Gosh, time has flown! I can't believe it's nearly the end of term and I have not made one blog post in here since starting my MA Drama. But I'm going to be absolutely honest with you, there is a reason for that!
When I got to Uni, I immediately felt as though I had made completely the wrong decision! I wanted to leave! Here's why!
I had a dream ... or should I say, the teenage me had a dream, which the grown up me had held onto and nurtured. T'was a dream wrapped in fairy dust and fluff. T'was a dream that had been shelved up in the loft of my mind, a dream covered in cobwebs and dust. Quite frankly, t'was a dream that was made before the advent of Information Technology and this was my first MAJOR hurdle! EVERYTHING was on line! The library, a teaching support system called Blackboard ... It wasn't the teaching material, no, on the contrary, that was challenging and inspirational, it was that all the 'support' was on line! I needed support to be able to access the support!
Then there was the little matter of class structure! I had been told that there would be at least 12 people from all different walks of creative life on the MA. I had told myself a wonderful story with a narrative about how I would meet lots of new friends and build an exciting new, vibrant and cultured social life based in Cardiff.
But when we started, there was only 4 of us! Yes, 4 of us including me! And the other 3 were MEN!!! My visions of hooking up with my new girl chums for hazy afternoons of shopping and mad nights of dancing, faded ...
ALL MEN! Now then, I have absolutely nothing against men, I was married to one for over 20 years, my lovely Grandad was one. Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Junior often feature in my dreams
(but not all at once, I may add!)
... I do not spend hours on end in a group of just men. I just don't! I work in the voluntary sector, in the statutory sector, in community arts which is predominantly women. I work in education, I am the Director of a Women's Music Festival!
I was so ready to leave at this point. All I kept saying to myself was 'This isn't how I dreamt it!'
There wasn't a single day where something didn't happen that made me feel completely and utterly stupid! I mean, for my entire career, I have built this incredible tool kit that can get me through just about anything, any situation ... but there was nothing in my tool kit that could prepare me for this!
And then my friend, Lunar Rage, gave me a fabulous piece of advice ... 'Let go of the story your're telling yourself and work out if you still want to be there.' and it was then that I realized that I was totally consumed by my crafted 'dream' narrative.
It really helped because when I said on facebook that I was struggling, literally scores of people wrote to me saying that I should leave if I wanted to and this gave me permission to make the choice. And my choice was .... TO STAY!
So, why did I choose to stay at Uni?
The first reason I stayed is because it transpired that the 3 men in the class with me are absolutely amazing people! They are committed, hard working, passionate about drama, kind, caring, supportive team players. They are wonderful people to work with and to spend time with. They are funny and clever and creative and dedicated. In short, I totally respect them as artists and as people and feel very blessed to have landed into this quadruplet!
The second reason is because the teaching team are absolutely AMAZING! What a privilidge to be in such a small class and receive individually taliored tutorship from gifted creatives. One of the tutors promised 'an intellectual orgasm' in his class, and he wasn't wrong! Inspirational, role models.
The third reason is because it is so exciting to learn new things! I didn't come to Uni to get Accreditation for Prior Learning! I came to Uni to learn new things, to challenge myself, it's just that Mother Universe has slipped in a few challenges that I wasn't prepared for and realising how exciting this new learning experience is, has been central to deciding to stay.
The fourth reason is because I started to access the people team behind the internet! Student Services, Education Office, Subject Librarian, all really supportive people, real people, who understand about struggling students.
The fifth reason is that I actually enjoyed my first assignment in Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship! I am learning new things that are totally relevant to me in the field.
Already, I believe more in my ability as a business woman. I have had access to Bright Ideas seminars, funding and find the challenge of the assignments exciting rather than daunting: an opportunity to find out all the things I need to know to develop within my life as an artist.
And guess what, first assignment I got a DISTINCTION!! (only just! 70%) but hey, JEEZ!!! I can not believe it!!! There I was feeling like completely stupid and it seems .... I'm not! NO, I am not! I am NOT completely stupid. (Smiling a big warm smile right now)
Other reasons for staying are, that if I can help it, I never actually leave anything. When I was a teenager, I left everything. True to say, that when the going got remotely tough, I would be nowhere to be seen ... and I confronted this about myself in my late teens.As a result, I have not allowed myself to leave anything throughout my entire life, even if it has been causing me extreme pain! So, I had to look really carefully at whether or not staying at Uni was just of my inherent mantra. It wasn't. It was a genuine desire to learn and be challenged in new ways.
... I am writing, and writing and writing ... new stories for production development. I am so excited about the prospect of experimenting with Drama and Story to see if I can create an interactive storytelling experience with depth, that captures children and adults.
The other night, me, Josh, Denis and Ray (the now-famous 4) were working on a script and performed it in a disused car park under one of the college buildings on a dark Friday night! The lighting was broken, we were using the green emergency lighting to its best effect.
I could have never have imagined that! That would never have featured in my dream! How would it! It is not something I have ever experienced, it is not something I KNOW!! It is exciting and new and dangerous, and edgy and challenging and makes my heart beat faster!
So, my friends, if you have started something new and you're finding it hard to settle in, why not do as Lunar advised me; Let go of the story you are telling or have been telling yourself, look at what is happening for you in the now, understand all of what the now can offer you and then decide if, in its actual form, your new situation is what you want.
If it is ... great, if not, move on.
My MA Drama is NOT The Fame Academy, I am not Coco! Needless to say, there is nothing or no-one stopping me from donning my florescent leg warmers and dancing through the corridors of The Atrium. Conclusion? Make every experience, your own!