Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The best years of your life

Whenever college is brought up to anyone who just graduated up to the day that they die goes on and on about how you should savor the years you have in college. They'll rave about how much fun they had and how it stopped, cold, once they graduated. Oh they'll tell you all of the stories, and the kegs, and the girls, and the zaniness of the times. "My god, when you get to college, you're gonna party and have the time of your life!"

So...when is that coming?

It is almost two years into my college experience, possibly almost half way through (hi, grad school), and I'm still waiting for this carefree, who-gives-a-shit time to happen. As of right now, it hasn't. Well, I guess you can say it comes in flashes as I have a test in Natural Science in about half an hour and instead of studying I'm writing stupid "deep" things in a blog. Overall, this experience has done nothing but make me worry.

I was in a good place at the end of high school. I was going to go to college, I was going to make new friends, meet new people, and start on the road to becoming a filmmaker. There was no second guessing, no questions to my life's work; since freshman year of high school I knew what I wanted to do with my life. It's a wonderful luxury when choosing a college, as well as picking a major. The problem is actually getting there.

Once I'm at school, I realize that a lot of people really want to get into film, too. A lot of people. Then, I thought about all of the possible jobs and openings one could have as a filmmaker. Finally, I thought about all the possibilities I would have making a career out of a life in movies. Then I yelled out "holy shit" because the odds of actually making it finally occurred to me.

People would ask me as I went through the motions of applying to schools what my major would be. Confidently, I would answer "film," and they would smile and say "oohh, that's interesting!" which means "oohh you're fucked, kid. Take business." Now that I'm actually in college and going head-long into being a film major when I'm asked where I go to school, what year, and what major, I get an even better response of "great!" Of course, that really means, "why the fuck didn't you go into business?!"

The real slap of reality came from my friend Geoff. He's a pre-med at University of Richmond, obviously not doing too bad for himself, and he asked me what I'm going to do after graduation. "Well, I'm going to go into film, maybe writing," I replied. He asked, "well how do you go about getting a job like that?" You know when you're asked the simplest question and you have absolutely no idea how to answer it? LIke when a kid asks why the sky is blue, and you have that three second pause to try and formulate an answer, but cannot, so you come up with "cause it is?" I replied with, "through...people...I guess." It was at that point, driving down the Garden State Parkway in a Jeep Wrangler that I fully realized that I might be fucked.

Over the coming weeks I have decided that I will double-major in History. I have rationalized that I like history, find it interesting, and would like to study it as a back up. In reality, that means "shit, well, if I go to grad school for film and I don't have a career in five years, I guess I'll just go be miserable and shape the youth of America." I think I finally figured out why some of my teachers were self-loathing, miserable people.

So now instead of waking up in a strange girl's bed (who, strangely enough, looks a lot like a guy...heeeeyyyy, wait a minute! WHOOO COLLEGE IS CRAZY!!!1) I am sitting at a laptop trying to figure out what to do with my life. I guess there are two options when it comes to college: either you drink yourself stupid for four years, learn nothing, and go into life with a worthless piece of paper that says "I paid a lot of money for this document and frame" OR I try and learn as much as possible for four years, learn a bit, and go into life with a worthless piece of paper that says "I paid a lot of money for this document and frame and should have spent more on illegal substances."

The point of the matter is that college, to me, is nothing more than a slight pause between childhood and adulthood. In four years, you are to bridge the maturity gap and come out ready to change the world! Ok, maybe just ready to hold a steady job. For me, college is that in between where everything I know has been changed (friends, loved ones, etc.), and now I'm here, on my own, trying to develop into a person that is ready to take on everything that's ahead of me, and I know that no matter how hard I try, I'll never be ready.

I'm diving headfirst into a pool that could be a hundred feet deep or an inch. Probably a bad analogy since I'd probably die anyway because I can't swim. Man, that's a bleek analogy. Ok, ok how about.... I'm walking in the dark and I don't know whether I'll find a door or hit the coffee table and get one of those stinging bruises that won't go away for a few weeks. No, that one is just weird. Analogies...analogies....

I'm about to take a test and I have no idea if I'm prepared for it or not. The only thing that I'm confident in is that, if I walk down Commonwealth without getting hit by a car (which is always a 25% possibility), I will take that test. Sure, I can push it off and avoid it, but what good does that do me in the long run? The test is almost here, and I'm scared, because I don't know what it's on, what it's about, whether or not it's going to challenge or bore. The only thing I can do is hope that it turns out alright.

No wait, I'm playing Duck Hunt, and...and I'm shooting the ducks (beacuse skeet shooting is for pussies) and I'm close to the screen, but not too close, but close enough to like, make me shoot better, and then the dog comes up cause I missed one and missing isn't really a bad thing cause everyone makes mistakes, but the dog is still laughing at me and I realize a lot because....

I'm sticking with the test thing.

wish me luck

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boy do I hear ya on the whole "I'm waiting for my time to not give a shit about anything and get wasted all the time and live the real 'college life'." Although it does seem like everyone else on the Ithaca College campus does that, theatre majors are the exception...and even then some of them don't do anything but party...

~Kelly S

Pam said...

Aha! Sounds like you've hit your mid-college crisis. Let me pass along these words of wisdom from my own crisis/reflection phase:

-You may not know exactly what you want to do with your life or how you'll like a chosen career path, but go with your gut. It's not the end of the world if you graduate and realize, "Damn. I hate this."
-All those people who tell you college is the best time of your life? They're 10 or 20 years removed from the experience and only thinking about the positive aspects of it. Don't listen to them. You have so many other wonderful things to look forward to in life.
-College is a unique time in which you live with thousands of people your own age, don't care how much money you spend, don't have to worry about insurance and car payments, and have very few responsibilities. (Think about it: someone shovels the sidewalk, cooks your meals, pays for you to be there, etc.) ENJOY IT while it lasts.

Anonymous said...

Manton....

I'm too tired to comment on the "not having fun" shit, but remember that in the real world, 10am class isn't 'early', but rather 4 hours into your really long day that doesn't involve listening to music or writing a paper, but instead...working too hard for not enough money and alot of self-loathing. Also, I think History is a wonderful thing to study- even if you never end up using your history degree (like me) it forces you to THINK and ANALYZE situations in interesting ways, and it makes you a MUCH better writer than say, a business major would. Because that is all history majors do...read shit, analyze, write about it, and then talk in a self-important manner about what they just did. Its more fun than it sounds, actually. (And will make you a better filmmaker). And don't knock teaching, ya fuck, its a noble profession and a great way to get summers off (which is what we all really want in life anyway). Oh yeah....again- i'm sorry i was a dick to you today.

Best,
Tom