Where am I going? Where have I been?
I often find myself wondering if my current path is the right one. A most students will experience in college, the long nights of writing papers and cramming for tests can really take a toll on your health, confidence, energy, stamina, and most importantly: Your drive to succeed. I find myself struggling to stick with it a lot lately, and I know it’s just because of one unavoidable fact: The future is so unknown.
As many of you know, I’m a Film/Video Major at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). I, for one, am proud of my accomplishments so far, but fully acknowledge the fact that I suck. Yup.. that’s right, I’m not very good at school, and I know it. I did horrible my first semester of college at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) and then only slightly recovered my second semester. I willingly left SVSU to attend Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) for my second year in pursuit of a Business Degree, while I waited for my chance to attend Grand Valley. I waited almost two years.
My GPA from college was not good enough, and as it turns out neither was the effort I chose to put into my education. I moved back home to Clare, MI for my third year of school at Mid Michigan Community College (MMCC) to continue taking Business Administration courses. Just for the record: I HATE studying business. It’s boring, and I really don’t like it one bit. I also find the accounting sections of business to be insanely confusing (even though I somehow came out with an “A” in the 201 level accounting course). There was only two reasons why I decided to attend MMCC to begin with. For one, I needed to get my GPA up if I was going to have a chance at getting accepted by GVSU. MMCC seemed to me the perfect place to do this, because I could stay at home with my parents (therefore cutting costs of living by over 80%), and it was close by with convenient class periods. The second reason relies on the first reason to make any sense: I needed to save money!
I’m very glad I went to MMCC and lived at home with my parents for that year. Living at home presented me with so many great opportunities to meet some wonderful people. I made friends with classmates, joined Tae-Kwon-Do and met some awesome people there, and I was blessed with meeting my wonderful girlfriend, Hang. Without moving back home, I would have never been able to do any of those things, and I likely wouldn’t be nearly as happy, or even the same person, as I am today.
I needed to make money to save money though. So I got a job working for Sound Productions Entertainment as a Disc jockey, and was also able to apply my video experience with editing a variety of videos for their website and clients. After about 9 months there, I realized that I needed a more steady stream of income that DJing and video editing simply could not provide (plus I hated the 1099 tax form. yuck!). I was then blessed with another job opportunity that I can honestly say has been my favorite job to have held so far: working for Cops & Doughnuts! This bakery is so much more than a bakery with it’s awesome historic building, merchandise, people, and of course the awesome food! It was on the front page of CNN.com for a while too!
With this experience, I was able to save the money to come to Grand Valley State University to pursue my future in Film. This is easily the best experience in school that I’ve had so far, and I really felt welcome and inspired here. The question is though: how will my education play a part in my life in the future? Granted, a solid foundation and education is essential to success in the future, I know this to be true because I see the differences in people around the city every day. But a good education can be achieved anywhere, even outside a public education system. My question is do I really need the “Film Education” that I’m paying tens of thousands of dollars for? Film is one of those art forms that has a way of working out for those who are actively involved in it all the time. You do not need a college degree to make great films, in fact many successful film makers studied something completely different in school, and have no formal film education. They simply found something they are good at, and through expression in their art… their work found the audience it craved.
Is a formal education really necessary for me to be happy in the future? I’m going to continue to pursue it, but I am constantly asking this question. So far… I have yet to decide on the correct answer.