Remember freshman orientation? I am suffering from an acute case of freshman disorientation, that overwhelming sense of confusion and anxiety about what the future holds.
I need to be honest with myself. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. Actually,scratch that. If we’re being honest, I know exactly what I want to do. I want to act. I’ve always wanted to act. Broadway, baby, old Hollywood, all brazen vocals and fabulous dance numbers. I want to be in operas. I want a set of powerful pipes that can bring an audience to its knees. I want to be in movies. I want to escape my thousand-mile-a-minute mind and throw myself into dynamic roles: time period pieces, psychological thrillers, you name it. I want Jeremy Iron’s penchant for the macabre and Stephen Fry’s razor sharp wit. I want Lucille Ball’s comedic timing. Audrey Hepburn’s looks wouldn’t hurt, either.
I want to paint, to animate movies and write screenplays and have my novels bound in hardcover.
But here’s the thing.
I also don’t want to starve.
Because as much as I love–live for–the fine arts, the truth is cringe-worthy: I ain’t makin’ a dime unless I move away from the arts. There’s a reason we’re called “starving artists” we only make money if we’re a) Michelangelo or b) dead.
Which, as you can surmise, doesn’t exactly make for the best financial plan.
For the living, at least.
So that’s why I chose to major in journalism. It would give me a salary (hallelujah!) and let me do what I love at the same time. I knew I wanted to perform somehow, and wasn’t hosting a show or anchoring the news a performance in its own right? I knew I wanted to write, so why couldn’t I write for broadcasts or publications? I could host my own travel show a la Samantha Brown, bringing Europe to your doorstep. I could pull a Jon Stewart and get the public interested in news via comedy. Today Show, here I come. Will there be donuts backstage? Because I like the maple ones. Just letting you know.
Yes, sir-ee-bob, my future is laid out. Crack my knuckles, find a job, and fulfillment will come a-knocking. Right?
Not according to my fire and brimstone professors. “There are no journalism jobs out there, kid. The pay is minimum wage. Abandon ship.”
I’m trying not to, but the threat of poverty looms large. Will I have to sacrifice my dreams to put food on the table?
Has freshman disorientation claimed another victim?
And if I do abandon ship, where exactly will that lifeboat take me? Aimlessness? A lifetime of regret?
I don’t know. A scary thought, but I don’t know. One thing that’s certain in this economy is that nothing is certain in this economy—except for my overwhelming uncertainty.
Casey Eade is a journalism major at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She loves the arts, stuffy, redundant classic literature, and dreaming about traveling the world as a show host or a foreign news correspondent. Until that big journalism gig comes along, she can be found blogging at http://utterlybefuddled.wordpress.com/.