For the past year I have taken a break from my studies to move to Los Angeles and follow my dreams. I knew in order to make this happen I would not be able to be in school. The choice to take a year off from school I feel is something that can be frowned upon in society, but seems straight up absurd if you are a Palo Alto native, such as myself, where you're taught that education is everything because without getting a great one you cannot be successful in life.
Luckily I have parents (and an awesome younger brother) who have known for years that I am not the typical "Palo Alto Student", or more so what Palo Alto tries to say is typical. My parents have been supportive of my love for creating since I was kid when they enrolled me in many different artistic after school activities (Art, Theatre, Dance, Music, Sports as well). Somewhere along the road they realized that my love for theatre and acting was more than just a hobby and an actual passion and desire of mine. So it wasn't that much of shock for them when I told them I wanted to move out to LA and actually give acting a go.
Something I do want to note is that it is very important to both of my parents that both my brother and myself receive a higher education. So in order to get them on board with the idea of me moving to LA I had to agree to do so after I received my Associates Degree, and that I would continue my studies again once the year was up. I also knew that while they were supportive of the decision, I had to be the one to get things done.
Throughout this past year a lot has happened. I moved into my first apartment (with my roommate who I've known for years and is also pursuing acting), I've gained back the confidence I lost in my teen years, I've created friendships with people who share the same goals as myself, and I've been creating my own content through Youtube. Having my youtube channel has really opened my eyes to the amazing community that is #TeamInternet. I am constantly inspired by all of the different ways in which people make videos online. Because of Youtube, and the new friendships and experiences I've had this year, I've learned a huge lesson that I would not have had I stayed in Palo Alto or even Santa Barbara.
Nobody knows what they're doing.
I mean this as a positive. My whole life I was taught that the way to be successful was to do well in school, so you could take the higher lane classes, so you could get into the better colleges, so you could get a great education, so you could get a great job. (This was never anything specifically said to me, just the mindset you end up having growing up in a competitive community where success is being able to brag about yourself and your kids accomplishments at dinner parties). That was the route on the map I thought everyone had to take. So whenever I took a side route I was worried I would be considered different, or an outcast, or a failure. But there's different routes for a reason. Some people want to drive with an ocean view rather than getting to the destination quicker, or want to pull off for a few hours to go on a hike, or stop in a city to grab a meal at a local diner. Everyones map is a little bit different and no one really knows where they're going to actually end up or when they're going to get there. Because no matter how reliable we think our GPS is, accidents always happen, traffic is a factor, and detours appear when you least expect them.
This stage that I'm at is the place where so many young adults are, that we're worried isn't okay. But if we start accepting the fact that we're here, others will as well. It's okay to not know what you're doing because that's when you learn, grow, and try new things. We now live in a world where you can create your own career. It's no longer just about knowing the right people. But in order to actually make these dreams of ours happen, you can't just sit on your bed watching netflix. You have to get up and do something about it. And you might be terrible at it, but that's okay.
Look at my youtube channel. I grew up acting but my first few videos were so awkward and uncomfortable because I was learning how to use this new platform. I've now become much more relaxed in front of the camera, taught myself how to use a new software/equipment, have created something I'm proud of that I get to share with others, and watch my friends enjoy.
My year is up, and I've kept my deal with my parents to continue my education, but I'm not moving back to Santa Barbara to do it. Los Angeles is the place I need to be to follow my passion, to keep creating, and to stay motivated. But luckily for me online courses are available so I get to continue my studies as well. I don't know what my future holds, or even what next semester holds, but what I do know is that I'm okay with not knowing.
Below is a Slideshow of Photos I feel capture this past year.
Originally Posted on October 21st 2015