Lesson #144: Watch and learn.


I study Media Arts and Design at James Madison University.

Basically, I make videos. It’s what I want to do.

The greatest thing about college is not the late night Ramen or Jimmy Johns, or free t-shirts, or parties. My freshman and sophomore year I learned a lot about myself. I learned how to stand on my own two feet, how to overcome my anxiety, and I learned what kind of people I did and didn’t want to surround myself with. I found a new kind of independence, and discovered the kind of person I want to be—even though I’m still figuring this out day by day, and constantly adding pieces.

This year, my junior year, I have learned something a little bit different. I don’t believe that you ever stop learning about yourself, but I think the focus of my learning has shifted these past few months.

I have really begun to learn about the people around me. It turns out, the greatest thing about college, is meeting people. Simply just engaging with others.

I recently met another Media Arts and Design student, a guy named Ryan Solar. He’s a really  cool dude who also happens to be passionate about what he does.

These are my favorite people to come across.

What I have learned, is that people—no matter how long or for how briefly you have known them—can impact you. They can touch the tiniest, or even largest, pieces of your life. They can influence the person you are, and the person you want to be.

Ryan is a graduating senior, who will be walking across the stage tomorrow to get his diploma.

Sometimes, I volunteer people as guest lessonists. And as soon as Ryan said this, I knew he would be the next.

James Madison University is a beautiful place. We have some of the most motivated and creative people around, especially, in the SMAD department. My only regret is having not taken full advantage of that fact from day one… learn from me and get all you can while you are here. Don’t wait to get projects done. Put your heart and soul into them so they become an extension of your personality. Plan and create. Design and produce. Avoid easy and convenient. Go against the flow. Build content you can look back on and be proud of. You are the only one preventing you from achieving greatness here so don’t let you trip yourself up. Immerse yourself in this world and mature from within through creative expression. Don’t walk that stage at graduation knowing you could have done more. Everything here is fleeting and each day you aren’t making memories is another potential regret. Having just finished my last project in SMAD and with graduation Saturday, I know this more than most. Good luck to all of you new and experienced. I wish you all the best in your continuing journey here. Solar Out.

While this caters to a certain school and a certain kind of study, don’t be so narrow-minded as to think this doesn’t apply to you.

Because it does.

Everything does. You can take away something from everyone in this world—but only if your mind is open to it.

Just like you mold play-dough, or mud:

Make it apply to your life.

I took the liberty to highlight each statement that captivated my heart. How often do you do this with the people around you?

By learning about others, you learn from others. By learning from others, you learn about yourself.

It’s a cycle.

It’s the circle of life.

Today at 8am, I turned in my last final of the most challenging and stressful semester of my life (if you couldn’t tell from my weekly breakdowns and blog posts). My project partner, Melissa, and I, decided to give it everything we had. We poured our hearts and souls into it, just like Ryan suggested. I’m talking about hours and hours of filming and editing. We wanted to get as much out of this assignment as possible… after all, that’s what we’re here to do. We knew we were taking a risk with what we did—and our professor was upset. He knew how much we had put into this, but he didn’t acknowledge our hard work. Instead, he criticized us for not having enough done the day before it was due. He then told us it was all wrong. That he liked the framing of the shots and the quality looked good, but that the story was all wrong. “There’s no story,” he told us. But what I was hearing, was that it wasn’t the story he wanted.

Because everything has a story.

(Lesson #143 wasn’t about anyone in particular or anything…)

Here’s the bottom line.

We avoided what was easy and convenient.

We went against the flow.

We immersed ourselves in the world.

And what Ryan said rang so true to my heart.

Take risks. Learn from the people around you. Live and learn on.

Day 144.


1 thought on “Lesson #144: Watch and learn.

  1. Pingback: Lesson #192: Only takes one time. | A Year of Lessons.

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