Dukies in the Arts

Wow, it’s been quite a while since I last blogged but I’m inspired after being a Duke NY panelist tonight for current students and recent alums interested in careers in the Arts. I got to think back to when I was an engineering student who gave up on the pre-med dream but hadn’t yet found my way into the arts. There was nervous energy in the room tonight from the students who want to find jobs but aren’t sure how or exactly what they want to do yet. And that’s OK. Seriously.

The hardest part about graduating into the working world is transitioning from being handed classes and assignments with specific objectives and guidelines to…not having that. Instead of being told what to do, you have to figure out what you want to do, figure out how you’re going to do it, AND be financially viable. Life becomes way more nebulous after you leave school.

A recurring theme from the evening is that it’s a process…which often takes a lot more time and patience than ambitious young Dukies expect. The most you can often do is get a little closer to what you think you’re interested in…and see how it goes. Hopefully, you’ll find guidance and support in friends and mentors – alum or not! – along the way.

After the students all went around and listed their dream jobs (or passed if they didn’t know yet), we discovered that the panelists also still have dream jobs they’re working towards. I felt very fortunate to realize…that I think I’m IN mine:  an actress with a very flexible and financially sufficient engineering “support” job. What more could I ask for? Well, besides starring in an action drama like Maggie Q as a Chinese pirate queen OR being in either Quentin Tarantino’s or Baz Lurhmann’s next movie IN ANY CAPACITY AT ALL. I’d also be very happy doing comedy like fellow Duke grads Retta and Ken Jeong. Hey, being in your dream job doesn’t mean you can’t still have aspirations!


I left the event with a renewed excitement to create, to “make new,” whether in other people’s gigs or my own, like my Bennett Cerf jokes channel! It’s for fun and really for me and my friends to enjoy, but I hope others get a kick out of ’em too! (And I’ve gotten pretty good at doing the Ken Burns effect in iMovie because of it!)

Bennett Cerf Channel

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