it’s due in 2 hours, you will feel it all and it will feel great afterwards.
15. It’s all about taking risks and just doing what you believe in.
Success will not just knock on your door one day; you have to actively chase and work for it. In order to achieve success, we need to jump into all things unfamiliar. A drama course will provide you with plenty of opportunity to do so.
16. And no matter what happens, you’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
Yes, it might be difficult, draining and endlessly stressful. And yes, people will judge you all the time. And yes, you may even judge yourself. But a drama course is one of the most rewarding paths in life and once the curtains are closed, you’ll cherish every memory.