I feel like a total failure. How do I move on from here?
In high school, I got good grades. I graduated with a 3.5 GPA. I got into some great colleges like NYU tisch, Syracuse, Pitt, UConn, PSU, etc. I'm the oldest of 10 kids, and from a poor family. My dads a janitor, and my mom is a waitress. I needed $7k/year to go to pitt (After FAFSA). My parents were broke and had terrible credit scores, so I wasn't able to go to school. I was working a full time job at 18, and couldn't afford it either. This led me down a path of depression and addiction. I'm now sober, and on the right meds. I'm about to finish my 2nd year of community college, and my grades are bad. I have a 2.4 gpa. I blew it. I went to getting into the best film school in the world, with a 3.5 HS GPA, to being a broke addict waiting tables. While I'm in a better place mentally. I'm still upset, and feel like I failed. I went from NYU Tisch, to a 2.4 community college gpa. I still want to make movies, but I have no idea where to go from here. Anyome have any advice? #College #Life #General #Film
Find positive friends, mentors and co-workers. When you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll hear positive outlooks, positive stories and positive affirmations. Their positive words will sink in and affect your own line of thinking, which then affects your words and similarly contributes to the group. Finding positive people to fill up your life can be difficult, but you need to eliminate the negativity in your life before it consumes you. Do what you can to improve the positivity of others, and let their positivity affect you the same way.
John recommends the following next steps:
I can completely relate. I am one of 8 children and a first generation college graduate.
I, like you, came from a poor family (+broken home) and struggled to know what i should do after highschool. I decided to start my first semester in community college but ran out of money and had to sell my car and drop out. I felt like a hopeless failure and had no where to go... after a few months I picked myself up and decided to go to a 4 year university. I changed my major 3 times and took 18 credit hours a semester as well as summer courses to catch up. I had three jobs and no car... it was a really hard time in my life. I felt completely lost and more like a burden than a real contributor to society but I knew that nothing was going to be easy for me because of my upbringing and because of that I developed a grit not many people have.
Your life experience and struggles make you stronger than you realize. Now so many years later, I've found an amazing career in New Relic and I'm proud of how far I've come but even in this new professional world old struggles are replaced with new. Life, although it's gotten better it continues to be hard. You just have to keep your mind and heart on the beautiful things life has to offer which i know is easier said than done. You have an advantage with your background. You have grit and tenacity many don't learn in their lifetime.
Always remember to be "less impressed, and more involved" I got that from Matthew McConaughey's new book but it's so important to remember. Also remember, "A master of all is a master of none".
We are all trying to be an expert in something while balancing a million other things, including heartbreak and hardship. You're never alone in this life, you can always reach out to me any time.
Malissa recommends the following next steps:
I'm in an unrelated industry but I wanted to drop you a quick note anyway. This sounds like it was a tough hit. I'm hoping you can step back a minute and try to get a little perspective.
While this feels like failure and the intensity of it is overwhelming, know that with time that sensation will fade as with anything. This is exactly the sort of story that you'll look back on someday as having been a defining moment in your life. It will either become a triumphant story about overcoming challenge or the thorn that you carried too long, holding you back.
You're young, the road is long. This is only the first of many challenges you'll face in your career and life, and it's most likely not the worst of it unfortunately. Focus on picking yourself back up and making the best use of the resources you have available. Find heroes, look for filmmakers who came from difficult circumstances and listen to their stories. You might find some inspiration here: https://filmdaily.co/obsessions/rags-to-riches-stories-film-festival-history/.
Beyond that continue focusing on your mental health. Meditate, exercise and do your best to stay in therapy. You're going to make it, that feeling you have that this is wrong for you is what separates you from someone who might settle into this reality. Keep following it.
Best of luck.
Luckily you live in the age of the internet where information is readily available online. Universities are mainly good for networking depending on your major, especially for something like film. I would recommend creating an online presence somehow. Whether it's youtube, TikTok, or Twitter. Try and devote as much spare time as you can. If possible get a camera, but if not most phone cameras are sufficient. Just try and create content that you would watch, because chances are other people will enjoy it too.
This method is kind of a slow-burn but it will help you meet people and get your foot in the door. It'll also give you a nice looking portfolio. I would also look into signing up for some Udemy classes so you can learn a new relevant skill.
As per feeling like a failure - Is making movies your definition of success? If not, then problem solved - there are many areas where you can apply yourself and excel - regardless of GPA. If it is, I would argue that you should expand your definition of success, but let’s go with it since that is the essence of your post.
It sounds like you feel like a failure because you don’t have a clear line-of-sight into graduating with a degree from a prestigious film school? Do you believe that your GPA and your past failures are reflective of your capacity to learn how to make movies? My guess is that you do not believe this, but you feel that others will hold this over your head and prevent you from achieving your goals. How many other film students, even with good GPA's do not succeed at making movies? My guess is that the number is really high. Some other very important factor is in play. Not having a background in film, I cannot guess what that might be, but I can pretty well assure you that your GPA is probably not the biggest predictor of success. Find out what factor is, and pursue that with abandon.
Hopefully someone else in this thread will be able to provide some tangible next steps - I suspect that is what you were hoping for with this post. In the meantime, focus on building perseverance (which you’ve already shown in other areas.) It is a powerful tool in helping you succeed - far more important than your gpa or school choice.
Where you can go from now is limitless -- as long you keep a good head. So, pat yourself on the back. Reframe and ask yourself where you want to be in 3 years' time, then map about year 1, year 2, and year 3 to achieve year 3. Then break it down by quarter. The areas to identify are the following: (1) Who you want to be, What set of behaviors are needed to be this person including holistic activities for mental, spiritual, life (2) What you want to be doing and what skills you need to develop and what background you need to have; (3) What life you want to be living (then there's a spreadsheet for that).
Once you've mapped it out, then look at where you are in the context of this 3 year plan. Figure out what is needed to get to that school (whether it is improving the GPA, taking more classes, getting more experience, etc).
You are strong and courageous. Take your life experience and apply it to this problem. You will get there, but it requires a strong and intentional mindset and a set of actions.
My path included doing 3 years at community college. Dropping out of university with a 1.6 GPA. Cleaning cars for 2 years, building furniture for 3 and going back to community college for part time for 2 years, going back to university and graduating on the deans list. Going from a 1.6 GPA to a 3.7 in the two years.
So right now, might not be your time, maybe what you're studying doesn't quite fit. But hang in there, keep trying and you'll make it.
If your school allows, you can try retaking some of the classes to get a better grade. Some colleges will completely replace the grade for calculating your GPA.
Remember, grades are only one indicator. I understand the frustration with academic problems. I had great grades in high school, but struggled academically during my 4 year college. I didn't feel great about myself. But once you recognize that your actions, your work ethic, and your desire to do a job well have much more meaning to an employer. You are in a rebuilding stage and that's okay.
I would start looking for any job in your industry. You are already working a manual labor job. Find one at a film studio or production company. Something similar, if need be. Do that job the best you can show your employer that you are a hard worker. Then once you have the associates degree, start looking for internal positions to transfer to. Internal transfers can be easier for employers because they already know you and will know your reputation of working hard. Then you can start working your way up to a position that you want.
On the employment side, be patient and look for moves to get you to where you want to be. It won't happen in one move, but several moves over time.
Most people have a capable video camera in their pockets these days, so that's the first thing you would need to begin making movies. There are a bunch of free open-source computer applications for editing video, so you can create your masterpiece. If it's too much for one person at first, you could seek out other friends or an online community of like-minded creators that would be interested in working on a project together. Finally, you can post your creations to streaming sites like youtube for free.
The only thing you'll need is to figure out your story. It sounds like you have a lot of life experiences to share in this field, so you should be set. Good luck!
You can do anything.
I wish you the best and hope to see your creations on screen one day!
You are going to make lots of mistakes in life. The important thing is that you learn from these mistakes and move on. Treat you life experiences, good or bad, as a learning experiences. YOU control your future - believe in yourself and find ways to make yourself happy.
Ann recommends the following next steps:
I encourage you to find ways to participate in the film industry in any way you can. Get to know people in the field, learn about other paths to the job. Consider retaking courses to increase your GPA if necessary. If you can get sober you can do anything!!
I come from a totally unrelated field as you are. But I can totally relate to what you are going through. Just think of it this way: in a few years from now, with the way that you are going in overcoming your struggles, you'll think of this little 'set-back' in your life as a stepping stone to something great. It may not be where you initially envisioned yourself to be, but it will be in place you know you've made it.
yoonji KIMCareerVillage.org Team
"Don’t worry at all. You don’t have to go to film school in order to make movies. I’m a graduate of the NYU Tisch program myself. I went there for grad school. And while I made some of my best friends and colleagues from Tisch, most of the crew members I collaborate with on my films are not film school grads. They are usually passionate film-lovers who have a great attitude and display an impressive diligence towards the craft. My three closest collaborators - my gaffer (chief lighting tech), my 1st AC (main camera assistant) and my key grip - are all non-NYU folks. In fact, they’re progressing towards doing their own shooting now; becoming a cinematographer in their own right. From there, directing is not too far away.
Once you make great connections and you learn as much as you can on every film set you go on, you can then take from these resources when it’s time to make your own film. If you display an excellent personality and work ethic for those you crew for, then you can count on them giving you the same sense of effort when it’s perhaps their turn to crew for you. My biggest advice for you is to not get discouraged at all. Most of what we learn in film school is to be on sets anyway, so why not skip the expensive fees and the student debt and do this on your own? Find the best film schools around you, and get connected with a few students (I’d recommend graduate film students), and once you crew and show them that you’re an asset, it’s almost a guarantee that you will be called back. At NYU, we were always looking for people to crew on our sets - in a variety of capacities, so the opportunities are definitely there.
Keep your head up. Absorb everything around you - news, books, films. And once you get on a film set, demonstrate that you are valuable to the team. You gots it."