What Happens Next for High School Theatre Students

Sarah Ferguson

OnStage Connecticut Columnist


As midterms pass me by, the realization hits that I am nearly through with my first year away at college. When I was a senior in high school, this was a time of prom-posals and graduation plans. This year it is a time of reflection. Leaving high school, I knew I was ready for college, and all I wanted was to go to school far away and see the world. Far away ended up being just over 100 miles which may not seem like a lot, but sometimes, it feels like I’m a million miles away (no Aladdin pun intended). You see, when you’re a senior in high school, you don’t necessarily realize what you’ll truly be leaving behind. For us theatre kids especially, the price we pay leaving high school goes far beyond tuition. 

Photo: New Canaan High School

Photo: New Canaan High School

You’re leaving your directors. These people, whom you may have butted heads with once or twice, are the ones that shaped your theatrical endeavors for the last 4 (or more) years! We may not like to admit it, but our high school directors stay with us forever. They are the ones we think of when you’re at college and you get a leading role, and the ones you think of when soundtracks from past productions come on your playlist. If you are still in high school, let your directors know how much you appreciate them because I promise you, you’ll never realize how much they meant to you until after you graduate. And if you’ve graduated high school, see if you can get back in touch with your directors! Whether your roles are small or large, directors never forget their students, and would probably really appreciate reconnecting and catching up!

You’re leaving behind some of your closest friends. Face it, not everyone in the shows are seniors. There will be people who you are close to and love dearly that will be staying in high school once you move on. Of course there will be new cast-mates and friends, but will they know about that one time at that cast party…. The short answer is no. Some experiences you can only share with those from your high school theatre years. My best friend is a year younger than me, and being away at college can sometimes be painful without her. You can’t help but miss the coffee runs, the rehearsals, the impromptu car concerts…and you never realize how important it all is to you until it’s no longer readily available. Nevertheless, we beat on. 

Finally, you’re leaving behind all that is familiar to you. As great as college is, at the beginning it is still a brand new school with brand new people and new experiences. It is the first step to forging your own way in the world and, for many, the first time you’ll be truly independent. You’ll make mistakes and there will be days when you just want to go home and see your family. At the same time, you’ll achieve more than you ever thought possible. The first time you pay your own phone bill or get that leading role in the mainstage production, you’ll know that you are where you’re supposed to be at that point in your life. Though the road is never easy, it is also never paved in stone; there is always room for unplanned twists and turns and that is what makes the trip worth taking.