In your college career, there will be a number of incredible and unique opportunities presented to you. In fact, there will be so many that you can’t possibly take advantage of them all. Some need to be skipped in favor of others.
But if there’s one thing you should not miss, it’s the SU semester in LA.
If you want to be a media professional working in any aspect of entertainment, you need to get out here. If you have no idea what you want to do with your Newhouse or VPA degree, you need to get out here. If you’ve never been out here: get out here.
First, consider what the semester in Los Angeles entails. You’ll intern during the week, take 12 credits, and have the weekends pretty much wide open. One-to-three of your credits will apply towards your internship, and a few online options will be available as well. You’ll have definite housing, the camaraderie of other students who are just as lost as you are, and an excess of opportunities to socialize and learn. As a student who’s accustomed to taking 15+ credits a semester while working a part-time job, this semester has been incredibly manageable and leaves you with a good deal of free time to check out what LA has to offer.
The professors are all experienced in their crafts and have their own connections throughout the business. As a result, you’ll gain exposure to a number of different perspectives on the industry, interact with guest speakers from considerable backgrounds, and gain a better awareness of career paths you might’ve never known existed.
Despite the course load, most of your learning will actually come from your internship experience. No matter where you end up working, you’ll be in a real world environment where everything you’ve been studying is being put into action on a daily basis. It might not be your dream job, but you’ll gain exposure to how things really work and if you can make an impression, you could make some valuable connections to help you find a job down the line. You’ll have some great successes and learn how to deal with your inevitable mistakes. Not to mention, including your LA internship on your resume sends a message that you are goal-oriented, driven, and an overall more impressive candidate than someone who did not.
Additionally, although entertainment media is everywhere, New York and Los Angeles are widely considered to be the two main US job markets for media professionals. I’m from New York, and I intend to pursue a career there after I graduate in a month, but even so, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to live and learn in Los Angeles for a semester. As a result, I’ve gained new contacts and feel comfortable with the idea of potentially returning to the west coast one day.
And finally, a semester in LA means 3.5 months away from Syracuse in a desert climate. That means no snow, no freezing rain, no black ice, and, oh yeah, no snow! The weather here and natural beauty are enough to keep your mood up, even on a bad day. It’s almost December and I still haven’t had to pack my bikini up.
One final note for all to consider: I’ve known a number of interns who have been offered entry-level positions as their internships came to a close, and some have had to refuse because they needed to return to school the next semester. They go to college to get a job, but they can’t take a job because they’re not done with college. Consider ending your college career out here, and it might pay off for you in a big way.
In conclusion: Get. Out. Here.