For the majority of my high school experience, I felt confident I knew who I was. I always had a close-knit group of friends who I could rely on. For many years, I wanted to go to USC, the top film school, to major in film production with an emphasis in editing. I did everything a girl possibly could to ensure that none of these things fell apart. But during my last three months of my high school career, many of these constants began to falter. As a result, I embraced the fact that these things were changing which allowed me to change myself for the better. Perhaps this is the reason that I dyed my hair so many different colors during this time.
My close group of friends had been slowly growing throughout the years, and during senior year it reached about fifteen people. Since middle school, we had always done things together. Everyone was invited and whoever could hang out went. Over time, things started to change and some people would hang out with just one or two other people. This wasn’t a huge issue because we all still had respect and shared a bond with each other. But it reached a point where these people I once considered friends became extremely “exclusive” and began flat out ignoring people, including myself.
A specific incident of this was around Mother’s Day. Two of my friends — let’s call them “Salt and Pepper” — were planning on going shopping for presents for their mothers. On our way to class, I was walking with Salt and Pepper and another friend of mine. Salt and Pepper begin discussing their plans with each other. They then asked my other friend if she wanted to join them. She then explained that she could not go. I was left there with my friend looking absolutely mortified that Salt and Pepper had just completely ignored my presence. Many similar incidents occurred among different friends, all of which I learned that I just had to let go of.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Shortly before all of this began happening, I had been rejected from my top college and my interest in editing had also declined dramatically throughout the year. Suddenly, I was at a standstill. Everything that I had once made me who I was, was no longer there.
After moping around for a week or two, I realized that this was not a loss, but an opportunity for gain. To start, I knew who my real friends were. I knew the ones who genuinely appreciated me, and wouldn’t abandon me when a better opportunity arose. And since I will not be going to college with anyone from my high school, that gave me the opportunity to break ties with the people who no longer hold a relevance to my life. From then on, I made the most of the people I was with and put our differences aside.
My next step was to focus on college. The day after getting rejected from USC, I committed to Loyola Marymount University. That was my close second choice for school. At the time I wasn’t too excited, but now I look back and I see everything that I had ignored about LMU just because USC was ranked number one.
When I first visited LMU, I immediately got a good vibe, despite me not wanting to. I wanted USC to be the obvious and only option for me. But I am glad it wasn’t. Everyone at LMU was so warm and welcoming. And not to mention my tour guide was the same major as me. He told me all about what it was like being a film production major, and it got me really excited to come to LMU. From then on, in the back of mind, I think I always knew that I would end up at LMU.
After officially committing, like many other seniors, I realized that as long as I didn’t fail out of my classes, I was essentially done with school. To fill my time, I decided to focus on my filmmaking. Originally when I applied to schools, my emphasis was editing. I used to love editing since you had a lot of control over the film. However, my thoughts on my love for editing changed after realizing I knew almost nothing, nor did I really want to know anything about editing programs and techniques.
Truth be told, I was OK with this change. My ultimate goal as a filmmaker is to make films which will promote change in society, and as an editor, you can’t really do that. Since I had recently produced a few short films and I loved it, I knew what path I would take. Producing is something that terrifies me. As an introverted person, it is hard for me to speak up at times, but for some reason, when I have to tell someone what to do, it seems natural.
All of these changes occurred essentially simultaneously, which is a result of all things that seem familiar to me coming to an end. Because of this, I decided to redefine myself. The end of senior year and the summer before freshman year of college seems like the perfect opportunity to change. That’s exactly what I am doing. I am creating myself as someone who can have an impact on the world, a person who is happy with who they are inside and out and is surrounded by supportive and inclusive people.
Lead Image Credit: ViktorHanacek via Pexels