Working and Studying

When I tell people that I’m working on my graduate degree they are typically happy for me. Well, uh, yea. It’s pretty damn cool. It’ll take two more years, yadda, yadda, yadda. What most people fail to appreciate is the amount of energy spent on a theater degree. Sure it sounds all fun and artsy, but the fact is a huge amount of time is spent each week just on class work alone. Everything Thursday I sit with a book for 2-3 hours reading about the history of theater and the play for the week. This semester we’re read and will be reading:

20 Jan A DOLLHOUSE
27 Jan THE FATHER
3 Feb THE CHERRY ORCHARD
10 Feb MAJOR BARBARA
17 Feb SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR
24 Feb MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN
3 Mar ENDGAME
10 Mar DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN
31 Mar THE HAIRY APE
7 Apr THE BROWNING VERSION (separate edition)
14 Apr DEATH OF A SALESMAN
21 Apr a radio play to be distributed in class
28 Apr FENCES
5 May FEFU AND HER FRIENDS
12 May ANGELS IN AMERICA, PART ONE

Last semester was another story. The Greeks filled all our heads for weeks and weeks on end. This is all for a class that meets once a week for two hours. The other (adding up the hours in my head) 2, 4… 10 hours spent in class range from studying lines to breaking down text so that each word has importance and meaning. It may seem trivial but think about each word used during a day. Not one word is wasted in a conversation. Everything means something.

The theater, in our digital world, has not lost its place in society. Instead, the 00 11 world has proven that use of language is more important now than it has been in years. We communicate through abbreviations and l33t talk.

bustedmic – b
s-ben-real – yo
bustedmic – mmm pizza
s-ben-real – o rly?
bustedmic – = )
s-ben-real – rly
bustedmic – brb yo. cell is buz’n

I digress entirely. Ha.

It’s not easy to work full time and study for a degree “part time” – especially MFAs. MBAs are nothing to shake a stick at of course. I simply have no experience nor have the desire at present. emma recently started a class – yea marriage perks – and has said it should be one or the other – work or study. While I agree I also don’t. Because I’m taking classes my mind is better able to focus on work. I appreciate that dichotomy of my day to day life. At one point I’m helping a faculty member, the next, they’re teaching me something. It’s a feeling best experienced than described.

So in the summer of 2008 I will officially be a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. It will have taken 5 years. The first two were truly part time. This year will be my heaviest class load. The next two years should be very manageable. I figure between 6 and 9 hours of class per week. A monumental difference from the present 12 hours/week I am enrolled in this year.

Should you be considering a graduate degree and wonder if you should work full time and take classes in the evening or weekend I suggest taking one class for a semester or a year. If you’re not a full time student… What’s the hurry? Give it a try. The worst thing that can happen is you learn something and make some new friends. There are worse things that can happen. Oh, and yes, even if you have a family. One of the grad students JUST had a baby. I think it was during the first 2 weeks of school. Make the time. It’s worth it for everyone involved.

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