My name is Charlotte. I’m just your average 22 year old girl with a fairly casual job and a graduate degree with no idea of how to use it. I started studying BA (Hons) Musical Theatre at Bucks New University in 2014, well, technically Amersham & Wycombe College with Bucks New University accrediting it.
It’s tricky to explain why I picked Musical Theatre. I spent my entire life in education, and even spent an extra year in college, and my mum always told me that she wanted me and my two older brothers to go to university and get a good education. Back in her day university wasn’t seen as a common choice for school leavers, nowadays it’s the norm. So I always knew I wanted to go to uni, the next question was, what am I going to do? Seeing as I had danced since the age of 4 years old and had enjoyed performing arts I wanted to look into options that combined all three of my favourite subjects: Dance, Drama and Music. The obvious choice that kept coming up was Musical Theatre. I thought about it for a few weeks and when the UCAS deadline hit I decided to go for it. I had seen 2 musicals in my life! I had no idea what to expect. Amersham & Wycombe College drew me in as the contact time was double that of the performing arts course at Bucks New University . So I went for it, and here I am 3 and a half years later with a degree!
It’s been a rocky few years, believe me! For a start I had no idea what I was getting into. Unlike most university courses my course was 9 – 5 every single day. Not only that but we were expected to know the ins and outs of all musicals….. THERE’S THOUSANDS!! We were supposed to read a million books and regularly go out to watch a play or show. I really enjoyed the practical side of the course but it really puts your ability on display. You have to sing solo in front of all your class and your lecturers whilst they critique everything you do. My confidence was consistently inconsistent. Not to mention we had to write 5000 word essays regularly using critical analysis of, say, feminism in contemporary musicals or an analysis of Laura Mulvey’s the Male Gaze in Sondheim Musicals. It’s CRAZY. Who knew a performance based course had so much written aspects!
My favourite memory of university is that of a Thursday morning when we had contemporary dance at 9am and Wednesday night was the FRAT night at the student union, and ALL 10 of us had gone out drinking the night before. We get into the class and our teacher starts rolling about on the ground, as is usual in a contemporary dance class. This was carnage. Half the girls in my class had to run to the bathroom, my lecturer wasn’t really sure what was going on but just kept adding crazy sequences to the dance, one of my best friends started rolling on the floor, clearly still drunk, and starts telling the lecturer how ‘magical’ everything is. Our lecturer thinks this is great and tells us all how we need to be as free as Frankie. After about ten minutes of hell, I turn to look at my friend Laura who I remember buying me shot after shot the night before, and she’s curled up on the floor, head down, asleep. It may not seem funny to many but the sight of her dead to the world asleep, reminded me how great university was.
Since university there seems to be a little part of me that struggles with the concept of choosing one job for the rest of my life; seeing as I’ve never done just one thing. I have a degree and am not using it to its fullest potential. Fortunately, nearly a year after graduating, I’m finally getting more acting jobs and sorting my life out. It can be tricky to know what you want to do when you finish university. Sadly a lot of people end up wasting their degrees, which is why I think it’s important to focus on what you want to get from your course, whilst still at university.