After almost two and a half years, I can officially say that I have graduated with honors from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy! My degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts with a focus in acting. I attended both the Los Angeles and New York campuses, took a variety of classes from dance to writing, and made lifelong connections with my teachers and students. Go Class of the Apocalypse (a.k.a Class of 2020)!
This was not an easy journey. It took until my third semester (the one I did in NYC) to realize that this was the school for me. My first two semesters were filled with long days, doubts, and adjustments. I was not used to living in a tiny dorm with other people, or the 12 hour days with the same people in every class, or the new acting techniques I was unfamiliar with. I hated when my classmates would fight, and improv class was scarier than a haunted house.
Once I transferred to New York, I met teachers that understood me and my artistry and encouraged me to pursue my career head on. They admired my work ethic and told me I "had the mindset of an actor." My classmates were incredibly talented and although it was intimidating, I did my best to trust I belonged with them. By the end of the semester, I had no problem speaking loud enough to fill a theater. I was taking risks emotionally to raise the stakes of a scene. I leaned on my new friends and we had plenty of deep conversations about what it meant to be an artist. I will never forget my time there because it changed me forever.
Following semesters provided me more choice in my schedule, so I delighted in taking classes like stage combat, dialects, ballet, tap, writers' room, Shakespeare, and The Hero's Journey. I took singing lessons and my first musical theater class. I pushed myself to take piano and guitar. And my biggest triumph: completing ALL the improv levels and performing in an improv show for the school.
My personal growth has been tremendous, I really can't thank AMDA enough for that. I graduate knowing that I have practiced professionalism, hard work, and curiosity for 12+ hour days, 7 days a week, for 3 years. Going forward into the real world again, I feel lucky and hopeful. In the words of Lisa Kudrow "it's not supposed to be easy, but it doesn't have to be torture."
Thank you for celebrating this moment with me and as you are reading this, I hope you feel inspired to continue on a passionate journey.
If you are curious about AMDA, I made a YouTube video to walk you through everything you need to know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IY0ELKj784&list=PL-Ow253FB-a9JvFxC0o8mow2SpHiBVdSc&index=6