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Aug 12 2017
by Oonagh Kelly

7 Things You Should Stop Saying to Theatre Majors

By Oonagh Kelly - Aug 12 2017

Ah, yes, theatre majors: The ever-utilized teen movie stereotype, the outspoken outcasts, seemingly the synonym for unemployment. But could these elusive, overly dramatic nerds possibly have feelings when you’re talking to them about their future? The answer is yes, they could, and they do. Here are seven things that people say all the time that theatre majors are just not really vibing with.

1. "You know, it's not going to be like high school."

Generally, people say this in an effort to explain that pursuing theatre as a career will be harder than getting involved in high school plays. Please read that sentence again and explain to me why you think we don’t already know that. It’s common sense. We get it and, generally, this is exactly why we choose to major in theatre: So we will be more prepared when we eventually enter the theatre business as professionals.

2. "Oh, that's nice! What's your backup plan/are you double majoring?"

Imagine this being said with a really forced and slightly startled smile, and you basically get the whole picture. This feels like the person you’re talking to is completely discrediting your want to study theatre and that really sucks. Yes, the different branches of the theatre business have a lot of competition within them that often make it difficult to get a job, but you know what? So does the law business. And I don’t see you asking any pre-law majors what their backup plan is.

3. "Man, I wish I had chosen an easy major like you."

For the record, literally no major is “easy.” Every single one requires you to extensively research a specific subject with stakes that are much higher than anything you experienced in high school. And theatre majors are absolutely no exception. When was the last time you spent seven hours straight running across a stage while belting your face off during tech week? Or stayed up all night doing script/character analysis in order to be prepared to stand up in front of a group of strangers in a state of complete emotional vulnerability? In conclusion, this comment is cancelled.

4. "Was science just not your thing?"

Clearly, manners weren’t yours.

5. “Better brush up on those waiting/waitressing skills!"

If theatre majors had a dollar for every time they heard this, they wouldn’t have to listen to any of these stupid unemployment comments anymore. I mean, seriously, do you realize how crappy this makes someone feel? It’s basically someone openly admitting that they think you’re going to fail at something that you’re passionate about. That may not be how it is intended, but that is absolutely how it feels. Don’t give advice on a career you know nothing about unless it’s asked for, OK?

6. "You might want to take some business courses."

The connotation behind this is very similar to the waiting/waitressing comment, in that the person is referring to us not succeeding at our desired career and ending up stuck in a job that’s more “sensible.” Now, I know plenty of theatre majors that are in fact taking a handful of business classes while in college, which is completely fine, but that was their choice. Leave that decision up to us. Trust me, we are definitely aware of that option.

7. "What are you planning on doing with a major like that?”

Really, Deborah? As college things go, figuring out what an acting major is planning on doing isn’t rocket science. It literally says it in the name. I also plan on having a side gig of taking over the world through my sheer determination to prove you wrong.

Now, my theatre babes, go out there and show them who’s boss.

Lead Image Credit: Disney

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Oonagh Kelly - Elon University

Oonagh Kelly is a freshman who is currently pursuing a BFA in Acting at Elon University, with a possible double major in Arts Administration. She knows that you're probably struggling to pronounce her first name and would like you to understand that you are definitely not the only one. Some of her favorite pastimes include forcing people to watch movies that she likes, making cups of tea, and judging people by their zodiac signs (Aries, by the way). If you're interested in keeping up with her, follow her on Twitter @oonthegoon!

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