What Freshman Year is like for the Artsy-Fartsy Types

Hey there, wordpressers! Boy it’s a good thing this isn’t a button blog, because I’m sure we wouldn’t be friends. Because we’d be pressing each other’s buttons! …The chirp of a cricket is enough applause for me.

Anywho, I feel like I haven’t properly introduced myself. I’m Saleem, a sophomore at NYU. I watch TV all the time, so I figured I should make that my major. Now that the fall semester has ended, I’ve noticed some interesting observations about the first year of creative arts college.

The summer before, you will be purged by two polarizing states of mind. Your immense pride of being one of the lucky few to get into a school based off the merits of your creative work will inspire you to start thinking about your career at that tender age of eighteen while at the same your immense pride will inspire you to be the laziest you’ll ever be in life. This is the first summer when you don’t have to chase down every volunteer job feeding Chilean llamas or summer program that teaches you more about how to get invited into that cute Lebanese girl’s dorm than learn what the hell a gaffer is. You can just chill on the curb waiting for the ice cream man instead, or subscribe to that funny kid ranting without restraint of his ADD pills on YouTube. The immense appeal of activities that demand a lack of brain stimulation and physical effort will be the forbidden fruit that you taste over and over again until that half finished screenplay you’ve been writing on Celtx is officially shelved.

Once you reach creative arts college, you will meet lots of incredibly talented people. People who have been working in theatre their whole lives. People who have won awards at state festivals. People who have turned their creative work into something tangible. If you are not one of these people, you will feel a rushing desire to validate yourself among these types of people. If you fail to write the best script ever, you will feel like shit. And if Donald Glover has trouble accomplishing that in his freshman year, chances are everyone will.

Which brings me to the teachers. Your teachers will be working professionals who have spent so long having their personal feelings torn apart over the quality of their work that they won’t think twice about shredding your work apart. Gone are the days where your high school painting teacher hailed you as an upcoming prodigy. You are a n00b now.

As some of your classmates shed off their n00biocity, each day you have not caught up to the pack is a tormenting reminder that you are probably not suited for your major. If you’re lucky as I was, you’ll have a teacher who addresses your ambivalence with suggestions to leave the class. This will result in you listening something akin to the somber “Where the Wild Things Are” soundtrack on repeat as you walk alone on the streets, praying to God you’ll have a mental breakdown so that you can feel something.

Eventually you realize that that doesn’t work and resume coming up with ideas that you are too afraid to commit to because you just know your teacher is going to tell you that the idea of an eighty-year old coming to peace with death isn’t filled with enough action to be a play. You are at this point, seriously considering being a bassoonist because none of your marching band teachers ever told you sucked at that.

You look up at your poster at Judd Apatow and marvel at his ability to make movies that don’t get mercilessly ripped into shreds. Mourn for the days when you thought you could someday be him. Revisit his Wikipedia bio and remember he quit college after his first year. Consider early retirement from your education path.

One day one of your classmates pitches an idea about a fly who, because he wasn’t born with wings, can’t fly. You believe it to be just as mediocre as your old-man dying idea but the rest of the class praises its novelty. This pisses you off. That night you storm your computer with a fervent passion, fueled by the fact that if Miss Wins Every Department Writing Contest can write her stupid fly idea, you are going to write whatever the hell you want.

Present your work fully expecting to hear shit about it. Plan to fantasize about your future bassooning career as they read it over until you realize you got a laugh. Presume it to be a fluke until you get another one. As they keep reading, chuckles slowly filter the room. Deny yourself to believe they truly like it until they reach the twist on page three, which you are certain everyone will find confusing and shitty. Which they don’t. People are actually having a good time reading your script. Suddenly, the reason why you even entered this school is clear to you. Read alongside with them. Find yourself laughing too.

Stuffed with intense pride over what your teacher called a “potentially solid piece of work”, resolve to revise it into something truly magnificent. Check your email. The funny kid on YouTube just uploaded a skit on How to Pull Off a Handlebar Mustache. Spend all night researching his videos. Refuse to worry about your script as you do so. It’s already potentially solid.

This process will countine itself about roughly seven times your freshman year.

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