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Los Angeles


Have To VS. Get To- How To Keep Wonderment Alive

By Suzy MacPherson

November 2019

After a half-hour of silence and some furious typing, my boss looks at me and asks if I can get him a coffee, the stereotypical intern duty. I look up from the spreadsheet I’m filling out and nod, stretching my back out as I get up and go.

Now, this scenario I’m describing could go a lot of different ways. I could think about the spreadsheet, and think about how putting numbers into cells isn’t the most fun activity on Earth, and that it’s not my passion or my dream to have to go grab a piping hot cup of caffeine. But that negative mindset can be pretty toxic and get out of control quickly. In our day-to-day routine, the only thing we can control is how we act and react to our own lives. And I think that’s the most important thing I’ve learned during this semester in L.A.; I’ve learned to better understand myself.

The thing we don’t often talk about is how grueling the SULA. can be. It’s a lot of late nights and new experiences, like networking or navigating a city with 14 million people, and that can be really scary and exhausting. But man, how lucky we all are too, and if you can remember to remind yourself of that luck, is to do something called ‘practicing gratitude’.

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley actually proved that people that express gratitude more often are usually happier people. Why is this you might ask? Because gracious, generous people understand that living our lives, speaking our truths is a privilege. It’s a privilege for us to all be in L.A., a privilege to even be in school somewhere like Syracuse.

So, let’s jump back into the scenario from earlier. I’m filling out this spreadsheet because I was asked to. Because I had to. No! I GET TO fill out this spreadsheet, which is actually a lot of numbers and logistics that my boss has entrusted me with. I get to talk to him about his passions and ideas, and the other members of my team are kind and collaborative and offer me lots of advice. My boss asks for coffee. I GET TO go get it, I get to take a quick walk out in the sunshine.

On my way out the door, I leave Clark Gable and bump into Katherine Hepburn and Barbara Streisand along the way. The buildings on the Sony lot have the names of the trailblazers that came before us, and these signs remind me of the important actors, stories and the history of this place where I GET TO go to work every week. Judy Garland could have stepped on this brick! Or maybe the next Steven Spielberg is that grinning little girl on the studio tour I pass on my way. You never know, and that’s what’s so exciting!

Believe me, if you practice gratitude, your time here during SULA will be a truly unforgettable experience. So I ask, to change your perspective on your internship, on your job, and hopefully on your life. Our perceptions, our feelings, our demeanor, our reactions and the way we think and the way we feel radiate shows in our outer performance. Think of what you want to do, don’t be afraid, be enthusiastic, be true to yourself and your intentions, keep a good attitude, and I promise, the opportunities will come flowing to you. 🙂