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Student Earnestly Seeking Life/Educational Advice

BobbyDarinFanBobbyDarinFan 0 replies3 discussions Forum Champion
I've written several drafts of this post, and after a completely sleepless night of worry, I've decided to just throw this out there and see what kind of feedback I can get. I am an only child and the first person in my family to go to college, and though my parents are extremely supportive of me, I think it'd be helpful to get some feedback from outside sources.

. . .

I’ve always been a serious student. In high school, I graduated near the top of my class. I went on to attend Vanderbilt University for my first year of college, then did a summer intensive program abroad sponsored by the school. I went to Vanderbilt because it was the only college I applied to that was able to meet my significant financial need. Vandy also happens to be located in my hometown, which further cut down on expenses. Despite the solid academics, however, Vanderbilt was not a good fit for me, and I was overall very unhappy there.

I took this past fall semester off, withdrawing from Vanderbilt, completely burnt out on school, hoping to rebuild my stamina and regain my enthusiasm for academics, and vowing to transfer somewhere smaller and without Greek life, where I could pursue other interests. Transfer I did, to a small liberal arts college in the Northeast, but after finishing the spring semester, I remain extremely burnt out on school and just as miserable as I was this time last year at Vandy. My GPA remains a 4.0, and though I have worked hard for my grades, in a way it is also frustrating, because no one sees how much of a failure I feel like on the inside, being so fed up with school and dissatisfied with what I'm doing and studying, while I see most of my peers seemingly having the time of their lives.

I’ve promised my family that I’ll obtain my B.A. on time (2015), and at this point I feel drawn to pursuing acting, which is a creative venture I’ve dabbled in in the past, performing in some plays and in a couple of improv troupes (most recently up at the LAC I transferred to). But the administration of said college just voted to dramatically cut funding and faculty and course offerings to the theatre department. For this reason, as well as the fact that the school is located in a tiny country town, I feel that I would gain more experience by completing my degree online from home (through a part-time, accelerated program operated by a brick-and-mortar school) and receiving professional training on the side while auditioning for local jobs, trying to get an agent, and working part-time to save up to move to L.A. a couple years down the road. This would be a much cheaper route to earning my degree, as well.

But part of me is tempted to return to [the security of?] "traditional" academics by applying for readmission to Vanderbilt for the fall (the deadline has not yet passed). This way, I could remain in my hometown, commute to classes like I did before, and also train locally and gain real-world, working experience of the Nashville market. Perhaps if I were pursuing acting on the side, I would be too busy to complain about Greek life and the other social characteristics of the school that previously made me hate the place. (The only thing is: I think I would still have the issue of what to major in. I am so burnt out on academics, but my family advises me to major in something other than theatre, so that I can fall back on something in the likely case that acting jobs won’t pay the bills.)

Hours ago, I was thinking maybe I should look to just transfer yet again, to a better-fitting school with a conservatory program—some place like Columbia College Chicago—so my degree program would *be* my training, but financially this is just not a viable option.

I'll be the first to admit that I’m all over the map. I’ve never had trouble with indecisiveness, and honestly I *never* thought I’d be in this position. This is unlike me, and for that reason and because no one in my family has attended college, the people closest to me are struggling to advise me. In high school, I had such a clear picture of my life and career (linguist); my thoughts and interests are a lot broader than I realized three years ago and, as a result, have changed. Hence, my current situation.

Any advice/insight will be truly appreciated. Thanks!
edited May 2013 in Non-Traditional Students
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