Stepping into the Real World…
With thirty days until graduation and forty courses later, I am moving into the home stretch towards the end of my undergrad career. To quote the overused saying, it truly feels like just yesterday I decided to attend Marquette University. Marquette was number 6 out of 7 on my school rankings, just passing up the University of St. Thomas, but after a visit on a cold February afternoon, I changed my mind. I have to thank my clueless senior-in-high-school self for accidentally applying to the Diederich College of Communication.
I don’t remember when I decided to pursue digital media, but I know it had something to do with the absurd amount of money I spent at Half Price Books in high school purchasing $2 movies and spending weekends watching them all. I thought, “I like to watch movies, digital media has something to do with that, right?” My decision to enter the digital media field was also influenced by a documentary screening of the Grassroots Film, The Human Experience. The film follows two brothers and their friends encountering the many different walks of life found on our planet. They shed light on the beauty of life on the streets of New York City, in an orphanage in Peru, and, lastly, in the isolation of a leper colony in Ghana. Informing others about the people, animals, plants, and water populating the earth in creative forms of multi-media is a career path I want to pursue.
My first digital media course was Introduction to Production. I walked in as a first semester sophomore excited and ready to dive right in, but quickly became intimidated. It seemed like every other student already knew how to make jump-cuts in Avid, design David Fincher-esque lighting, and write the next It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia script, while I was sitting there trying to figure out how to turn on a Vixia. All the equipment, software, copyright laws, and the FCC were incredibly new to me. I stubbornly decided I wasn’t good at my major except kind-of sort-of knew how to find my way around Adobe Audition. I had a bad attitude about it, which was reflected in my work.
Summer 2015 rolled around and I interned at 620 WTMJ Radio, the home of the Brewers, Bucks, and Packers radio (shameless plug). I was a Digital Media and Social Media Intern and I loved it. Seeing class concepts carried through in “real life” is pretty neat. Not to mention, I spent a good portion of the summer attending festivals, State Fair, and Summerfest, where I totally abused my media pass come 9pm and Edward Sharpe was playing at the BMO Harris Pavilion. I learned a lot that summer, and it also provided me with the confidence to walk into my Intermediate Production course first day of junior year as a proud digital media student.
Joe Brown teaches the Intermediate Production class and his style of teaching resonates well with young and inexperienced (not just me!) students looking to go into the biz. He stresses that good digital media work comes from constantly practicing it in your every day life. Joe lets his students know he is still learning, that not one person has all of the knowledge in the field, and that you don’t need to have a certain kind of mind to be able to do well. I love this. First semester junior year is also when I started my position as a Digital Media Tutor in the Digital Scholarship Lab. Being on the other side of the academic world has been an awesome experience. I realized I actually do know a lot. When an education major asks for help editing their student teaching video, I am excited to teach them how to use a software like Premiere that I have spent hours of class time learning. It is rewarding to hand in a finished project to your professor and show it to your class, but to inform someone who knows nothing about digital media and needs the tools for class is something else.
In his commencement address, Charlie Day stresses that you should embrace those awkward and uncomfortable moments in life and take a chance on yourself. I know the next decade (and probably longer) will be filled with that intimidation feeling I had on the first day of Introduction to Production, but instead of doubting my abilities, I will confidently bring the knowledge I have acquired as a Marquette student, tutor, and intern to the table, as well as taking the opportunity to learn more.
After graduation, I will be heading down to Guatemala in the Fall to create media for the organization, Ecolibri. I have no idea what to expect, or how the experience will pan out, but I am beyond excited to use my skills and gain tons of new ones, as well as making amazing relationships. Marquette has been a fabulous time and I encourage every student, digital media or not, to take full advantage of opportunities offered here.