BEYOND EXPERIENCE: Rising in the face of failure

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
by Stella, AFM
Stella Graf, 3rd year AFM student

A solitary figure stands in the middle of the stage as a bright beam of light surrounds her. Suddenly, she takes a deep breath and realizes – it’s show time. Dramatic, I know, but that’s life in the theatre. I’ve spent many years on stage and behind the scenes enjoying the immense highs and the deep lows of the performing arts. Through it all, though, I’ve gained valuable skills that have greatly impacted my academic and co-op experiences. 

I’ve always been very successful academically, but I’ve had to work hard to be successful in theatre. Starting as an actor, I learned quickly how to handle rejection through failed auditions. For some, it can be devastating losing out on a role, but for me, it helped me develop the resiliency needed to bounce back. A trait that certainly helps when you receive a bad grade or get overlooked for that co-op job. 

As a relatively cautious and indecisive person, working behind the scenes lead to quick decision-making. I had to learn how to roll with the punches, work with what I had, and fix problems in a matter of seconds. These were the things that, without theatre, I never thought I’d be able to do. 

AFM has helped in a similar way. It can be a very rigorous program, but it teaches you how to develop the necessary skills to get you through challenges and set-backs. The difference between someone who makes it through the program and someone who doesn’t is having the ability to step back from failure, compose themselves, reflect, and say “what’s next?’.

Come see how the AFM program can shape who you become. Read more about Stella's undergraduate journey.