As mentioned in my bio, I am currently attending the California Institute of Arts for Stage Management.  However the process of getting there was a little intense...

At the start of my senior year of undergrad, I knew that I would be applying for Masters level programs.  Primarily I searched within Canada for a program that would be able to offer what I wanted/needed out of it.  In terms of a Masters degree within Canada for Stage Management, you have one choice - University of Alberta.  Not a bad school, however not somewhere I wanted to live for the next two years.  Also their program is more designed for folks who have already gone out into the world and are now looking for theoretical experience behind stage management.  Otherwise the rest of the schools within Canada are diploma programs.  Once again, not bad, however after receiving my Bachelor of Arts I didn't want to spend another 2 or 3 years getting a diploma that can only take me so far into my career.  So I started looking else where in the world.  Obviously with the States being such a prominent force in the world of theatre, there had to be a school that offered a program for what I wanted to do.  This is where I discovered the URTA's.  Schools throughout the States, and some abroad as well, collect and interview students on mass for their programs in the Arts.  The closest location for me to go interview with these schools was New York City.  So in the end of January, in the midst of mid-terms and rehearsals for the winter terms productions for TST, Musical Theatre, SiPP, and all the other shows I was involved in that year, I packed up my bags and went to NYC for the weekend with my parents.

Side note - the road trip from Fredericton, NB, to New York City,  is about a 13 hour drive.  Plus my mother had a work meeting in Boston that we were going to stop in for on the way there.

Going from Boston into New York City, Times Square, on a Friday night was a challenge.  Thankfully my father was driving because I would have had an anxiety attack.  We checked into the hotel and in just a few short hours I was to be meeting with schools from all over the states who would, hopefully, accept me into their program!

As the "big day" went on, I began to doubt myself.  Was I really ready for a Masters level program?  Maybe all I could handle was a diploma level program.  I got to the point that when I was headed to my interview with CalArts, whom would eventually become my Alma Mater, I was going in pretty down on my luck.  My anxiety driven high to the point that I thought that my interview with them had been the worst of the days.  As I left interview all I could think was "well there goes that option."

With the day done, we checked out of the hotel and headed back to Boston for the night for more work meetings.  As I arrived back in Fredericton that Monday, all I could think was how long will I have to wait to hear from someone?  The answer, a very long time.

I received my first "No" about a month after the interviews. It was from one of my top picks so that was a pretty big bummer.  And the following week I received the second "Not this time".  I still had high spirits though, there were still a lot of schools left to answer.  As time went by, I got more and more discouraged with no answer from anyone.  I waited, and waited, and waited, but to no avail there were no answers from my emails wondering about acceptance, or how I fell in the standings of acceptance, or what I could do for next years application process.  It got to the point that I was about to graduate from my Bachelors program with no idea as to where I would be or what I would be doing in the fall.  I had started looking for apartments to rent in September, thinking I was being proactive.  That's when it came.  The last week of classes, I received an email from the woman who had interviewed me in New York three months earlier, asking for a Skype call to "catch up".  We chatted a little, she asked what I had been up too, what my plans were for the fall, etc.  And then, the important question - "Are you still interested in attending CalArts?"  I'm pretty sure that my heart had stopped when she said this - is this an offer, I wondered, after what I thought was a terrible interview, they are still interested in me?!

Of course after a few moments of being shocked stunned, I said that I was definitely still interested in their program!  She smirked and said "Good, good.  Well, I'll keep in touch if you don't have any more questions."  To which I said no and said goodbye, left baffled.  Was that it?  Clearly I was a candidate, no?  Or was that the biggest dick tease of my life.... A couple hours later I receive an email from the programs admin asking if I was still interested, to which I immediately replied yes.  A few moments later and I have an acceptance email.  Within hours, I went from looking at apartments and filling out job applications in Fredericton to happy dancing all over my apartment, squee-ing about how I got accepted and will be going to California in the fall.

After a few happy moments, I had a realization - what about funding?  The price difference between schools in Canada and schools in the States is astounding.  How was I going to be able to afford such a school?  Thankfully, I have been accepted on a scholarship that covers about 1/3 of my costs, and I can get student loan and scholarships to cover almost the rest of it!

I know that this is a long post for my first post, but I wanted you to know how my adventure began, how my "story" came to be.  Thanks for making it this far and feel free to leave a comment below!

Peace. Love. Happiness.  Namaste

Published by Dee Chiasson