Like many performing arts students, I’ll be returning back to on-site training this week, where we will be back to a normal timetable structure five days a week. Being honest? I’m really nervous. Returning back to training is such an exciting step forward for many of us performers, but for those of you that ARE nervous (and maybe feel unjustifiably so because everyone else is so excited) this blog is for you! We’re also sharing some top tips on things to do before returning to training to make sure you’re really looking after yourself ❤️
WE HAVEN’T HAD FULL TIME ON-SITE TRAINING IN OVER A YEAR
For the last year we’ve been online, hybrid and so much more. To go from seeing minimal people and staying away from others to running straight back into training can be really nerve wracking. To go back into an immersive and emotive drama school environment with 18 other people...that's a big leap!
SOME OF US HAVE NEVER MET IN PERSON
There is a huge pressure and expectation you feel (especially in first year) to be exceptionally close with your fellow students and many students (especially first years) haven't really had that opportunity to bond and build that relationship, meaning that meeting others in person can be even more daunting.
I DON’T FEEL CREATIVE, MOTIVATED OR ATTACHED TO ANYTHING
Many of us have struggled to feel connected to our craft, to each other or to ourselves this year and so to jump back into full time training where you are expected to commit your full ‘self’ to the craft, explore and be creative, is really hard to do right now.
WE’VE HAD NO ROUTINE OR STRUCTURE
A lot of us haven’t had a structure or consistent routine for over a year now and so returning to a structured 8am-6pm training environment can be a huge adjustment. I personally live two hours away from school so going from an 8am start 6pm finish to a 5am start 9pm finish is alottttt.
And the above isn’t just true of drama school but of everyday life, so many people are fearful of the sharp return to ‘normal’ after a year of ‘abnormal’, especially when everyone else seems so excited by the prospect, so what can we do to protect ourselves and feel as safe as possible?
TOP TIPS TO MAKE 'BACK TO ON-SITE' TRAINING EASIER
Have a big sit down check-in on your first day back, see how people are feeling and be honest with each other. Outline your boundaries and say what you’re comfortable with in terms of interacting, distance, touch etc.
If everyone is honest from the outset then both you and your group will feel more comfortable and in control.
Plan to get an early night if you can, or a nice unwinding evening the night before you go back, pack your bag the night before, make a lunch ready for the next day. Take as much stress out of the morning routine as possible for your first week back so that you can wake up a little later, take time to get ready with ease and try to make the mornings as enjoyable as possible.
It’s easy to say ‘I’m going back, I’m going to get my mojo back, write 60 plays, film 2 monologues and a choreo routine” but you need to give yourself a break and ease yourself back in slowly.
Set yourself some goals in terms of what you want to achieve and where you are at with yourself and your craft right now. Something like “First week back I have no expectations for myself, other than to allow myself to return to training and make sure I feel comfortable”.
You may be someone that is super excited to return and can’t wait to talk to everyone non-stop for 15hrs...but understand others may be feeling scared, isolated and vulnerable about returning, so take your time with others, check-in with the less chatty people in the group and make sure everyone feels included.
Make a conscious effort to schedule self-care for your first week back; run a bath, buy a face mask - anything you like to do to relax and unwind. Get yourself a journal, write down everything you need to do for college when you get back, then shut the book, turn off your phone and really take the time to process the day and look after yourself in those early days back.
So there you have it! Our top tips for returning to training, it’s totally ok to either not be excited or feel nervous about returning, your feelings are completely valid. Take time for you, give yourself a break and ease back in slowly.
We’ll be documenting our return back to school all week on stories so check in on that and if you ever feel nervous or want advice we are always available to answer every question you have on our DM’s!