Life After School for a Performing Arts Student

As I’m entering the final semester of my senior year, there’s a lot of stress tied to this point in my life. This can also be the case for those outside of my career path, but there’s something about finding jobs after school that can be extremely stressful for performers in particular. I’m going to share a little bit of my ups and downs.

The final semester for performers usually means auditions, auditions, and more auditions. Like most performers, I get very nervous when I even think about going to an audition and in the past I’ve panicked a lot when I step into the room. This is obviously something I need to work through since it only inhibits me in the audition room. I’ve been told by many mentors that the more auditions you go to, the more normal it will seem and the less stressed out I’ll be. I really hope that’s what will happen to me. I got to start the audition process with the awesome company I worked with last summer. I’m so thankful to start my auditions there with familiar faces in the room. The scariness of auditions goes away when you know there are people rooting for you. Going to that audition and feeling encouraged is the next step to finding friendly faces at auditions where I won’t know a single person.

I’ve been asked what my plan is over and over again from all sorts of people, and to be honest, I have no clue yet. There’s no possible way for me to know the logistics of my life plan until I attend a million and one auditions. Some of these auditions can be for a summer theatre, while others could take me for an entire season. It’s all in the luck of the draw! I know for a fact that I will be going to Chicago to attend as many auditions as possible and show up to local auditions in the Midwest. And of course, I’ll be sending in many video auditions. I may not have a solid plan, but I’m really looking into traveling from regional theatre to regional theatre, auditioning for cruise lines with long contracts, or basing myself in Chicago for a couple years until I build my resume. My only problem with Chicago is there’s not as much musical theatre, which is my biggest love. And if I went to NYC right away, I would be in a pool of thousands of others my age who are hopeful to make it big right away.

I could think of many different turns my life will take me, but no part of me has a single idea where I’ll be. I may not even end up getting the jobs I anticipated and I have to be ready for that. This industry is super competitive and very tough, which is a reality that hasn’t quite hit me yet while being in school. I’m excited to start auditioning, pretty terrified, and I’m trying to go into the future with zero expectations. It’s so difficult for me to trust that God has it all together even though I can’t see what’s happening yet.

So these are my honest feelings about the future. If anyone who has experience in the musical theatre/theatre/dance industry has any tips, please let me know! I would love to hear them!

xo, Brynne

What I’ve Learned From 2018

2018 has come and gone, and it seems like it went by faster than usual for me. It’s been a roller coaster of ups and downs, but most importantly I’ve learned so much from this year. The Lord provided me with a lot of things that I can turn my gaze towards, as well as give me hope for 2019. Here are some of the things I’ve reflected on:

Just because you fail doesn’t mean you’re not good enough.

I’ve had my fair share of this, especially in the arts this year. In certain moments I put so much blame on myself that I will never be good enough just because I failed. But the more I try, the more I realize the best thing I can do is to know my value and know I’m good enough. I’ve psyched myself out way too many times in my career path to know the second you start doubting yourself, you set yourself up for failure. Once I knew that I’m of value because of who I am in the Lord, I’ve never seen Him fail me. In fact, God has proven to me multiple times that when I believe in His value and creation, He continues to reveal the best parts of my story.

Push past social anxiety.

This year, I’ve made so many friends that I never would have expected to make a connection with. Every time I look back on those friendships, I’ve realized they’ve come from the risk of putting yourself out there and being open to others. A lot of my middle school to high school years were filled with anxiety that people won’t like me for who I am. I’ve realized that it shouldn’t matter what anyone thinks because if they like you for who you are, then they’re really a true friend. I’ve also reconnected with others that I hadn’t spoken to in a very long time and although it can be nerve-racking, it’s always worth it to put yourself out there. I found myself thinking I’m so glad I did that rather than wondering what if.

Forgive those who have hurt you.

I’ve held onto pieces of my life from years back that have caused me so much pain that to even think of the event or person makes me so upset. One day I finally figured out that holding onto those things doesn’t hurt the other person, it just hurts you. It’s so much easier to let go of the pain that someone once caused you. It doesn’t mean you have to be close with them and it also doesn’t mean you ever need to speak to them again. But of course, it’s not that easy. It takes a lot of prayer, a lot of tears, and a lot of wrestling with what’s happened. I’m still learning how to completely forgive, but I’ve already felt emotionally healthier once I’ve decided to surrender the pain from the past to God. He’s the only one that can take away the struggles of my life.

This is a fairly summed up version of many things I’ve learned, as I know many of us want to be wearing glittery clothes and toasting with some champagne. But no toast is quite right without a little self reflection. I’m so excited for the lessons that 2019 will bring, even though I know I’m nowhere near ready for them.

I hope your night is full of wonderful memories and the hope for tomorrow!

xo, Brynne

Navigating After-College Anxiety

As a senior in college, I can attest that I’m pretty scared for what’s coming next. Some people in my graduating class are engaged, have a job lined up, and know exactly where they’re going to live. I on the other hand, am sitting on the couch, eating a bag of doritos, with zero intentions of engagements, no idea where I’ll be living, and not a clue as to what job I’ll have. So my anxiety is asking me what happens if I don’t attain what I am hoping for right after college? Am I going to become a hermit? Will I live in my parents’ basements for ten years? The biggest question thus far: what if the things we end up doing never measure up to what we intended? We may never know, but God certainly does.

I was reading the book of Ruth a couple days ago and I thought it touches on my exact feelings on the future after school. If you haven’t read Ruth’s story, it’s a quick read and incredible. Ruth’s story begins with her husband passing away and her living with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and her sister-in-law, Orpah. Naomi begs Ruth and Orpah to leave her in order to find a husband and a better life, and while Orpah leaves, Ruth decides to stay. From the beginning I find this incredibly interesting. Ruth says “For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you (1:16-17).”

Ruth had every reason to  leave. Naomi gave her permission and she truly had no other option in that moment to get remarried. But Ruth knew what was loving and chose to follow God’s will of being compassionate to others before satisfying her own needs. Her action of staying is a reminder that she chose what God wanted before her own. Ruth decides to stay with Naomi and find a job to provide for her and her mother-in-law, which leads Naomi to work in the fields of Boaz, an honorable man in the clan of Elimelech. Although Ruth was a Moabite, a race that was looked down upon in the eyes of the Israelites, Ruth was still kept safe from the harm of the male field workers (known for sexual assault/raping women) and caught the attention of Boaz himself. When Boaz told her why he favored her, he answered “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you full for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge (2:11-12)!” Ruth’s obedience to God’s call not only kept her safe, but revealed the way that God provided resources for her.

Spoiler alert: by the end of the story, Ruth ends up marrying Boaz and giving birth to a son. Not only that, but Naomi, who felt defeated and useless as a widow, now had a child that came from her family line that she could care for. Because Ruth stayed patient, obedient, and put others needs before hers, she not only made her life better, but Naomi’s life as well. God put together exactly what she needed when she trusted that His will is all that she needs. Ruth had no idea that she would end up remarried after she chose to stay with Naomi. But God saw how much she loved Naomi and created an amazing life for Ruth she never knew would stem from obedience to the Lord.

At twenty-one years old, I am pretty scared for my future. As a reminder, I have no clue where I’m living after school, no idea what job I’ll have, and I’m surviving off of minimum wage jobs and freelance side hustles. Trusting that God has a future for me when all I see is a huge question mark can be pretty intimidating. I don’t know if I’ll ever be as easily trusting as Ruth was to give over her life to God, but this story inspires me to do so. It’s really scary when we don’t know what’s in front of us, but sometimes we aren’t meant to know. We have to take it day by day and understand that the things God slowly reveals to us are like points on a road map. The smaller points start showing up in front of us and he will make the points that are His will easy to recognize. Sometimes we just need to take the leap.