Part of our mission here at Daily Fuel has been to illuminate life and early career insights for our readers. As part of that continuing purpose, we're excited to announce our new blogger, Christian Zilko, will be providing first-person accounts into one young professional's journey. Enjoy.

The Last First Day of School

The drought is over. Loyal Daily Fuel readers can rejoice. Soon enough, you’ll start hearing more stories of my lovably eccentric roommate.

After a summer of working in New York, I flew back to Boston yesterday to begin my senior year. Unless I colossally screw up (a possibility that should never be written off), today is my last first day of school.

As I think back on the past three years, I’ve had good days and a lot of bad days, but there’s no denying that I’ve learned a ton. It never feels that way in the moment, but I’m an infinitely wiser person because I chose to attend this strange art school. Most of it has taken the form of what I call negative learning. More than anything else, I’ve had my assumptions about myself proved false time and time again.

When I started my freshman year, I had my heart set on being a theatre director who occasionally made films. I thought theatre was the noblest profession on earth, and I thought that my creativity would best manifest itself in a leadership role. Boy, was I wrong about that.

Attending an elite program allowed me to look under the hood of the professional theatre world, and I did not like what I saw. I found that storytelling constantly plays second fiddle to grievance politics. The easiest way to rise in the industry is to write a play that tries to tear down a positive aspect of our society. It could be called the art of “actually, this is bad.”

I fell out of love with directing even faster. While I loved the romantic idea of calling myself a “director,” I hated virtually every aspect of the process. I’m not a visual thinker, so I was never good at creating images (which is basically the whole job, in both theatre and film.) But more than that, the entire thing just felt like execution to me. I realized that the creative process I loved happens before a director is ever hired. I like making up the stories, not figuring out how to stage them.

The only part of directing that I was good at was script analysis. I loved reading them, and figuring out exactly what the writer had in mind. My love of directing fell just as my love of scripts was rising. I decided that I wanted to be a playwright (a lot of these things were happening simultaneously, so the timeline isn’t always linear).

Midway through college, I found myself in a tough position. I was a theatre major who wanted to write scripts, but I also didn’t want to work in theatre. I thought about going into movies, but something was never quite right. Then, in what ended up being a pivotal moment in my life, a friend of mine said “you know, I’ve heard you talk more about Frasier than every play and movie combined.” She was absolutely right, and from that moment I devoted myself to a career writing sitcoms.

I could rattle off a dozen other moments like that, but I know you all have day jobs. My point is that it’s stunning how much I’ve learned in college, even if it’s all been through trial and error. Nine months from now, in my post-graduation blog, I’m sure I’ll be laughing at everything I got horribly wrong in my senior year. Stay tuned.

Christian Zilko

Guest Blogger:

Christian Zilko

Student, blogger, senior
Quote left
The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.
— Mark Twain
Quote left