What would you have done differently

Ashley is a 30-year old musician, singer, actress in New York City. She works at School of Rock NYC teaching voice, guitar and piano lessons to students while helping them learn how to be in a professional band. She has a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance, Psychology, a minor in statistics and women’s studies, and a Masters in Mental Health Counseling. She has been in several musicals, writes her own music and performs with her band in the city. Please visit ashleymarielewis.net for more information.
After being in school for almost 10 years, two bachelors, a masters, and two minors later, I realize, I approached my education with reckless abandon. Given the opportunity, I would have approached my education radically different starting with picking my major. I would have researched my major. I would have researched all majors that I was even slightly interested and try to reach out to those in that field, make sure I understood exactly what I was getting myself into. I would have done specific budgets to understand what I would need to make my life work. I would have carefully planned and coordinated every aspect of my future, the city I wanted to live in, my rent, my living expenses, etc. I was never the type of person to get stuck in the details because I was always too afraid of the hardships or complications that accompanied them, thus preventing me from reaching my goals. The details were my enemies.
I would have also made sure to at least major in something that would have supported my major career goals as a professional performer. It is a common belief to not need a backup plan in the arts, because that would mean not taking enough risks to commit yourself 100% to your career. WRONG, you need a backup plan if for nothing else to support yourself while you are chasing your dreams. The WORST thing you can do is have to depend on others for money, support, emotional stability blah, blah, blah. The most efficient way seems to be the technical route, ie. computer techie, website construction, anything that allows you to work from home, work for yourself and be your own boss. This doesn’t only need to be for the arts, but any field you aspire to be in, a job in the tech world is a great way to sustain your lifestyle until you find yourself in better situations. An artistic profession can be lonely, depressing due to the nature of limited work, but when work finally does appear, you are the most blessed and happy spirit in the world! Wouldn’t it be nice to be as happy and fulfilled in between artistic jobs?
Basically, I would have talked to my parents, but more importantly, I would have talked to people in my profession. Only they can offer you real wisdom and insight into your future. You have to be the most proactive person in your life. You can’t wait on others: professors, friends, contacts, internships, YOU are the only person who can get you where you want to go. You have to be smart enough to make, develop and keep contacts for people that can offer you the “in” you need. Most importantly, develop the skill to find the possible problems in every situation and be able to think 10 steps ahead to properly deal with these obstacles. Every situation has problems, if you can’t see them, you aren’t looking hard enough.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest