A Fork in the Road

“TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
…”

-Robert Frost

Despite what the title of this blog may lead you to believe, I am in fact not just a Literature student, but also a Drama undergrad. Drama is something I picked up at GCSE and sort of forgot to ever put down again.

Drama classes are the strangest classes you could ever hope to take part in; one week might have you pretending to be a tree, the next you might have a lengthy debate about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. No other subject is quite so diverse or exciting.

It is in drama that I have made some of my dearest friends, fallen a little bit in love (and out again), laughed until I’ve cried, wept in frustration, and on numerous occasions made a right prat of myself.

It was with this in mind that two years ago I applied to universities for places on their English and Drama BA’s, I just couldn’t choose between my two favourite subjects, and it was because of this that I came to UEA – in my opinion they have the best English and Drama joint honours course in the country (I may be a little bias). Had I been applying just for English, I don’t know if I would have looked at UEA, not that they don’t have a good reputation for Literature, but so many uni’s offer it that you would have to be a bit more ruthless when cutting down the list, and East Anglia wasn’t somewhere I would have immediately chosen to be (when I was younger I had often fancied going to university in London). But here I am.

In the interim between A-levels and starting uni, I took a year out and trained with a theatre company in London. We were all trainee actors but our directors and creative teams were all professionals, some of whom are renowned in their field. This was a wonderful opportunity to see what the life of an actor is really like, and the answer is that it is hard. You might have 9-5 rehearsals for ten days at a time, then have only a day off before you are called in again, you’re always short on money (I went for a month once living on £5 a week for groceries) what with the price of rent and travel, and at the end of all that you might not even like the play you’re working on – but that’s the life, and for some people it’s all worth it.

However, for me, it is not. I started uni no longer sure whether drama was what I should be doing, but I decided to stick it out for a while and see. I’ve made so many great friends on the course and I have really enjoyed some of the classes, but at the end of the day I just don’t think that this is what I should be doing. As I write this post, on my desk sits the form that I need to submit to request a move from English and Drama, to just English. Despite my conviction that this is the right step for me, I still find the form reproachful and feel that in some way I have failed already, after nearly four years of practical drama classes the notion of just stopping seems almost unthinkable. I feel in my heart that I shall always be a drama student even when I am no longer studying it, and will always hope to be considered in some way a part of that community, as strange as that might sound.

But there it is, and we shall see whether I live to regret it.

I hope that in writing this post I can show other students, or prospective ones, that you don’t have to fear making the wrong choice of subject at university, because there are always ways of changing your path, if you can find it in yourself to do so.

Until next week, adieu.