Asbury Musing part 2: Studying vs. Learning

I found this post waiting in the draft section; I forgot all about it, oops. Even though I wrote it way back in January, my thoughts on this subject haven’t changed and I wanted to share it with you now, with an added post-script at the end. ūüôā

Yesterday [January 13th] was my last first day of school. In a little over 4 months I will be done with my college career and school in general. An unsettling feeling comes when I think about how I’ll be done with two decades of schooling. Going to classes and studying is the only life I’ve known, and it’s all about to change. Yes, I could go to grad school and continue my education, but honestly I don’t want to go. I’m thankful I have been blessed with an education, especially a college one, but I’m ready to be done. Maybe that’s the senioritis talking, but I’m ready to put what I’ve been learning into practice. I’m ready to put the books down and make my rookie mistakes so I can gain experience in my field. Books and homework can only teach me so much before studying becomes stale and the joy of learning has faded.

Once I saw a quote on Pinterest attributed to Natalie Portman that said, “I don’t love studying. I hate studying. Learning is beautiful.” That quote sums up where I am right now: I am ready to be done with studying but not learning. I want to continue learning about anything and everything throughout my lifetime. My soon-to-come diploma does not mean I will know everything I need to in order to survive and succeed in life. I understand I still have a lot to learn, and that doesn’t scare or bother me. I’m actually excited by it! Even though my time at Asbury will be complete, I don’t want to stop learning. I want to learn from the wisdom of others, what life has taught them and how they refused to be defeated by the roadblocks in life! Because I will no longer have classes that will keep me accountable in my studies, I will have to create time to learn things on my own.

Does this mean I’m not going to try to study this semester? Of course not! I do still want to be a good student, and will take advantage of this time to sharpen my skills and talents. I’m going to continue to give my best in my schoolwork because I only have a little time left here at Asbury, and I’m not going to miss it for the world.

Like I predicted above, now that I am done with college it’s harder to for me to find the time to continue learning. So when I went to the Natural History Museum with a friend and I decided to look for things there that could help make me a better filmmaker and storyteller. That simple new mindset completely changed my experience at the museum. I picked through all the information presented and learned things I personally found interesting, such as bioluminescent creatures and the simplified definition of a mammal (hair + milk + special ear bones = mammal) and a number of different types of butterflies (one even landed on my friend‚Äôs head in the butterfly pavilion!). It was so much fun! Never again will a museum trip be just another museum trip; it will always be a new learning adventure.

I Have Been Changed for Good…Thank You

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful day, wherever you spent it. Today was a particularly special day because I got to spend it with my family while we played games and ate some¬†really¬†good food!! Before we ate, my uncle suggested that we go around and say something that we’re thankful for from this past year. I wanted to share mine with you all. : )

I’m super thankful that I was able to come home for Thanksgiving and spend it with my immediate family as well as some very special extended family. There isn’t a big enough word to describe how fiercely I love my family. They’re supportive, loving, kind, and funny, and they clearly love God with all their hearts. I’m also thankful for my major. I am so blessed to be going to a school where I can learn about film and visual storytelling and be encouraged by my professors to continue to discover and follow my passions. I never thought visual storytelling would be for me, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else. I am so blessed.

I’m also thankful for my wonderful roommates. They can make me laugh on my worst days, they take care of me when I get sick and give me grace when I forget to do my chores on time (sorry girls!). We are there for one another every single day, and I know God has blessed our apartment. I’m also thankful for all my friends who have stood by me through good times and bad. These are the friends who will go on crazy, random weekend adventures with me, who will take my calls and talk on the phone with me for hours after we’ve already mentioned that we have to keep it short because we’re so busy, and friends who encourage me in my relationship with Jesus, inspire me, and¬†challenge me to be a better person every single day.

To all of you who have influenced my life: I thank you, and am thankful for you.

A Look Back: Directing My First Short Film

A little more than one hour ago I just called, “Cut! That’s a wrap!” for the first short film I ever directed.

It’s a little hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I just finished production on a project I’ve been working on since the middle of August (June if you want to go back to when I first got the idea). There’s a strange bitter sweetness that comes with wrapping production. On one hand you’re glad it’s over and all the stress of ending on time, getting the right shots, and communicating your vision clearly to your actors and crew in the fewest words possible is behind you. On the other hand, you’re sad that such a huge part of the project is over. After spending so much time with your friends creating and breathing life into the project together, the next day is spent going off to the edit suite¬†alone¬†to finish the final process.

Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled when I found out that I was required to take the ¬†‘Intro to Directing’ class in order to graduate. The thought of directing scared me, and I knew it would be a lot for me to handle. So I picked to film something I knew I was good at: dancing. While choreographing it and rehearsals were fun, everything else I had to do stressed me out to the max. A month ago I found myself so overwhelmed I got myself sick because of it. Directing is hard, and if I have gained anything from this experience it is a new found respect for everything a director does. There are so many little duties that fall under the title of¬†director¬†that it makes my head spin. So to the people who thrive in that environment, I tip my hat to you.

But I’ve learned more than just to have a respect for directors. As we stood around Little Buddy (my car) after we packed him to the roof with our equipment, my friend came up to me and gave me a big hug. She whispered in my ear how proud of me she was and commented on how much I have grown because of this project. I thought about it, and I realized she was right (though I would have never realized it on my own). While I have yet to put my finger on it exactly, I know I have matured in some way. My knowledge of filmmaking has grown, I have a better understanding of my abilities and limits, and I am more confident in who I am. I also have a clearer picture of potential jobs would be good for me to pursue after I graduate college. But there’s something else, some other way I have matured.

I think I have done more than just change. I think part of me grew up. Making this film was not easy, and I knew it wouldn’t be (though I had my hopes). During the upcoming editing process, I know it will continue to be hard because I will want to include every single shot, and every single line and almost every singe take because my cast and crew worked so hard and, by golly!, people need to know that! But that’s not why I make movies. I make movies to tell stories about life’s victories and hardships. So that means “killing my baby,” as some of my professors would say, and picking takes and shots that help convey the story rather than show off my friends’ talent. That is the only way I am able to tell the best story I can, which is what I wanted to do from the beginning.

I have a more realistic outlook on my filmmaking process. I know how much I don’t know and need to learn before I become a professional filmmaker. Yes, I’m a senior in college but that doesn’t mean I know everything yet. I may have head knowledge but I still need the lessons that come with experience. That means failing and messing up in front of people more than once, that means getting back on my feet and trying to learn from my mistakes instead of ignoring them.

Yes, my first film as director has wrapped.¬†Yes, I am thankful for all the hard work people put into this project (you all are¬†amazing!). Yes, I am thankful that I learned more about myself, such as my strengths and weaknesses. But the ride’s not over yet, and I still have a lot more to learn in this next week and as I continue to pursue my career as a filmmaker.