—no crayons involved.
Today, I spent my day off as my day in.
On Tuesdays I have two summer classes, so it’s the only day of the week I don’t go into my internship.
But this Tuesday was the exception. Today’s class was actually a tour of my summer stomping grounds: NBCUniversal.
My professor and fellow students/friends/peers joked around, telling me to give the tour, or how “exciting” it must be to walk around the building for the 100th time, or to go home because it was my day off.
But you know cheesy ol’ me—I believe there’s always something new to learn.
And to no surprise, it was true.
I saw a studio I didn’t even know existed, saw the back-end of the media room that I order tapes from every day on the job, and met new people I had never passed or met before.
After we were done escapading (I’m making that a word now) through the producers’ meeting room, the control rooms, and the multiple studios of E! News, we made our way over to the second building to learn a few things from the people who bring American Dad to television.
there’s always one consistent theme in this industry.
Almost everyone we talked to got their job at the show because they knew a friend, or a friend or a friend, or a friend of a friend of a friend.
Networking, connecting, and building relationships is not a new lesson for me; it’s one that I’ve already learned and greatly appreciate.
But what took my by surprise today wasn’t just wonderful advice from amazing people.
It was their stories.
Two of the colorists (AKA the professional colorers who bring the animations to life, just with big people programs instead of crayons) had no idea animation is what they’d be doing with their lives.
One had a degree in art, the other started out as a painter.
But what they had in common?
This is where they are now, and they love their jobs.
An assistant director we crossed paths with, Dante, was not too much older than us. He went to school for engineering and quickly found an un-ignorable interest in design and animation. He changed majors, did a ton of internships, worked on The Simpsons, and now he’s here.
Glenn, the person who puts the final touches/notes on the episodes before they’re sent out to air, acted as our hilarious and gregarious tour guide. We loved him.
When we reached the final destination of our tour—his office—he gave us a comical but serious spiel on “putting our social media shit down” and picking up a pencil or camera and actually creating something.
“No one actually cares how many likes you got on a picture of a fucking doughnut,” he said in his strong Northeastern (New Hampshire, to be specific) accent, which made it even funnier.
We laughed. Everyone’s done it. But we knew it was true, and so did he.
“Do it. Work hard now, while you’re young. Get ahead. You’ll thank yourself later.”
It was inspiring. But again, what took me by surprise was something different: how he got to where he is now.
He studied physical education in college. He moved out to LA some number of years ago and was a construction worker, worked in a mailroom, and did some other non-entertainment related work over the course of a few years.
Then someday, somehow, he got into this.
And just like the others—
he loves it.
Everyone’s story is different. Everyone’s experience varied.
But as for this chapter of their life?
They’ve all ended up on the same page.
What I learned and love, love, loved about today was this:
There is no linear path.
There is no right way or wrong way.
There is no straight way, no easy way, no one way.
There’s really only your way.
Point A doesn’t always connect to Point B. Sometimes A leads to F, and then to Z. Sometimes, someone starts at B, gets to S, and then they end up at Z. Some never even reach Z; they may find themselves at M, be completely content, and stop there.
The real “point” is that life is not a straight line.
I’m not talking difficulties and obstacles here, even though those count for something too. I’m talking about life; I’m talking about everyone’s calling and plan. I’m talking about your journey to that one special destination.
Your major is important. But it doesn’t determine where you end up.
Your first job is paramount. But it doesn’t mean that’s where you’ll be the rest of your life.
What you want now is huge. But it may not be what you want later.
And like myself and many others: You may know what you love to do, but you may not know exactly what you want right now.
And it’s scary. But it’s okay.
Your book is still being written; it’s always being written.
I believe that God leads us through places, people, and situations to get us to where we’re supposed to be.
You just have to be down for the ride.
Our job is this:
Start somewhere, make each page colorful, and keep flipping the page.
One day, you’ll end up at the back cover of the book.
And it’ll be beautiful, because it’s where you’re supposed to be.