Now that the members of the Class of 2017 are officially alumni, that means it was about a year ago when the Class of 2016 walked across the stage! I decided to interview two alums from last year to ask what they have been up to since leaving Wagner. You might have seen Megan Lione kicking face and belting on Wagner College's Main Stage, training for her B.A. in theater performance. Megan Irving basically lived on the third floor of Reynolds House, as she was the former HawkTalk director and was always working toward her degree in history and film.
What have you been up to since graduating from Wagner in 2016?
Lione: Since graduating Wagner I have sung at Feinstein's/54 Below, Town Hall, in the New York premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's opera "27," in another concert for Ryan Scott Oliver called "35 mm," and have earned an internship at the Growing Studio. I audition and work at Bobby Flay's restaurant, Gato in NoHo. I keep busy living on 147th by still trying to take classes and learn as much as I can about the world, while earning a living and trying to survive as an artist. I'm not doing so bad when you put it on paper, I guess!
Irving: A couple hours after I crossed the stage at graduation, I got an offer for a job in advertising at Martha Stewart Living. I've spent the past seven months working there and living with friends in good ole' Staten Island. This month I just moved into my first apartment, in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I accepted the position of franchise marketing coordinator at Nickelodeon and will be starting there later this month. I'm super excited to start, having already worked there as an intern my junior year at Wagner. I spend a lot of my time (and paycheck) on movies. I go out with my friends. My bed for the past six months was an air mattress. Twenty-something life is hard, messy, scary, and very fun.
What do you miss the most about Wagner?
Lione: Being at Wagner is a community. Everyone says it (it actually becomes quite nauseating to hear after a while) but it's the truest and most sacred statement one could ever say. That's what I miss! It's very hard to find that sense of community and comfort after college right off the bat.
Irving: SO MUCH! Being near my friends and being able to see them whenever I wanted. Dressing like a bum; sleeping in. I think the biggest luxury I had in college was the privilege to go to class every week and have thoughtful discussions with my peers and professors. That sounds super cheesy, but having a guided intellectual conversation is not a thing in the real world, guys. Also, bills are a thing. Grocery shopping is a thing. It's exciting to earn money, and then it's gone like 4 seconds later. Wagner roam looks amazing when you're responsible for a wifi bill.
What advice would you give to anyone in their first year of college or who is in the application process for colleges?
Lione: To someone who is about to come to Wagner I would say, lead with you. If you do not know who that is yet, that's okay, but know that whatever you bring to the table is accepted. As an actor, as a singer, as a friend, as a student, and simply as a person. Wagner is one of the only places that truly allows you to blossom as you, so I would say take advantage of every moment of that opportunity it sends you into the rest of your life.
Irving: Slow down. I was always so anxious to move on to the next thing. I still am. (I'm sure I'll work on it later in some form of therapy.) So much about what is going to happen is totally unknowable. That's okay. Find happiness right where you are. Be grateful for what you have, and allow yourself to be excited for what's coming next. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.