You could say that I am a bit of a drama school expert, having spent six years of my life living it day in and day out. During those years, I encountered many people who were not living my “drama school” lifestyle, and they always had questions about what it was that I did all day. My encounters generally went like this:
Oh, you go to drama school? Sounds so fun! What do you do all day?
Maybe your flatmate, friend, or family member has no idea what “drama school” entails. To the outside world, it may look like one giant ball of fun. Singing, dancing, acting all day – doesn’t sound too hard, right? Little do they know the hours and hours of prep that must go into this discipline we call musical theatre. Much like professional athletes –to play the game, you must first prepare.
Your first class may begin at 8 am, but that is not when your day starts. You must wake up at least an hour beforehand in part for your commute, sure, but also because you have to prep your mind, body, and voice. You cannot start belting at 8 am; you have to do those lip trills in your morning shower and eat your banana. If you are anything like me, you’ll also have to have your morning coffee before you can start grasping the concept of studying Stephen Sondheim’s brilliance.
So, you have got classes from 8 am to 6 pm and then, if you are lucky, maybe you have a rehearsal! You’re looking at a 12-hour day with a lunch break, which doesn’t actually feel like a break because you are putting on makeup for the mock audition right after lunch! You get home, eat dinner, settle down with your script, homework, and bottle of water and study for the next day to do a complete repeat. Tired of reading this? Yep – it is a busy schedule & can burn you out if you are not careful.
Looking back at my many years of living like this, quality sleep was difficult to achieve sometimes. It took me years to find my own groove. However, the second I got 100% organised and prioritised my 6-8 hours of sleep, my brain, body, and mind worked better in all my classes.
Use your Sunday to plan the week. If you enjoy checking off boxes like me, buy a planner and make to-do lists for each day of the week that you can check off as you accomplish that task!
Being organised leads to more hours of sleep! There is no point in staying up past midnight cramming in lyrics to a song. It is not going to work, so get those hours of sleep, and hopefully, your new “organised self” has prepped those lyrics ahead of time!
I found myself constantly dehydrated during my first few years of training. It led to me feeling tired and not focused. Always have a water bottle on you to keep those vocal cords in check and your body hydrated.
Your body can get sore and tired very quickly, especially if your program is dance-heavy. I love doing a 5 to 10 minute stretch when I wake up & when I go to bed to prepare my muscles for the day & to help them relax at the end of the day.
Lastly, let your Saturday or Sunday be a rest day if you can. I always wanted to be as social as possible during my first years at college, but I always found that my weeks went better if I took my Sunday to organise, relax, and reset! It is not dull or lame to prioritise yourself so that you can be successful. That is why you are at drama school, after all!
Understand that no one will understand the life of a drama student unless they are one or have been one. It is challenging but also very rewarding. Soak up every ounce of knowledge that you can, keep yourself healthy, & stay ahead of the game!