As many of you know I recently travelled to Austin to interview for spot in the Drama and Theatre for Youth, Master's degree program at the University of Texas at Austin. The program would last for three years and would award me an MFA, which is considered a terminal degree, meaning that there is no higher degree available in theatre. I was excited about the prospect, and knew that I would have to sacrifice my paycheck, but I was more than willing. Moving to Austin was certainly a plus since Amanda and I really like it there.
The time between Amanda calling me with news that I'd gotten a letter and the moment I actually arrived at home seemed like forever. I had about a million things going through my head. First of all, ever since I visited the campus in Austin I had began to develop a small, but significant tightening in my stomach. I think it stemmed from being on that enormous campus surrounded by real life students and professors and everything seeming so real. I had been raised to believe I would go to college and so when it actually came, it was exciting but, of no surprise. I think I always figured that I might get a Master's but it wasn't until I saw the benefit of a MFA that I really considered it, sometime after college. So, the reality of placing myself back into a full-time student environment, after becoming so comfortable in my current position, making a living, not worrying about bills or teachers or impressing people, all came at me at once and proved to be rather scary. In fact, when asked by my last interviewer, the newest member of the DTY faculty, how I was feeling about the whole experience, I answered her honestly. I told her it was scary. She asked why and I told her that I was making a good living and was comfortable. While being comfortable was never something that I ever valued much before, It's tough to leave a good situation so that in three years you'll have an even better situation. Going from home to college is easy, because you're gaining freedom. In grad school I'd have no more freedom than I ever had before, but with less...we'll call it "mobility" than I've had in the past.
Amanda's been great throughout this whole thing. She's been so supportive and encouraging toward me and the idea of supporting me while I pursue my Master's. It's not been lost on me, however, that this process would be tough on her, as well. We're both used to two paychecks, now. It wouldn't be easy to give that up so that I could get a peice of paper.
With all of these fears and anxieties, I still really wanted this opportunity. The chance to study theatre under some of the best artists in the world, with access to playwrights, actors, and directors who are nationally and world renowned was one that I couldn't pass up. So, I did something I do very rarely, nowadays. I prayed about it. I left it to a sign from God. I rarely do this, not because I don't value God's influence in my life, but because in recent years I've come to feel that we, as humans, as Christians, and as believers kind of abuse the privelage. Not that I think God doesn't care, but I don't really see the benefit in seeing the Big Man over the mundane aspects of life. Is my haircut going to make my face look fat? Pray to God. I can't find my keys. Pray to God. The Gap was out of my size in loose fitting jeans. Pray to God. Suddenly the haircut is great, you find your keys and they find a box of jeans in the stock room. It all seems so trite, as to diminish the need for prayer. I feel really close to God when I pray to him and I find great comfort in our relationship and my belief in his power, but if I allow myself to believe that God cares about and controls even the most minute details of my life then I think he ends up getting blamed for things that shouldn't be attributed to him, as well.
With all this said, my point is that I decided to leave this one in God's hands. Why? While most of the Evangelical Christian Tradition probably find the "why?" perplexing (just like it bothers them that I'm not capitalizing the pronoun forms of God) to me it's not so obvious. I went to God because I couldn't deal with the stress. I was being pulled in so many directions I was beginning to feel a little sick, even. My friends could tell. They would ask me, "What's wrong?" or tell me, "You don't seem like you're normal self." The truth was that the answer was coming. I knew that I was going to find out my destiny for the next year with the next couple of days. And, I was nervous. God brought me solice. It was nice. Lately, I've been pretty critical of Christians, particulary of the sect from which I was raised. My reluctance to be associated with those in the government or popular opinion with whom I disagree with so vehemently had inavertently had the adverse affect of making me forget about and neglect my relationship with God. So, I kind of had to laugh a little when I found that I naturally, in a time of confusion and great stress, give it straight up to the Big Man.
So, anyway, I just decided that it would all be left in his hands. Whatever will be, will be the best thing. Which brings us to the verdict:
I didn't get in.
And it's cool. After reading the last couple paragraphs you might think I am relieved. In a way, I am. But, it's still disappointing. I want my Master's degree and I would, ideally, like to get it in theatre as an MFA, which generally means a lot more time and effort and that I must do it fulltime. That's the hard part. I know I'll have more opportunities to apply again and would most likely have an even better shot at it next year. Seeing as I was a finalist this year gives me a pretty darn good chance, I think. But, for now I'm going to do my job the best I can and enjoy what I'm doing, now. Next year I'll worry about next year.