Stacking for the Long Run
By Wyatt Dillon
It is strange how day by day things do not change – until you look back and it’s all different. As each semester progresses, the next approaches at uncomfortable speeds – days become weeks, and weeks turn into months. Before you know it, you are registering for senior year classes and those months accumulated to an entire semester. I hope when you look back at your finished semester, you have no regrets.
Spending a semester in California calibrates your maturity level. Here, you are responsible for more than classes, you are required to work. With this program, you are given the opportunity to shadow the professional world before you are plunged into the shark infested waters of the industry. So, here is my unfiltered, semi-ignorant rant on the current state of “Californication”.
Socially, Los Angeles is comparable to other abroad programs, but you must take advantage of your time. It is vital to generate your own adventures – don’t wait for excitement, create it. Wake up early to surf in Malibu, hike the Santa Monica Mountains, skydive spontaneously, grab some buddies and trek to Joshua Tree, just take advantage of being away from central New York. This is an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and battle new waves. It wasn’t until friends visited during Spring Break that I realized their vacation is my weekday. I am experiencing months of exotic moments that are inconceivable on the East Coast. This town of artists, wannabes, and decision-makers creates opportunities for those who seek it. Like Kanye West eloquently states: “how you gon’ be mad on vacation?”
Professionally, it’s important to remember that hard work is more valuable than passion or talent. Nobody cares if you have 100,000 views on your reel if you refuse to handle basic tasks. In this town where your name (i.e. brand) is a currency, it is important to have a grasp on things you can control – be on time, be prepared, have a good attitude. This industry is for those with positive energy and a hard work ethic; your unique skillset is only icing on the cake.
People refuse to admit when they are scared, but I am. The future holds only uncertainty, and before you know it, moments you once took for granted are nothing but dull memories. Spending time in the industry before being launched into “adulthood” eases the nerves. As the unknown becomes familiar, being comfortable with the future is half the battle. Even if you fall short of what you believe to be certain, you’ve learned what it takes to try.
You do not know it all, so do not pretend like you do. Nothing will set you
back more than being an overconfident rookie in the presence of professionals. Be humble and people will want to work with you. If you decide SULA is not right for you, that is okay too, and I am sure you will have a great semester in Europe or Syracuse. However, I know for certain the experiences in California will match any you will find on campus or in Madrid – but with the added benefit of stacking chips for your future career.