Growing up, it was clear what I wanted to do: be a scientist. It wasn’t something I ever questioned. I loved learning about animals, plants, biology – everything nature related. I remember my first dream job was to be a paleontologist, because what four year old doesn’t find dinosaurs cool? My parents were very supportive and constantly bought me books to expand my knowledge. I couldn’t stop and I honestly didn’t want to. I spent hours a day just reading about different wildlife and how each of their bodies developed solutions to specific problems, and probably would’ve never stopped if I didn’t have to eat and do all that other boring stuff. I went through middle school knowing that I’d eventually end up being some kind of scientist, one way or another. No specific field, but that was where my heart lay. Then my whole world started to change in high school.
I had always figured high school would be a crazy time, but there’s a difference between hearing about something and experiencing it. There was so much that I didn’t really know about. One of the main things was TV shows and movies. Disney played a huge role in my childhood and still does, but aside from the occasional martial arts movie I was kind of clueless about the diversity of the entertainment industry. High school was when my parents got Netflix. After talking to friends, I ended up going down the rabbit hole of anime and superhero shows primarily. It was insane how much there was to see. At the time all I could think was “wow, that was cool,” but watching TV became a really big part of my life from then on. In my junior year, I looked at myself and realized that I didn’t know where I belonged anymore. Science still seemed like home, but now there was a root of uncertainty. I had taken my eyes off the well worn trail to enjoy the scenery. Somehow the sights guided me off onto a path I had never seen before. I was lost and confused. My mind was in a haze, and I didn’t know how to get out of it.
The haze didn’t ever go away, not even after high school. I was majoring in game design, chasing a goal that my heart knew I didn’t belong. Then I was hit with a spark. In one of my prerequisite classes, we had one project where we had to make a trailer for any movie we wanted. I spent about a month and a half not knowing what in the world I was doing, and made zero progress. In my spare time I was watching a parody series which honestly kept me afloat in all the confusion. I had already picked one of my favorite movies: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. But I didn’t want to just make a trailer. Sure, there was an art to it, but I wanted to add something to this. This movie changed me, in ways that I wouldn’t understand until later, and my heart wouldn’t let me rest just getting this project done for the sake of it. I had one day until the deadline, not a single good idea, and just a ton of raw footage from the movie. So basically nothing. The computer labs were open from 9am to 9pm that day for finals, so I got there in the morning and sat down to work. All of a sudden it hit me. I came up with an idea for a story to combine the parody I loved with the film I loved, and got to work. Twelve hours later, it was done. I’d never been prouder of a piece of work. It wasn’t until the next week that I realized I had felt completely focused editing that video. There was no haze in my head, no anxiety about not being in the right place. For those twelve hours, I was home. The spark had ignited a passion I hadn’t thought about before, and since then my love for telling stories through visuals has only grown.
After thinking about it for a long time and wondering whether it was a good idea, I ended up talking to my closest friends about what they thought of this new passion. They encouraged me to take my passions and move forward, but I was still stuck in my head. I didn’t listen to them. I spend most of my time thinking, something that has helped and hurt me a lot. I’m most comfortable when I’m alone with my thoughts. As the months passed, I came to realize that they were right, and since then I’ve become much more comfortable with myself and have started making plans for the future. It feels amazing having a sense of self again after so long.