Alumni Profile

Christine Estima, a York alumnus

Christine Estima

Degree: Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Theatre and Creative Writing)
Graduated: 2006, 2004
Current Position: Playwright, Novelist, Actress, and Arts Journalist

Current Career: Playwright, Novelist, Actress, and Arts Journalist - I'm an author, playwright, freelance arts journalist, performer, reality TV star, blogger, social media hack, feminist, vegetarian, pacifist, atheist, backpacker, rabble-rouser who cannot wear white without spilling something on it.

Why I think I'm living a great life: I did it my way . . .

How I got here: I've been a writer and involved in fine arts my entire life, beginning with a short story I wrote in grade 1 entitled "The Aeronautical Engineer" (I kid you not). After editing the high school newspaper for a few years, I got my first professional publication at the age of 18 and never looked back. I did my BA at York U, double majoring in Theatre and Creative Writing, then followed it immediately with my MA in Interdisciplinary Studies. I didn't wait until graduation for my career path to kick in. I was actively involved in building a name for myself before, during, and after university.

What I did when I felt unsure/lost about my career direction: If you work in the fine arts, you feel that way all the time. If you want to be rich or have job security, don't enter the arts. Go work in a bank. That's not to say you cannot have a fruitful and flourishing career, it is absolutely possible. But you have to be prepared to endure lean, frugal years, the typical "starving artist" lifestyle, before the success starts to roll in. There is no such thing as an overnight success.

Thing that made the biggest difference: Hard to pinpoint one single thing, as everything that I have achieved in my career has dovetailed off of something else. When you're in the arts, you need to be continually hustling for that next gig, no time to rest on your laurels.

How I'm using my degree in my career: I use it all the time. Some will say that you don't need a university education to work in the fine arts, but all of my technique, style, content, and methodology evolved from what I learned at York. Being exposed to new methods, ideas, and styles that I never would have found on my own was invaluable.

What I've learned: First, fear is temporary. Regret is forever. Second, those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.