California. It was a completely foreign concept to me. Before this semester, I’d only been here twice and for a few days at a time. I didn’t have any idea what I was in for. But I figured, hey, you’ve got nothing to lose, kid. I liked it from day one – the sunshine, the odd charm of the Oakwood, interning at Happy Madison alongside people I’d only ever dreamed of meeting. The opportunities I’ve run into and continue to uncover are boundless. Every day it’s a new person or a new place that could help move my career along. So, I was feeling good. But I hadn’t had an AHA moment. A moment that told me that Los Angeles was the place for me and there was no turning back. Of course this idea is a little fantastical and I’m sure most people don’t even experience it. A few weeks after arriving, a few friends of my roommates, Nina and Dominika, invited all of us to spend the day at El Matador State Beach in Malibu. Now, I love the beach but I hate the heat. I secretly feared I would spend the day schvitzing and whining. This beach is by far the most beautiful, incredible, mind-blowing thing I’ve ever seen. Once you climb down a precarious path dug out in between some rocks, you stand on an overhang and watch the waves crack against huge, oddly shaped rocks. You can see for miles and the water changes colors with the sun. We laid on the beach with music and books and we talked and we laughed. But it was something about that place that gave me such an overwhelming sense of peace. I’m an anxious person by nature and have struggled with that a lot over the last few years. There’s rarely a moment when my mind is completely clear of worry or doubt. But I swear when I walked out to the water and just stood there, I couldn’t think of anything! This may seem corny or silly but it’s so nice to know that there’s somewhere like that. I just have to hop in the car and take a wonderful scenic drive and I can be calm. I’ve been back multiple times since and even brought my cousin this weekend to share the experience with her. Los Angeles is an amazing, busy place and it’s given me incredible opportunities. I love living here and interning here and being in the center of the entertainment industry – I know I’ll be back after graduation. But there was something about finding out that just an hour away there’s a little oasis for when things in the city get a little heavy that really sealed the deal for me. If you come out here on the SULA program, EXPLORE! You truly don’t know what you’ll find.