Happy August, all! Even though I’m a Leo baby, August really snuck up on me this year. In a month, my internship with Steppenwolf will be over. I’ll be back in the grind of school and on the road to graduation. And with the internship coming to a close, I am increasingly thankful that this experience at Steppenwolf worked out. Intern life has been a major shift away from the life of a first year grad student, but I’m just now finally getting to dive into how and why it feels like I’ve stepped out of the safety net of school and into the real world.
1. Breadth vs Depth
The MAM program is pretty rad in that we get to explore so many different pieces of the arts world. I came into Columbia with a pretty strong sense of where I wanted to focus my attention. But in reality, I’ve gotten to do that and so much more. This program has set me up to enter and feel confident in any type of arts organization. When I started Columbia, I never would have thought that within a year, I would be producing a devised theater festival. (Curious? Check out previous blogger Brittany Price Anderson who is performing at Edinburgh Fringe as I type this). On the other hand, the internship at Steppenwolf has allowed me to dive deep into fundraising in the theater world, which has honestly been a bit of a mind blowing experience. The depth of learning at the internship and the breadth of experiences during school feels like the right educational pairing.
I love love love having a pretty predictable schedule, which the internship has provided. Getting to go to the office four days a week means that I get to become part of the fold and see projects all the way through. But I won’t lie—I do miss the flexibility that comes along with the full time student life. I’ll be happy to jump back into tailoring my weeks to be either nose-to-the-grindstone productive or creatively fluid.
The community built within the graduate cohort is like nothing else. We have all of our classes together. We celebrate each other’s victories. We share in collective grumble sessions when frustrations occur. This makes the 618 Building feel like a home base in a way that I wasn’t expecting. The internship is showing me community in a whole other way. In a few short months, I feel closer to the Chicago theater community in a way I didn’t think was possible over one summer. Connections abound in this broad community that is both welcoming and supportive.
I’m wrestling with how to keep hold of the wonderful aspects of the internship world once school starts back up. Maybe it’s possible or maybe losing proximity to the work is inevitable. Either way, the internship has been everything, and in a surprise to me, I may actually be ~excited~ for school to start back up.