By Megan Minutillo, IATG Contributor May 24, 2016
In 2009, I graduated with a dual masters in Educational Theatre and English Education. The plan was to be a theatre teacher in New York City, buy an apartment on the Upper West Side, and direct and write at my leisure. Only passion projects.
Are you laughing yet?
I mean, I was 21 and a dreamer.
Now I’m 30 and a dreamer, but life is a little different.
In those post grad years, I worked as a teacher. A substitute teacher (the horrors of which are making great material for a script I’m working on), a maternity leave replacement teacher (a step up from substitute teaching, but not quite the same as having your own classroom), and finally, a theatre and english teacher for an Alternative High School for troubled teens for five years.
Teaching at the Alternative High School was the last thing I ever thought I’d be doing when I finished graduate school - and as difficult as it was at times, I loved those kids. I loved being their teacher. I loved going to work everyday.
And yet - this little voice in me said you’re giving up on your artist dreams. You’re letting all that slip away. You’re going to wake up one day and say, ‘I wish I had tried.’
I wish I had tried.
One of the scariest phrases for me in the English language.
I wish I had tried.
So, this year, I decided not to reapply for my job at the Alternative High School. I had saved some money, and I wanted to do what I call “the freelance artist hustle.”
See, there is nothing glamorous about being a starving artist.
And in order to make sure that doesn’t happen, one must hustle. One must think five, six, seven months ahead of time.
It can be rather trying on the nerves - I think anyone who says otherwise is just kidding themselves.
But there’s a patience and gratitude that I’m learning to find with this whole new phase of my career; it’s a balancing act - for it’s not easy to take the disappointments and failures in stride, but once you recognize that those are the moments that bring you to the opportunities that your dreams are made of, it all seems worth it.
For those who are transitioning into a new career - know this. You’re not supposed to have it all figured out right away. There will be moments of slips ups, moments of utter confusion, and even though it may not seem like it, moments of success are right around the corner.
What are your dreams? Write them down and post them somewhere you’ll see every day. Now may not be the time, but never give up on them.
Megan Minutillo is a playwright, director, and founder of the arts and education site, The Write Teacher(s). Her articles have appeared in HelloGiggles, So Worth Loving, I Am the Modern Career Girl, and Glass Heel. She is currently at work adapting her show, Ghosts in My Vodka, into a musical.