Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Young and Natural - Post-College: A Reflective Experience

Springtime is always a reminder that many are graduating from college. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Media and Communication Arts with a concentration in Film & Video Production in May 2010 and I'm going to be honest and admit it was one of the most difficult transitions of my life so far. Looking back I was confused, frustrated and a little lost as to what to do with myself. I had done internships in college and had done a lot of production work but I didn't know how to apply what I studied to a job where I could get steady paychecks. While I come from a family who stress post-secondary education - hell my grandmother is back in college trying to obtain a Culinary Degree - they really had no idea how to help me. By the time graduation rolled around that summer, I was still interning and applying to jobs like crazy, in-between apartments and had no idea what I really wanted to do. I eventually started working in the non-profit sector as an after school instructor for a Charter School, and found a way to apply my skills to the job. It was quite the nine-month adventure and one that I miss sometimes, but I ultimately decided that I wanted to do something else. So then I got a full time job working in TV advertisement tracking. It sounded exciting but it really wasn't; the hours were horrible and I was bored out of my mind so I quit just shy of three months when benefits would've kicked in.

Mind you, I was still working at my internship part-time half hoping that they would hire me as a full-time employee. Entertainment and Media is a competitive industry and I was lucky enough to have a paid internship in NYC in the first place. So once I quit the TV Advertisement Tracking job, I asked my internship supervisor if I could work full time, because I had intentions on being hired if the company needed someone. Luckily I built a good relationship with my supervisor and upon learning that I wanted to be in the company, she put in a good word. By the end of last summer I was offered a full time position with reasonable pay and one that was created for me because the position I have now didn't exist before. So now I work within Independent Film/TV distribution (collectively called Entertainment Distribution) and while it's not production work it's the "business side" of what I studied and I am happily applying my skills.

Now the point of this post isn't to brag about anything; I wanted to share my experiences with those who may be finishing up school this Spring and feel the pressure. Maybe you want to get your Master's Degree right away and are waiting for those acceptance letters to your programs. I chose to give myself a little time because four years straight in college really kicked my ass (don't let anyone tell you an arts degree is "easy." Getting a B.F.A. was work!) I do plan on starting a Master's Program within the next couple of years. Maybe your family is demanding for you to make a decision because they want to see a return on the education they may have helped fund - hell you want to know what you want to school for. My family still doesn't get what I do, even though they interact with what I work with on a daily basis but I've explained it's in my field so they don't say much to me about it. But it took me a while to find what I wanted and that's because I explored options, and even with this I know it won't be forever. If you got a degree in Religious Studies it doesn't mean that you have to find a job with a title "religion" in it; the key is to apply what you know and learned to anything you do. I feel like that's what studying in college is for. If you end up with a job that doesn't seem related to your field, be open to the experiences it will provide for you; it's what helped me in the end figure out what I want for myself right now.

Feel free college folk to share your experiences on the path you took post-college, or if you're still in college and feeling that anxiety!

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