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Where is she going to?

I’ve been bad about posting, because, well, in addition to my computer being balky, I have a new obsession. One that I am obsessed enough about to put before you now. At the end, there will be fandom thoughts, I promise.

McDiva, my darling daughter, is gearing up to apply to college. Here in the good ol’ USA, that can be a fairly complicated undertaking. Her situation is simplified (or complicated) by her desire to attend a school where she can pursue her interest in costuming. Or fashion. Something that involves sewing and making stuff. She also has a nimble intellect, so her mother thinks she should attend a 4-year college/university where she’ll get exposure to a good amount of liberal arts into the bargain. How McDiva feels about this is unclear, as all discussions about college are brief and decreed “boring”.

Now, I am undoubtedly biased, but it seems like Fashion programs are more likely to be stuffed with girls that are obsessed to varying degrees with fashion, and that Costuming programs are likely to be stuffed with, well, Theatre Folk. Although there is a great deal of overlap in terms of the skills developed, I get the impression that Costuming programs have a fair amount of Theatre History course work, in addition to skills-based courses. Which approach is better for McDiva is something only she can decide, but my Director’s Guild friend says that she feels it is advantageous for Design people to have a “real” college background, if only because they don’t have to apologize for not having one, which she says is common and also sad.

I thought I had come up with a good solution to the regular college vs. costuming dilemma. A BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in Theatre Costume Design and/or Production is available at many good schools. Unfortunately, almost none of these programs are available on the west coast of the country, where we live. There are plenty of them in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Chicago, places that are costly for us to visit. I know that McDiva would like to go away to college, but must it be so gosh-darned far away? The University of California has several excellent, reasonably-priced campuses up and down the state, none of which offer a BFA in her field*. Grrr.

*UC Santa Barbara seems to offer a ton of costuming classes, however. I suppose she could start there and if she really wants a BFA, maybe she could transfer elsewhere later.

So, my new obsession is coming up with a list of collegiate options for McDiva to consider. She has agreed to go on a combination family trip/college tour of Oregon, with one foray over the Washington border. My friends tell me this is an astounding achievement! Iz proud! She has also mentioned that she wouldn’t be averse to going to the UK for school. This opens a whole new kettle of fish, however, as we’d have to figure out where and how for a whole other system. If you have knowledge that you can share about UK higher ed in her field, I’m all ears and eyeballs!

When I am done obsessing about where she should apply, I will start obsessing about scholarships for which she should apply. In between, I will no doubt be concerned about whether her portfolio is sufficiently developed. Then, when the acceptances come (fingers crossed, but really, why worry?) then I’ll obsess about where she should actually go. My own mother only remembers this last step of the process when I went through it as a prospective student. She remembers vast pro/con charts, often with the same item listed in both the pro and con columns.

I…do this. I research. I like research. But it’s McDiva’s life, ultimately, so all my charts and lists and spreadsheets are not the actual thing, which is her deciding what she wants to do. That’s not to say that the ultimate decision won’t largely depend on who gives her the most enormous financial aid package. I think we’ll all be okay with that, as long as she’s going someplace where she’ll be happy. Which, let’s face it, is likely to be anywhere she doesn’t have to deal with her mother’s freaking spreadsheets anymore. ;-)

Iron Man 3 was a hoot, wasn’t it? There was a ton I liked about it, including the switcharoos pulled by a few characters. Tony Stark with his particular brand of breakdown was perfect. I was worried that Pepper was going to be nothing but a damsel, and that went better than expected. The bit with the kid was astringent and lovely. The minions had Joss stamped all over them, in a good way. (I'm thinking that's what the "thanks" in the credits was for.) I have a feeling this will be on heavy rotation at our house once the DVD comes out. Things I didn’t like are the usual: explosion fatigue, mainly. All that fighting took up valuable minion kvetching time, imo.

I saw The Great Gatsby with McDiva on Mothers Day. Awww. A movie in which the girls don’t do anything, even the professional golfer. To be fair, hardly any of the guys do anything, either. But damn, everybody looks fantastic while they do it. I liked it for the spectacle, if not the story. I’m sort of glad I didn’t see it in 3D, though, as the many driving scenes are utterly terrifying as it is. *shudder* I’ve decided that the problem with the story is the passivity of not only the purported heroine, but also the narrator. Hardly any of the characters take any real action, aside from going to parties, and the story of the one who did interesting things is told in passive voiceover flashback. Baz and crew make a Herculean effort to make them interesting anyhow, and just about get there. They quote Moulin Rouge quite a bit, and there also seems to be some Velvet Goldmine love in there. Okay by me. Those are two films I enjoyed to bits, even if they aren’t perfect.

We went to see Byzantium, Neil Jordan's new vampire movie at the SF Int'l Film Festival. It's vampires on the distaff side this time. It's quite beautiful, though it can't hold a candle to Luhrmann's film for production values, . Both lead actresses were great, and Jordan's camera is totally in love with Saoirse Ronan, which is understandable. Johnny Lee Milller (Elementary's Sherlock Holmes, among other things) plays a not very attractive irredeemable person, which must've been fun. I liked the story, but the pacing was not so great. No doubt I've watched too many action movies, but there you are. Jordan is also quoting his old movies, notably Mona Lisa.

I rewatched Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie) for the first time since I saw it during its original theatrical run. It still isn’t good, of course, but it was better than I remembered in some ways. I had completely forgotten that the historical Slayers are right there at the beginning, for instance. We didn’t get that again until Fool for Love. (Or, Restless, I guess.) I still liked the Pike character, in which you can see a cooler version of Xander in the making. Paul Rubens’ death scene wasn’t quite as funny this time around, and Lothos was still a drip. Also, Buffy doesn’t burn down the gym in the film. They must’ve made it up for the TV show. Who knew? Things I’m glad they lost: the menstrual cramp “vamp sense” and the reincarnated Watcher. I doubt I’ll be back, but it was good to look at with the series under my belt.

Last night the whole family gathered to feast on a double Elementary! Series finale! Woo hoo! All was going along marvelously until the power went out at 45 minutes in. Boo. Don’t tell me what happened. Now I’m off to post the fantas_magoria prompt that didn’t get posted what with aforementioned balky computer and both LJ and the local power grid offline.

Have a terrific weekend!

This entry was originally posted at http://rebcake.dreamwidth.org/30631.html. Please comment here or there using OpenID.


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2013 11:59 am (UTC)
My daughter is in her final term at Rose Bruford College. They offer a very highly-regarded degree course in Costume. They also have a range of programmes which intersect with places abroad, including American Theatre Arts. They are used to non-traditional qualifications (that is, not just 18-year-olds with three A Levels.) It's a small college on the south-eastern edge of London, in a small town called Sidcup. R has been extremely happy there. Their Costume course is highly-regarded in the UK.

The University of the Arts is in Central London and is probably the single most highly-regarded place for such a thing in the UK. It's tough getting in there - you normally have to have done an Art Foundation Course first.

I spent a lot of time advising pupils about their higher ed choices in the last few years of my teaching career. I'd be happy to help in any way I can if she feels the UK is a serious option. PM me if you like.

As for the films, I have seen none of them as yet, except for BtVS, which latter tends to make me yearn for Giles. Or, you know, just about anything without Donald Sutherland in it.

May. 17th, 2013 12:39 pm (UTC)
Oh lovely! I was thinking you'd be a good source. I had heard of The University of the Arts program, but the Rose Bruford College is new to me. I'll definitely check it out.

Over here, the usual college admission things are: grade point average, SAT test scores, essay, and a portfolio (for art programs). Sometimes you also need recommendations — though that seems increasingly rare — or an interview with their admissions people or an alumna. It's definitely not as clear-cut as I get the impression it is on your side of the pond.

Where we live, the info-gathering about school choices begins with pre-school, when the children are 3-4 years old. I've done this for pre-school, kindergarten, 6th grade, and 9th grade, as well as for 2 stepkids who came to stay for their final year in high school. It only follows that I'd still be doing it for college. Right?
May. 17th, 2013 12:09 pm (UTC)

Payscale was the most important research tool I used for my kids. I'm a great believer in the practical - what's it going to cost - you and me AND what can I expect my post college life to be?

I know that everyone likes to view the campus and find the 'fit.' This hits me as utter wank. I think it's an investment and should be treated as such.

Overall two part question is: what can I expect to earn when I graduate and do I have to go into debt to graduate?
May. 17th, 2013 12:52 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree, and thanks for the link!

Our situation is such that it would be cheaper (free) for McDiva to go to Harvard or Stanford than the local public university. Not that she has any interest in going to either of them, alas. We're pretty determined that she won't be going anywhere that involves amassing debt, though.

This "fit" thing is a bit weird. I'm of the opinion that most people can "fit" just about anywhere. McDiva's particular interest narrows the choices, but nothing is popping out as a "perfect fit", whatever the heck that means. To me it means cheap, offers her desired degree, within a days drive, and doesn't have a huge athletic or frat culture. Is that so much to ask?
May. 17th, 2013 12:47 pm (UTC)
I saw Gatsby in 3D and wish I hadn't. I felt nauseous for HOURS after with all that colour and energy jumping out of the screen at me.
May. 17th, 2013 12:55 pm (UTC)
I can imagine! There are some films that I can only really handle on a TV screen because there's just so much overwhelming stuff in them.
May. 17th, 2013 01:41 pm (UTC)
I'm excited for McDiva! If I can throw in my two cents as someone who has essentially been in college for the past 12 years (haha grad school), the truth is that the specific degree program she does matters less than the overall quality of the school. I say this because she will take so many classes that have nothing to do with her major. Basically, I agree with you and your friend who believes that a "real college background" is a good thing to have. Obviously, it should be a place where she is sure that she can participate in theater costuming and stuff, ideally beginning in her first year, but as long as there's some skills-based coursework, she should be able to immerse herself in making stuff. And if she doesn't like your spreadsheets, I will. I kind of love thinking about educational opportunities.
May. 17th, 2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
While I agree with this, obviously, there is also the part where McDiva, like pretty much everybody on her father's side, does not suffer fools gladly. If she doesn't see the point of doing academic work, it will be torture for her. Science and math: torture. Except for geometry, which she sees the point of, due to pattern-making. While my side of the family goes the college route, with mother, father, stepmother, and sister all holding Masters degrees (stepmother had three), his side does not. They are pretty much brilliant, have achieved lots in their creative fields, and lecture at colleges all the time, but only one lone older sister has gone to college, although she also went on to get a Masters. I think she going to follow in that sister's footsteps, but that sister also wasn't an artist like the rest of them.

IDK, I think some people take more naturally to academics at that level, and while she's got the intellect, I don't know if she'll have the patience.
May. 17th, 2013 04:08 pm (UTC)
I don't know much about costuming programs, but I can tell you that not all fashion students will be superficial fashionistas - one of my really good friends got her AA at a community college, then went on to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in San Francisco. I briefly wanted to be a costumer at one point in my academic career (which can be completely blamed on Baz Luhrmann movies), and I think the FIDM in Los Angeles has a costuming department.

I agree with ceciliaj, though. As talented as McDiva is (and I've seen some of her work!), I would still recommend some sort of liberal arts background.

And don't worry. I'm a researcher too. A spreadsheet with all my possible grad schools was the first thing I transferred to my new computer, and I won't be applying until fall of 2014!

Tell McDiva good luck for me!
May. 17th, 2013 05:22 pm (UTC)
I was gonna say that about fashion people too -- some awesome, brilliant people working in that field.
May. 17th, 2013 06:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, absolutely! And it's not like there aren't any shallow people in Theatre, either. I'm leaning toward Theatre because there are way more programs in your standard issue colleges and universities, while fashion programs are mostly in art or specialty schools. A notable exception is Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, which I recently discovered is a 4-year SUNY school with liberal arts requirements and academic honors programs. Who knew? She could get a costuming BFA at Rutgers, Tulane, Carnegie Mellon, DePaul, Boston University, or SUNY Purchase. But she could also switch to History or Media Studies or something.

MFAs in her field are widely available in California, so I'm mystified why BFAs are not on the table.
May. 17th, 2013 06:24 pm (UTC)
Hee! That sounded mean, didn't it? I really think that fashion is capital "A" Art. I know there are a lot of interesting, serious people working in the field, as well as some mean, judgmental people. I just wonder if McDiva realizes that it means going to girls school in a de facto kind of way. It might be fine with her, although she says she's not interested in women's colleges, like I was at her age.

Thanks for the good wishes! I'm glad I'm not alone in my spreadsheet love!
May. 17th, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
How McDiva feels about this is unclear, as all discussions about college are brief and decreed “boring”.

Ah, yes. Welcome to my world! We are just starting this process ourselves. Ugh. Thank you for sharing - I don't feel so alone. :-)
May. 17th, 2013 06:43 pm (UTC)
I am told that this is normal. Many, many moms have told me that their kids were completely uninterested in the whole thing, until, magically, sometime over the summer before senior year they switched on. We'll see. I'm still a bit shocked that she agreed to this college tour trip. It also means thrift-shopping in Portland, which is agreeable to her, seeing relatives that sometimes shower her with gifts, and going to a play in Ashland, so there's that. Also, she's missing the whole last week of school, in which traditionally not a damn thing happens due to all the graduation preparations the staff and seniors are consumed with. That was attractive. ;-)
May. 17th, 2013 04:33 pm (UTC)
I picked my university through two things - one was identifying places doing my course within 200 miles of home (but further than 50 miles), to make sure I wasn't going wildly too far. (I'm guessing you'd need longer distance? But the principle is good.) And secondly, a far less scientific melange of campus vs city/big vs small city/transport links to narrow down to the 8 choices we were allowed.

I got all of them, so then I did go purely on how I felt about the particular course and the campus, and eventually tossed a coin and ignored the answer because my gut said to pick the other one. Never, ever been sorry that I did it that way. Still have 8 friends in regular touch from that university, and still love the city too.

Yes, it's an investment, yes, you need to be hard headed and not end up madly indebted - of course, and those are the first parameters. But it's also the first time she'll live away from home. Doing that in a place that she isn't feeling positive about is not going to be great.

Gill has given you the gen on UK situations. My cousin is at the University of the Arts and getting great support and notice.
May. 17th, 2013 07:10 pm (UTC)
There are approximately 7 fashion schools she could attend right here in town, but that would mean not going away to school. Next closest is 5-6 hours away. After that, we're talking days or a plane trip away.

At the beginning of this process she decreed: not LA, not NYC, and nowhere that is in the middle of nowhere. That doesn't leave a whole lot. ;-)

UC Santa Barbara really is very attractive in terms of distance, cost, weather, and being a good school, although it fails to offer a BFA in her field, and probably will have too much sport-related hoo hah for her taste. The guys are reported to be quite good-looking, however. I'm planning to have her visit campus in shorts-and-no-shirt weather. *iz sneaky*
May. 20th, 2013 11:15 am (UTC)
I adore Luhrmann - he turns everything into the most glitter-drenched broadway production. I'm good with that. He also made me like Gatsby, which I think is essential to liking the story. When I read the book, I felt Gatsby was too distant, you know?

Agreed that no one actually does anything, but gosh they look marvelous doing it. :D

The minion kvetching was total win in IR3. I concur massively. Though I don't know how much credit I'll give the film for having Pepper be the hero at the end since they made he lay about damselling for half an hour... *shrug* Still, it passed Bechtel, and how few movies do that, nowadays? I mean, did Daisy and Jordan actually ever TALK in Gatsby? Pity - Jordan is my favorite character and her outfits were the BEST. I want to beat her up and steal her closet, and I bet it'll be a hell of a fight, too.
May. 20th, 2013 11:49 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was getting pissed off at what they were doing to Pepper — having the "girl" screaming and crying for 1/3 of the movie is exactly what I DON'T want to see, thanks. She is there to put Tony in his place, fer crissakes! But then she does her thing and also has the brains to mention that what she did is kind of horrible. At that point, I decided to forgive. I'm so easy. Just imply that violence might not be a cure-all, in an action movie that fixed everything with violence, and I'll be mollified. Tsk.

Luhrmann just...whoa. Spectacular doesn't cover what he (and team) do. *licks the screen* I was all set for Jordan to at least make some pithy and cutting remarks, but then she just sat there with wide eyes! C'mon li'l Jazz Baby! Storm out in a huff or something! Your outfits will be even more stunning as you flounce away.

I adore the actress who played Myrtle. I can see why Tom wanted to do her, but then I have a soft spot for, ahem, commoners. I went to an anti-fashion show once where the actor-models were instructed to put together an ensemble that expressed their ideal selves, and I was immediately drawn the one who wore a silk kimono over a negligee and held a martini glass as an accessory. Slattern is the word, I believe. So very me!
May. 27th, 2013 09:26 am (UTC)
Hello. I'm playing catch up with your posts, which I seem to have managed to miss.

That said, I wish I could contribute anything to the discussion, but I haven't seen any of the movies you mention (am fond of the book of Gatsby and of the old Robert Redford movie version) or anything else by Luhrmann, except Strictly Ballroom, and know nothing about Fashion and/or Costuming uni degrees. K and M both did science/social science. I do know that fees for overseas students are very high here, though, if that's a consideration.
May. 27th, 2013 01:01 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're catching up! You had asked me once what this whole college search thing entailed — I hope this went some way toward an explanation. It's rather taking over at the moment, and probably will to some degree for the rest of the year.

Now we're on vacation, though, so all's well. We go on the first tour tomorrow at the school where her best friend will be attending next year. I don't think it will be the school for my kid, but we're curious to see where Friend will be. There's been a touch of good (extended) family news, so there's a possibility that she will get a chance to look at the places back East later in the year. Gill had some good ideas about UK programs, which I'm looking into. It might be that there is a misalignment between, with a full additional year happening in UK schools before college or something? I know some kids from McDiva's school have gone to uni in Scotland, though, so maybe not.

It sort of looks like we'll be seeing loads of movies this summer. I'm all caught up, and visiting my Da, who is a huge film buff. Our tastes are different, with some overlap, so who knows what we'll see this week?
May. 27th, 2013 01:52 pm (UTC)
I haven't actually been to see a film since The Hobbit before Christmas. Terrible, really.

Not the film, which I thought was okay (better than other people's reviews had led me to believe),but the fact I haven't seen anything. I think of it sometimes and a wave of couldn't be botheredness washes over me. :(

This searching for unis does sound an awful lot more complicated in the US than it is here. Is McDiva doing any research of her own? Does her school do any?

K and M's high school was very proactive like that. I had it easy, I suppose.
May. 29th, 2013 02:13 am (UTC)
We've been to movies every day since we got to Portland! I think I'm done for a bit...

McDiva is not doing a lot of research of her own, yet. She has met with the College Counselor at school, and done the things that need doing from her end, but she's said that she doesn't think she'll really be engaged until she sees something that sparks her. Today's tour, at the school where Best Friend will be going next year, was "infinitely better than Uni X", though not perhaps the school for McDiva. Still, progress! She doesn't really have to do much until next Fall, but her mother is trying to be prepared. Ultra prepared might be more accurate. I just like research. Is that so wrong?
May. 30th, 2013 10:14 am (UTC)
No, it's very good. Could you come over here and plan K's wedding for me?
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )



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