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How to navigate life after graduation

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You need all the advice you can get to make the transition from student life to a flourishing career in the arts. Here are 22 things you should be doing from people who know.

Life after graduation. Image:

You have handed in your final assignment, shut the doors behind you from the last examination and let out a deep sigh of relief. You are calm and simultaneously excited. The summer stretches out in front of you and a new year, a new you, and a new career in the arts awaits.

But then it dawns on you what you have left behind: the routine of university classes, expectations that fuel your creativity, a vast network of friends and potential collaborators, access to countless resources, the minds of teachers, and free wifi.

How do you make the transition from student life to a flourishing career in the arts? From film, to fine arts, industry professionals, practicing artists and recent graduates share their tips on what to do after you graduate to help you find your feet.


Jeff Janisheski, Head of Acting, NIDA:

1. Be tenacious:
It really boils down to one word: tenacity. In any industry, but especially in acting, there are going to be so many rejections and so many closed doors that you just have to keep doing whatever you can do to keep yourself creative and keep perusing your path. That’s a very difficult thing, and takes time, but if you really want it, you’ll keep pursuing it even if it means you might not have a career until you are five or even ten years down the track.

2. Diversify:
Learn not only how to be a great actor, but also how to direct, write plays, produce. You might not find offers, money or success through one avenue, but if you diversity and have a number of things you are talented in and passionate about, you have a much more a broad range of success that will keep you occupied and engaged in your art form. That doesn’t often happen in your twenties, so you have to have some kind of paying job that isn’t soul destroying!

3. Make your own opportunities:
Put on a show at a café, even in parking lot, if you have no money you can still do theatre anywhere. With an iPhone you can make a film anytime. Frankly, there is no excuse to not be busy with your craft. It might not mean that you make any money from it, but you will keep busy, keep creative, keep up your connections and collaborations and eventually you will get known.

Katie Castles, Actor / Comedian,
I Love Man Tits:

Madeleine Dore

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