I loved being a graduate student. I spend three years being challenged, supported, and invited to grow. I wanted to stay forever. In May 2010 I graduated with my MFA in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University. All of a sudden, I didn’t have my cushy grad student life anymore. I felt like I was starting from zero and it was scary.
I find myself on the job front in a weird in-between space. I don’t want anyone to give me the big fancy job of my dreams. I want to make it for myself. I am co-founding a theatre company in Phoenix, Arizona that will create community-engaged theatre with youth and I am SO EXCITED about it. What I quickly realized though, is that there is a significant amount of time and work between having this great idea for this fantastic theatre and actually being able to support myself with it. I was initially shocked, scared, and frustrated by the in-between space. I don’t think I fully understood while I was in school that a career doesn’t materialize out of thin air when you graduate. It takes time and work. I have come to a place of peace with the in-between. I’ve come to feel that this is a fantastic place to be because I get to go on a journey to build the career I want to have.
When I set out on the job market for my in-between job, I did some intense networking. I called and emailed colleagues at theatres and told people I was graduating, I wanted to be in Phoenix, and I wanted to work with them. Here’s what I came up with: I’m working at Phoenix Theatre in the education department doing 84,000 different things that I love to do: I teach a theatre for social change class at a local performing arts charter high school, I co-direct QSpeak theatre, I teach an arts literacy theatre class at two elementary schools, and I do administrative work supporting other programs in our department. I am also picking up smaller gigs at other arts organizations in town.
All in all, I’m pretty thrilled with my in-between job. I’m supporting myself working in my field and moving towards starting a theatre. My next in-between job mission: health insurance.
Xanthia Angel Walker Graduate of ASU’s MFA in TYA program