Emma Watson has officially graduated from Brown University today. The Brown alumna is most popular for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, but has recently starred in the biblically inspired Darren Aronofsky film, Noah. Emma Watson received her degree in English Literature, a degree she completed in five years. Watson’s status as an Ivy League graduate puts her among a unique cluster of Hollywood actors who also completed degrees at elite universities. However, the realities of being a student and a movie star can prove to be challenging, which is why Watson almost left her career as an actress.
People often wonder what it is like for young actors who pursue career and education simultaneously. In particular, people are curious about how student-actors manage their time. Figures such as James Franco have been called “overachievers” for their dual pursuits. Franco not only obtained a degree in English from UCLA, but he also finished a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia. The 127 Hours actor has even enrolled in NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts, and says that he is working towards his Ph.D. at Yale.
For a less excessive dose of student-acting, Natalie Portman also tackled education while managing her acting career. Portman graduated from Harvard with a degree in Psychology in 2003, but reported that she considered leaving show business altogether while in college. The actress said she did not care if her Harvard education ruined her acting career, she would “rather be smart” than a star. Ultimately, the actress realized she could do both.
Emma Watson went through a similar stage while at Brown. The Harry Potter star had to juggle class and filming constantly, and when one professor told her that she should leave acting, the young student-actor gave it some real thought. Watson grappled with education and career, but like Portman, it was ultimately not an either-or decision. When news came out that the actress was considering leaving show business, rumors claimed it was because her fellow Brown classmates were treating her poorly. Fortunately, Watson abated such rumors and actually counteracted them. Instead, she claimed that her classmates were highly “protective” of her, wanting her to experience the college life just like the rest of them.
When asked why she considered leaving show business, Watson revealed that it was partly out of fear. The young star was afraid that she was not coming into her own, having acted from the age of nine. After her professor told her to quit acting, Watson began to question her own motives for remaining in show business. This resulted in a two-year hiatus from the big screen. The thing that brought Watson back into the thick of her acting career: reading the script, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Many consider higher education to be a struggle on its own. However, figures such as Watson, Franco, and Portman were able to tackle education while maintaining acting careers. Watson in particular addressed the difficulty she had while at Brown, but instead of leaving her acting career behind, the young actress can celebrate her graduation today with an added air of accomplishment. Emma Watson joins alumnus John Krasinski of The Office, who graduated from Brown in 2001.
By Courtney Anderson