What Juilliard Means to Me
I had many preconceived notions about what “Juilliard” was when I initially applied to the MFA Drama program. To me, Juilliard had this reputation of being “up there” and quite snobbish. So during my initial audition day I made sure to keep my eyes wide open to see how the school would sit well with me and if it really was the right place for me to spend the next four years of my life.
I left the building that evening after making it to the initial callbacks exhausted but kind of “love-struck.” Like when you meet someone for the first time not sure what to expect and then you leave them in a kind of daze. In the following days I could not stop thinking about how I felt in the space and how I felt about the community and the Drama faculty.
Juilliard is, above and beyond, a great match for me. It is the miracle that has been awaiting me for so long. The Drama community of the school is, surprisingly, the community that I have always longed and searched for but could never find where I had come from. Juilliard to me means community. It is a space where the greatest and most talented artists of my generation intersect, collaborate and build something greater than the sum of our parts.
The Juilliard journey also means investigating. Jim Houghton wanted to create “an environment not based on fear, whether that’s of being cut or of not achieving, but on spending each and every day here truly investigating the craft and your inner instincts as an artist.” His passing has left me with a greater sense and need to truly investigate what it means to be human, what it is that feeds and scares me about myself in the craft, what it means to observe and allow myself to grapple and to be “in the midst of something” in front of other people.
I do not intend to graduate from this program having to “achieve” any one particular thing. I am not here to put an impressive stamp on my resume and then move on. I am here to lay the groundwork and foundation for the next several decades of my life, both as a human being and an “artisan,” always curious, always asking questions, always in wonder and in awe, compassionate and ready to listen but is a staunch advocate of my own voice and the voices of those who still need to be heard.
Regina De Vera