Reality Unexpected

May 5, 2008
By Riley Bean, La Vista, NE

It was after school on April 5, my birthday, and as I made my way down the long school hallway towards the auditorium, I felt my heart ready to burst out of my chest in anticipation and worry. Yet, I had never felt so sure of my future before. I knew my name would be listed next to some of my fellow friends and peers. I also knew that this meant seventh hour of junior and senior year would never be better; acting was something I had come to love. It was true I did not do well on my audition, but I knew Mrs. Grasso liked me and that she would hopefully look past this one time I was not prepared. I was happy because I was certain I made it. I almost ran to the list. My fate and my future were set in stone on a piece of paper held up on the glass by two pieces of tape.

This was not the first time I had tried out for something and knew I “had it in the bag.” From my past accomplishments in my lifetime I knew I did not need to worry; I was confident of myself. I had made almost every achievement that I had to try out for, so I knew I did not need to worry. My future would include whatever I tried out for; no questions asked.

It started in fourth grade. I made the Honor Choir and got out of school for a whole day to sing with four of my classmates as well as many other children from different schools. In junior high I made show choir both years. In eighth grade I was one of seven who made the University of Nebraska-Omaha Honor Choir. I continued in high school using my talent, making show choir every year, thus far, and had also made Concert Choir, another class for juniors and seniors.

Drama has proven good to me in the past as well. In Drama II, I got the lead role in our show. In Drama III I was one of the four main characters in the show. I was a chorus member in both Les Miserables and Jesus Christ Superstar and was a fairy in Peter Pan. All of these achievements gave me confidence to believe in my teachers’ because I was truly talented. Not only that, but they have always known me to be a good person, so I believed they would always choose me no matter what. That was my mindset.

I got to the list and searched it thoroughly for an R. My heart raced as my eyes danced vertically across the list. Twice and even three times I searched; yet nowhere on the list was the name “Riley.” Reality set in. I had not made the elite acting class at my school known as “Play Pro.” I slowly told myself to calm down; I even tried to talk myself out of crying, but I could not. I tried to walk it off and paced up and down the same hallway that I had just sauntered down so confidently a few moments ago. Nothing could stop my river of tears from flowing. I had finally learned an easy lesson the hardest way it could have been taught: in order to be successful, you have to be prepared.

I realized that because of my own choice to not memorize my monologue in the allotted time period, my future had taken an unexpected turn. I was taken aback. The following weekend was the worst. I tried my hardest to forget how real this was, but the reality of my situation had hit me like ten tons of bricks; I am indeed responsible for all of my actions in life. My future was truly in my hands, and I let it slip through them on my audition day. I know now that in order to live my life I must be prepared.

Sixth hour in Backstage Theater Tech this year makes me stronger. Mrs. Grasso does not treat me any differently, and I still work hard. Even as my peers are talking about what scene they are blocking in Play Pro, not one voice in my head says, “Oh, well, I should be doing that but…”. Instead, I worry about how I will do on my Spanish test, seventh hour of the day. My friend who made Play Pro this year tells me everyday I will make it next year. I just hold my head high and tell her thanks for thinking about me. In the end I know I will not always make everything I try out for; but if I do, it’s because I worked hard for it, not because of my good track record. I will be successful because I was prepared; and that is what life is all about.

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