Ethan: The Importance of Extracurriculars

When I arrived at Boston University my freshman year, I was fully prepared to major in psychology. I was accepted into the College of General Studies, and after that I planned on continuing into the College of Arts and Sciences. That was the plan.

One day during my first semester, my roommate was going to the BUTV10 general interest meeting, and, on a whim, I decided to join him. I had worked a little with film in high school – nothing more than hanging out with a few friends and a camera, though. I went in with no expectations, and I half-heartedly signed up for a few shows. These shows went into production for the semester, and I dropped by Bay State’s first shoot of the season. Bay State is a soap opera (the longest-running college soap opera in the nation, actually), and I had no intention of becoming very involved in the show. I ended up staying for the full five hour shoot, and I loved it.

As a production assistant, I was doing everything from building sets to operating boom mics. I had no idea how to do any of it prior to the shoot, but everyone taught me the basics, and I was on my way. Throughout the semester, I was able to operate cameras, dress sets, and even act a little bit. The show is entirely student run, and the community of people working on set became an entire circle of friends.

Through working on the show, I became friends with a lot of the older students. When they would need to produce films for class, they would ask me to work on their crews. This was perfect for me because I wasn’t in COM yet. I gained experience on sets before I took classes in which I needed to produce my own work.

Eventually, I encountered a frequent question from my peers: Why aren’t you a film major? I never really had a good answer. For the longest time, I had convinced myself that pursuing a career in the arts was foolish. It seemed like every adult around me wanted to push science and math fields on me, and I just assumed that was what was best for me.

After being given the tools and opportunities to gain experience within film and television, I realized that not only is it what I love to do, but I can be successful doing it.

Classes (obviously) provide you with knowledge on a variety of subjects, but especially within COM, it’s important to put that knowledge to use. Throughout my time at BU so far, I’ve joined a number of clubs and organizations like The Daily Free Press, WTBU, Spoon University, and On Broadway. Though they may not fall into the same fields, these groups have offered invaluable experiences and a number of friends along the way.

I’m not the first person to say this, and I certainly won’t be the last, but get involved. See what you like – ditch the stuff you don’t. If you cast a wide enough net, you just might find something you love.

Bay State

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