Another comment from balletfan: "It would be interesting to read about how different it must be for a first year member of the company, who was a student last year, and the adjustments that had to be made."
Well, I have quite a bit to say about this, because this is a transition I made. Generally, it's not that big a contrast because you don't go straight from being a student to being a full company member. Between the two years, you are an apprentice.
Being an apprentice means you are both a student, and a company member, at the same time. Which means, you guessed it, twice the work. Every year the apprentice's situation is a little bit different. I can really only speak with any authority on my year. Some things have changed, and some haven't.
A general day for me would look like this:
10 - 11:30 am: Company Class
11:45 am - 2:30 pm: Company Rehearsal
2:30 - 3:30 pm: Usually lunch, sometimes a school show rehearsal
3:30 - 5:30 pm: Company Rehearsal
5:30 - 7 pm: School Class
7 - 8 pm: Men's Class, Pas de Deux Class, or School Show rehearsal
My apprentice year I was in two ballets a show, for almost every show (sometimes with more than one part per ballet). I was also dancing the lead in a very hard Balanchine ballet for the school show (La Source) as well as 2 parts in another ballet in the school show. I also had to send out videos and do an audition tour to find a job incase OBT didn't hire me. We were also rehearsing and performing a sort of mini introduction to ballet at various schools in the area. To top it all off, we received no pay. Fortunately for me, I grew up here and could live at home, but I know most of my fellow apprentices had to be supported completely by their parents.
Now, I don't want it to sound like it was all bad. I gained a lot of performance experience, and my dancing improved dramatically. I also got a taste for what company life was like while still having the security of being in the school and knowing that no one expected me to be perfect, and that I was still learning.
All in all, it was definitely a life changing experience. It worked well for me when all was said and done and now when I'm faced with difficult tasks I know that it's not going to be any harder than my apprentice year.
Everyone's story is going to be different, but that's mine.