the six-month plan

Seven days and counting till graduation. Dear Lord, how did it happen so fast?

I'm not feeling overwhelmed by nostalgia and fear just yet. Maybe I won't this time around. I already did the whole graduating thing a few years ago after all. And, in a way, none of this ever really felt like school. It was more changing the direction of my life in a large, tangential sort of way. So, in the next week, I'll be finishing up my Drama Showcase - which I am incredibly proud of, especially considering that I have never previously thought of myself as an actor - and welcoming my parents and aunt into the city for my graduation.

I really thought I'd have it figured out by now. I thought that after 16 months of conservatory training, I'd know exactly what I'd have to do to get exactly what I wanted. But the truth is, I still don't know what I want. After all of that, I don't know if I want to even be an actor. It's not the competition that scares me; after about four months of non-stop auditioning, the fear has definitely subsided. And it's not that I don't think I'm talented enough. I think what's making me reconsider is my awful tendency toward realism and logic. The truth is, I need to make money. And right now, no one's willing to pay me to be a singer or an actor. So, for the time being, I'm working as a catering assistant-slash-party planner at Havana Central, a Cuban restaurant, on the Upper West Side near Columbia University. Okay, not at all what I thought I'd be doing after AMDA - restaurant work, really? - but it was the first place that was willing to utilize my skills and work experience and pay me a lot of money for it. At this point in time, the most important thing is keeping myself in New York City and paying off my student loans.

So that's what I'll be doing for the next six months or so. That and going on the occasional audition. I had vowed to take a two-week break from auditioning, but I quickly broke that promise by getting an appointment for this weekend to audition for a festival play and putting the Disney Princess audition that's taking place next week in my calendar. But to be fair, the play is about a couple of young Asian-Americans who are trying to reconcile their Asian past with their American future, something I can easily relate to, and the Disney Princess call is for all Princesses, including Mulan, the non-princess heroine of the Disney empire. I couldn't really say no. Plus, with the major rejection I faced this past week, I think I need something to get me back on track. It has always been a dream of mine to be a high school choir director, and that opportunity arose about two weeks ago. A Brooklyn high school was seeking a part-time choir director to add to their staff, and I scored an interview. The interview went well, and I was invited to come teach a 15-minute mock lesson. I spent a week preparing and told myself that if I got the job, I would give up acting for a while and focus on teaching because, in all honesty, that's what I really wanted to do. When the time came for the lesson, what I thought had been an excellently planned 15 minutes turned out to be chicken shit compared to the three other candidates', all of whom had bachelors and masters degrees in either music or education. It's been a long time since I've felt that intimidated. And it was certainly enough to make me consider my potential for that career path, at least at this point in my life. Obviously I didn't get the job, but perhaps it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Working full time at a restaurant will keep me focused on acting, which is the real reason I came out to New York City. And as an added bonus, my restaurant is frequented by Columbia students and staff. Bring on the cute, smart, straight boys!

That's the plan for now. We'll see how well it holds up.

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