When I arrived on campus in the fall of 2018, I was fresh off a gap year and still not entirely sure what I wanted to study. Little did I know, a Lil Peep song would change everything.
As I settled into my classes, made some friends, and became more comfortable on campus, I began to think more about a possible major. As the semester progressed, despite enjoying a few of my classes, I didn’t see a career for myself in any of their fields. I was just winging it.
Things started to change when I woke up on a Friday morning during my second semester and immediately listened to the new Lil Peep album that had dropped the night before. I had been super into rap music for about two years and had seen countless video edits on social media. Individual creators would compile a bunch of clips from an artist’s music videos, performances, vlogs, etc., over one of their songs. While I had thought that video production would be fun, I’d never seriously considered it until one of the songs on the new Lil Peep album inspired me to make an edit.
I downloaded a free trial of Adobe Premiere Pro, downloaded tons of Lil Peep clips, and spent seven hours watching editing tutorials on YouTube. Even though the final video was clearly the product of someone who had no idea what they were doing, I enjoyed it so much that I started to make them more frequently. I practiced my editing for a few months before deciding to get a camera just in time to make a video of Titus Weekend.
After hearing so much about this legendary “Titus Weekend,” I figured it might be a good idea to bring my camera around with me and see what type of clips I could get. I thought I could turn it into a fun little video that my friends would watch. As soon as I posted it, it spread throughout the school like wildfire. The reception was crazy! Because I enjoyed making it so much, I knew that videography was exactly what I wanted to start taking seriously. I began filming other school events and experimenting with other types of videography.
At this point, I knew what I wanted to do but I had to figure out if St. Lawrence offered a major that could help me explore my newfound interest. If I were three years younger, I would have declared a digital film and media major as soon as I could, but that program didn’t exist yet. I went back and forth between performance and communication arts, art and art history with a focus on studio art, and creating my own major, before settling on studio art with a film studies minor.
The studio art major has served me well. I’ve taken courses in photography, videography, digital art, and exhibition art. I have also taken multiple film courses which have allowed me to work on many different film projects. Despite St. Lawrence not offering exactly what I was looking for, the wide range of available courses and programs helped me get close.
During my sophomore year, I met Tara Freeman, St. Lawrence’s director of visual and creative strategy, when she popped into the Student Mail Center during one of my shifts to take pictures for an article in the alumni magazine. We started talking and I mentioned my interest in photography and videography. After learning my name, she realized that I was responsible for several of the student life videos she had seen. She offered me a job on the Student Marketing Team, which I have been a part of ever since.
In addition to working on photo and video projects for both my courses and for work, I have also been able to build my personal brand on campus. By covering large events such as Titus, Spring and Fall Fests, and the Halloween Tent Party, students from across campus have seen my work and hired me to produce visual content on behalf of their organizations or team. Over time I’ve gained experience with different types of photo/video work and expanded my portfolio.
Despite St. Lawrence not offering a program in exactly what I was looking for, it provided me with the building blocks I needed to become educated, skilled, and confident in my abilities to build valuable personal and professional relationships. St. Lawrence is where I turned my hobby into a passion and possible career path, thanks to some great opportunities and supportive people.