I can explain.
I swear this is not as angsty as it sounds.
As you all may know, I’m in Los Angeles for the summer with 20 other students. I have an internship that I love in which I work from 9am to 6pm—give or take—four days a week. Tack on an hour before and after those times to factor my the traffic-heavy commute, and that’s an eleven hour day. The one weekday I don’t have my internship, I’m in two entertainment industry classes for a total of six hours of my day. We have a homework assignment and mini-project for the classes each week. Weekends are “free,” but they’re packed with adventure, considering we’re only here for two months.
Welcome to my life in California.
I like to have fun, and I want to make memories. But as you may have sensed in previous lessons,
I like to keep busy.
My to-do list is constantly growing and growing, I’m constantly up to a million things, and I’m always on the go.
The trip is quickly coming to an end, and there are so many “real life” things I need to complete before my time on the west coast is over.
Let me fill you in on how my list is looking.
I need to complete a final project that consists of putting together a verbal and visual television series pitch, start an original screenplay that’s due before the first day of my final video production class at the end of August, finish the editing of a wedding video that I shot over a month ago in June, film and edit two fun and informative videos for my internship that I planned on making before I leave E! (that are not required… I’m just an overachiever), organize additional research that I put together prior to the start of my internship into something presentable and feasible, edit together clips of my LA adventures for my YouTube series (which is currently just not happening), plan and edit a book trailer for a close friend and client, and stay on top of this blog just days before it’s over.
My head is actually spinning.
Sometimes I don’t know where to start. Like Andy advised, my plan has been to work deadline to deadline.
But what are you supposed to do when your deadlines are all at the same time—and there’s 4 or 5 of them to meet?
On top of the stress coming from myself and the looming projects I’ve created,
there’s the stress coming from others—whether they mean to induce it or not.
I am truly struggling with the balance to make this experience the best that it can be (though it already has been—no doubt in my mind), and being productive.
What makes this to-do list more stressful than any other I’ve had before, is that in one way or another, my future depends on the success of a lot of the items.
Most of my life questions in the past month have gone like this:
Stay in on this beautiful Friday night to write a blog post and work on whatever which project?
Or go out on the town and have the time of my life?
Like I said, I’ve been having an absolute ball why I’m out here. I never pass up the super big opportunities, but it’s the little ones here and there that add up to make me feel guilty and a little bit sad sometimes.
One thing that I pride myself on, is that give everything I do 100%. Ask anyone who knows me: I’ll stay up until 5am to get something exactly the way I want it. In one lesson a while back, Chiquita mentioned that whenever we put our name on something—we put our stamp of excellence on it. And I live by that. I move slower because of my attention to detail, and I am self conscious about that a lot of the times. People tell me that my work ethic is good, and other people tell me that my work ethic bad—but I don’t need anyone to tell me that I know it’s both.
I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember, walking through my life with my hands full at all times. My friends are usually supportive and encouraging, and many understand. But at the same time, I’m definitely not a stranger to shady looks and judgement from people (even those who are close) who don’t understand why I am the way am, and the amount of work it takes to constantly be creating.
You work too hard. You do too much. Why don’t you just go to bed? Why don’t you do it a different time? Why do you do it at all? Why don’t you just go out and have a good time for once? Why do you never go with us?
I know that I need sleep. I know that I should have fun. I know that I am only skin and bones, and that I’m human, and that I have limitations. I know that to a certain degree, these people are definitely right.
But I do know that how I feel and the passion for the things I take on are right, too.
On Tuesday, I met up with a new friend, Mojan.
She is a wonderful and beautiful person, making it on her own in LA. She did the same program two years ago as I’m doing now. After Mojan finished her internship at Fox that summer, she immediately knew she wanted to move to Los Angeles. Upon returning to her junior year of college, she took double the classes, talked her way into getting the right signatures, graduated a year early, and moved to California. She’s now an Executive Assistant at ABC, as well as an actor, model, and singer.
I saw so much of myself in her that it was scary. Every piece of advice she was giving me related directly to every thought and concern that I’m having in my life right about now.
One of the very first things she told me was this.
“People wont understand, and you don’t have to make them. It’s not your job, and you shouldn’t have to.”
Mojan told me that when she went back to school after that summer—and even when she returned home after moving to California—many people questioned her career choice, her career path, and how she was going about all of it. They didn’t get the long hours, and the instability of it all, and the fact that you have to work your way up without knowing what’s next in order to get to where you want to be.
I’ve always felt a little surge of frustration upon hearing things like this too—even on my small scale of staying in to finish a project and constantly having to hear about it.
Although I understood the exact feeling of frustration that she was talking about, it was one of those things where I didn’t really realize how much it bothered me until someone else pinpointed exactly how I was feeling.
You know you aren’t crazy, because someone else has felt it too.
I thought that one day—especially in LA—it would magically become clear to me.
I thought that all of a sudden, I would be able to discern between when it’s the right time to have fun, and when it’s the right time to be productive.
But it’s not that easy, because nothing ever is.
I don’t think it ever will be.
But from what I’ve learned, from what I’ve experienced, and by the Grace of God—
something has become a little bit clearer to me.
Here’s what I know.
Believe in yourself and in what you do, and never stop.
It’s not going to be easy.
And you yourself are going to want to quit at times.
But just know that in the end—
if this is what you want, and if this is ultimately what brings you joy—
the blood, sweat, and tears (I know about this one) are so, so worth it.
And you’re the only one who needs to understand that.