Freshman Year of Life

Sep 16, 2009 by     No Comments    Posted under: Thousands of Stories

Often referred to as ‘Phase 3,’ the Freshman Year of Life is that wondrous and magical time in any young professional’s life when he or she finds themselves freshly emerging from the loving womb of academia into the cold and harsh slap of the ‘real world.’ I have often been warned of this time from condescending post-graduates who had just entered the phase themselves. Now I find myself among them – my colleagues: floating around the streets without a syllabus to tell one with whom to befriend, where to go, and what time to be there.

We are an ambitious and talented bunch but, children of the recession, we are also faced with an enormous hill to climb. The baby-boomers’ doctor perhaps didn’t give them the appropriately harsh slap when they emerged into this aforementioned phase and now Dr. Truth is making up for lost time. This proverbial slap on the patooty is something for which I am definitely grateful and from which I am still recovering. I bruise easily – it’s a symptom of low protein levels in my vegan diet – and, though this New York City ‘slap’ has helped me become an adult faster than one could ever predict, it is also marks the beginning of a very long road.


Hello. My name is Emily, some people call me Scout, some call me Schmidty, or Pretty Cat, or Carpenter Cat, or ESB, or E-to-the-SB, or just Emily. My favorite, and my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fight-name (care of a 15 yr old boy at my academy) is Emily Schmidt-BOOM-Shaka-laka. I think it’s appropriate for many reasons but I will not divulge my reasons in this specific post. You can call me anything as long as it’s not Ugly-Talentless-Cow. This is my one request.

I graduated from my BFA Acting program almost 9 months ago and, with the preparedness of a fully developed fetus, I have been born on the incredible streets of New York City. It has now been one month exactly. On that day, I was severely overwhelmed, depressed, lost, and homesick. My mother, Goddess that she is, took me to a psychic for some solace (an activity I have, until that point, always avoided.) I do not like Psychics – I want to live my life with no knowledge of what is coming. It’s for this same reason that I do not like the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.” It allows people to become passive participants in their lives. I hope to never become a person who thinks that I, 1) cannot learn anything new, 2) cast stop pursuing dreams, and 3) feel entitled or deserving of anything. But, thats just me. Regardless, this psychic saw my worries and informed my that, by September 16th, my luck would change. Today is the day. I will have to let you know.

Up until this point it has been a daily dose of applying for “survival” jobs, submitting for auditions, and wandering the foreign landscape. These activities, themselves, consume my days and are a day-job in themselves. They do not pay. There will come a point in the very near future where fulfillment will not be enough to cover the rent, food, and daily expenses. Until that day, I stay stubborn in only looking for theatre/industry related positions doing any sort of job within those said establishments. Until that comes through, I also pass the hours with an unpaid internship at a theatre publication and by hanging out with other industry friends. Real friends. Not fake connections. I have a few of those too but I prefer to make friends. It’s just my nature. The “its all who you know” spirit of NYC will and has got to me and I will begin to network properly but for now, I surround myself solely with those who I actually like. But, for the most part, I spend the majority of time writing.

Everywhere I go, everyone I see, everything I do – I jot down in my mind. I say, sometimes even out loud, “Memo.” And I proceed to write down my thoughts in the memo application of my crackberry. I think it is a result of my recent addiction to For whatever reason, this is typically how I write: short, sitcom-like-episodes of my day-to-day and moment to moment thoughts. Many are about people I see on the train. Some are about deep and life changing discoveries. Either way, they are typically short, sweet, and a little sarcastic. Like me. On a good day.

That’s all for now. No acting news except the realization that I am going to have to start acting every day to play the role of “best actress in all the land.” Or, I can always resort to strapping a big sign on my back that reads, “BUY ME.” I am optimistic. My writing suggests cynicism and bitterness but I am confident in my abilities and my future. Now, my big challenge will be convincing this City of that. It has already given me a hand, though. A big, flat hand to the face: wake up to reality, Emily. This is no cake walk. This is your life. No one cares about your career and your life more than you will so give and damn and for heavens sake, follow each and every one of your dreams.

Oh! And I just finished The Alchemist – so my life is now layered in quotes about following my Personal Legend and having conversations with my heart. I like them. They remind me of who I am, what I want, and why I am here.

“There is only one way to learn,” the alchemist answered. “It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”


– The Actress in New York