I am now back home and have graduated from my Semester at LAMDA. Although I am happy to be here, with family and work and everything, it is still bittersweet, so I am going to fondly look back on the end of that journey.

The final few days were very stress-free school-wise, at least compared to the nerves of our final performance on the Wednesday. Still, that doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything. On Thursday morning we had tutorials with a teacher from each department. These tutorials were designed for the full time students, who would be coming back after a break, so in addition to telling us how we did over the course of the past few months, the teachers also found goals and objectives for us to work on once we went home. I got a lot of notes about confidence, but a lot of the teachers also commented on how far I had come since I first walked into their classes, and many called me brave for my doing-whatever-scares-me attitude. There was also a lot of notes on my voice, and support. I asked our last director, the head of the drama school, if he thought I would have had a chance to get in, had I auditioned. We had spent a chunk of the tutorial going over all of the things I needed to do in order to fix my voice, so when he said I wouldn’t get in with my voice where it’s at, I took it to mean that he was implying I would get in once I followed his recommendations and fixed my voice. Attending LAMDA isn’t currently in my plans, but I like the idea that my acting is good enough, and all I need to fix is my voice, which I already know that I struggle with.

Once tutorials were over, I went for my last little meander around London, seeing the End of Longing and Sunset Boulevard in the process. I have yet to see the film, but the Sunset Boulevard play was amazing.

On Friday, we had our movement pieces to create and present. We came in the morning and worked on them, until presentations at around 3. Our task was to sort of recreate an action movie, in 5 minutes or less, with 3-5 people with only a small rectangle of floor space. Our group chose Spy Kids, and it was pretty fun, but watching all the others was truly amazing.

We finished off the school day with getting our diplomas and a little farewell/graduation party at LAMDA. This continued for us that evening at NIDO, where a group of us were staying. Almost everyone came over, including a teacher and we talked, played drinking games and just hung out until after midnight, when the tears and goodbyes came. I wasn’t going to cry, but then Sydney happened. I finished packing at 3 am, went to sleep for a few hours, then left London and flew home.

My time there was an amazing adventure, with 9 day/weekend trips, 16 afternoon teas, 30 plays, countless castles and palaces and meandering through London. Not to mention the 3 Sleazys, 2 Dance Nights, 3 Play Performances, RP Afternoon, Songs and Sweet Airs and a movement performance in 14 weeks of classes. I learnt a lot about iambic pentameter, RP, singing and dance. But more that, I learnt a whole lot about me, and all the things I can accomplish when I am not letting my fear take over. I have this worry that I will lose it all and revert back to my old self, but Molly assured us all that we are like elastic bands. Once you have stretched them out enough, they can’t go back.

I also met an incredible group of people. There were those that I spent so much time with in classes and rehearsals, that I knew I was going to miss, but there were also people that I hadn’t really had a chance to talk to much until that last night. They were not only incredible in their performances and on the stage, but there were things said to me during those goodbyes that I will hold on to, and remember next time I am not feeling sure of myself. I hope to see all of them again someday, maybe on set, maybe on opening night of their Broadway plays and musicals…

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 “No graduation speaker will ever tell you that the future is anything but uncertain. It never is. But graduations need not only be obsessed with looking ahead; a graduation can be a day on which we turn back and trace our steps to see how we ended up where we are.”

-Taylor Mali

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