"I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."—Steve Jobs
After nearly four years of vigorous training, long hours and constant growth, one could argue that it's normal to feel ready to graduate. The yearning just to be out of a building that you've spent hundreds of thousands of hours in and not to have to follow a set schedule all the time; the excitement to seek new experiences; and the readiness to start building a life outside of school but now as a classically trained artist. Who wouldn’t have one foot out of the door? Right? But then something my dad said to me struck me: "Don't wish it away too soon." That got to me. Had I been subconsciously saying goodbye before I'd even left? And would I regret not fully being able to immerse myself in every experience if at the back of my head I was always envisioning the finish line on the horizon?
The truth at this juncture of the unknown is that graduating is something concrete that gives one a focus, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing to aim for. However, one could argue that this is only if it doesn’t blind you from seeing the importance of the things that surround you and if it doesn’t interfere with one’s ability to be present in one’s environment and with one’s fellow peers. I’ve always known this but at times it can be difficult. It takes courage. Of course we all (fourth-years) feel the end of our time at Juilliard approaching and I'm looking forward to that—but I also can't underestimate what I may miss. The teachers in particular and all the lessons I've learned. Richard Feldman's golden drops of wisdom that will permeate throughout our careers and lives I’m sure. And not just those words, but many more lessons and experiences from the committed and intelligent staff in the Drama Division. There’s also the honor and pleasure of watching the years below you grow throughout the training and that strong sense of community despite the ever-changing climate of our world and school. And the honor of being able to recognize how unbelievably lucky one is to have been able to attend a conservatory like Juilliard and to fathom how many hundreds of people want to study here every year. Of course, I could go on. But what my Dad said reminded me to count my blessings and be present. It all wasn't for nothing, it was for everything and more. And above all, it's a celebration to them—my family—in these final moments of school, and all they have done to teach me and help me succeed in following my dream. It would be a deep downfall to not use this time wisely and to continue to grow, to reflect on the past few years and all we are proud of, to do the things we've always wanted to do in school, and to make those everlasting connections strong and to prepare for the road ahead.
Then hey… I don’t think greeting that finish line every so often can hurt.
To conclude, Steve Jobs once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” I’m glad I came from a creative, vibrant, and diverse city (London) and that I had a family that encouraged my gifts.