Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Destination? What’s a destination

Eli Schreiner


As my time at CCNY draws to a close, I reflect on where I am in my current journey. I have a BFA in lighting design, but when I graduated I was so disenchanted with theater that I joined the Peace Corps and moved to Paraguay. For the next little bit of my life, I dug latrines, cleaned wells, and taught about water sanitation. This might seem like an odd blip, but I think that being of service is truly important. Upon returning I felt directionless. 

My high school theater teacher worked with me to become a substitute teacher, and I spent the next year teaching visual art as a long-term sub which was great, but at the time made me pretty sure I did not want to be a teacher. I had my emergency technician certification from my Peace Corps work, so I took a turn in that direction and worked for the FDNY.  After about three years of EMS work, I was growing restless. I applied for both Paramedic school and an MFA design program, I figured whichever I got into first would be my path.  Luckily for me, I was accepted to an MFA program; I directed my energies back to theater, left the Fire Department, got a full-time theater job, and kept moving forward. 

Eventually, I was offered a teaching artist job at LaGuardia High School that I really enjoyed. This work was different than my previous teaching experience. I had fallen back in love with theater and loved sharing my craft with the next generation.  As some of my professional shows closed I worked toward becoming a full-time teacher.  I am now in my 4th year of teaching full-time, working once again at LaGuardia. My teaching, combined with my work professionally as a production manager has led me to arts administration.  This feels like a natural jump for me taking the skills of running a production and combining that with the theatrical education setting. One thing my life has taught me so far is that it is the journey that matters not the destination, sometimes we don’t really know what the destination is, and if we take a wrong turn, we should enjoy the scenery, take some pictures, add a few more tools to our toolbox and keep driving. Eventually, we will find our way onto another road, another journey, another adventure. 

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