Tag Archives: college

A year of lessons, a year later.

yearoflessonsheader

7/20/16.

WHAT?

I can’t believe a year ago today I finished writing A Year Of Lessons. It was absolutely one of (if not the) most transformative experiences of my life to this day. It wasn’t just a year that I lived and documented, but it was one that I created and shaped because I intentionally chose to see something special (both the good AND bad) in every single day. I learned gratitude and dedication and vulnerability and perspective and persistance and all those nights sitting on my college apartment floor at 3am after a horribly long day but still writing and hating my life finally added up to something. Looking back today, A Year Of Lessons was such a wonderful gift I granted to my future self, and hopefully to some of you all who hopped on the ride and read along.

This is exactly why I’m so in love with storytelling and words and writing and art, and sharing it with others. Because it’s a message from the past for the future. When I was unpacking my very last box from college a few weeks ago, at the top of the box was the first month of lessons from my blog printed out on paper. I read some of them and was completely shocked at the effect it had on me: I cringed at some, laughed at others, and couldn’t stop the smile on my face from spreading at most. The words on these pages were still so powerful, and reminded me what I still need to learn but also how far I’ve come. Later that day, I was editing my new podcast (https://soundcloud.com/user-986375572) (eep so excited) and something a professor said in an interview over three months ago had beautiful meaning then, but in that very moment, in my circumstances at that point in time, it moved me to tears. Stories are like time capsules. It’s a gift; a whisper and a warm smile from God saying, “You need this.” Words can move us and transform us and they transcend time and space. They’re little messages. Little signs.

This blog was never just a blog to me. The writing was never just writing. The job you hold, the things you go through, the people you meet… they’re never just that. They are experiences, and they are lessons waiting to happen. At such a crucial time in my life where I’m at a crossroad beginning a new journey that i’m not 100% sure about it (I’m working in DC!!! This was not my original plan at all!!! But I’m excited!!! And scared!!! And also confused at how one metros!!!), this was the perfect reminder to be open, be excited, and to learn.

Thank you, AYOL.

And thank you to you all.

Both are forever engrained in my heart. <3

All my love,

<3

Mia (Your newest post graduate… I did it!)

To stay updated with me and my ~crazy~ life, and to hear about my future/current projects, follow me on my social media accounts!

Twitter: @yourstrulymia_

Instagram: @yourstrulymia

Tumblr: yourstrulymia

PS… something that’s square and binded together and may have a little (or a lot) to do with A Year Of Lessons may be happening sometime in the near future… stay tuned ;)

“Tell yourself you can.” A guest lesson by Kandace Florence.

Chasing your dreams can be an exciting, terrifying, and insanely complicated task.

The toughest battle I had to fight was trusting myself. You can’t be persuaded by outside opinion, whether that be friends, family, or even your significant other. This is especially true in a creative field—because chances are they won’t get it but that’s OK. You know what you want to do, so just do it.

Everyday I had to tell myself that I can be successful, no matter what anyone thinks. And after I told myself that I worked hard through the obstacles I came across.

Now that I’ve finished school, I’m like: ” WOW I ACTUALLY DID THAT!”

Even though the process was HELL and there were days I felt like I couldn’t make it to the finish line, I just had to stick with it and trust myself.

Your dreams ARE possible.

Tell yourself you can.

-Lesson by Kandace Florence-

11257868_10153456520129540_5000848313008113600_n

Kandace Florence is a recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Merchandise and Design in Los Angeles, California. She loves and plans to work in the fashion and beauty industry.

Lesson #347: Make yourself (not) at home.

7/2/15.

Today I had the opportunity to make the easy decision, so I didn’t.

I had to ask someone something very important that involved spending part of the day alongside them,

so I figured I’d practice being brave.

Pick the person that makes me feel the most comfortable?

Or pick the person who’s kind of scary, not as welcoming, and hard to read?

I picked the latter.

And it actually turned out great.

We didn’t become “best pals” and not too much changed,

but it forced to me step it up, put on my confident guise even though I felt anything but, and learn how to be myself—even when I felt awkward and out of place.

Even if it hadn’t turned out the best—I’m pretty sure I would have been happy I made myself do it regardless.

That’s what happens you leap.

You’re just glad you did it.

So what I learned from that tiny deciding moment, and the moments of fear that followed?

Get uncozy.

While cuddling up in a ball on the couch seems pretty much appealing all of the time—

get out from under the covers every once in a while.

It’s good to be comfortable.

But remember, too much of anything is never good.

And cabin fever is no fun.

The best part is,

whatever you choose to conquer will be another lesson in itself.

You know what they say—

why don’t you get out of the house every once in a while?

The fresh air might be good for you.

And a little breeze always feels good.

Day 347.

Lesson #346: Getting clear.

7/1/15.

I can’t quite explain what was happening in my brain as Amy was talking yesterday, but somewhere in the midst of it, something clicked for me. And today only confirmed it further.

Like Amy, early on in my life I fell in love with the way movies made me feel; how all these elements could come together and move a group people—even change people. Before I lost all my baby teeth or knew how to write cursive, I already was putting on shows with my Barbie dolls on my bedroom floor. By the time I was 10, I had a notebook full of novel ideas and chapters, pieces of movie and television scripts, and short plays. I wrote and devoloped a television series about a group of pre-teens living on the beach before I even had boobs. I remember asking my mom and dad to use the family computer to type all of these scripts and chapters, printing out pages and pages of stories and sticking them in Lisa Frank folders (that I still have… it’s hilarious). Kids were asking for Polly Pockets and Easy Bake ovens, and I was the kid asking for a typewriter.

My friends would come over after middle school, and we would re-enact scenes from Hannah Montana in the living room for our parents. On a shitty flip-cam that I got for Christmas one year, my neighbors and I would record ourselves singing songs we wrote in spiral notebooks that were falling apart from being written in so much. We even took turns strumming my small green guitar that we had absolutely no idea how to actually play. 

When I picked up a much better (but still shitty) camera at the age of 12 and made my first semi-real video with a friend, we decided to post it on YouTube for fun. I later found a video editing software that came with my laptop, and started experimenting with more videos. That’s when it really began.

I started making and filming my own original skits—then music videos—then movie scene re-makes—then my own short films. I gained a YouTube following and started building relationships with people in the online community who loved doing the same thing. My interest in being in front of the camera began to grow as well. During my first year of middle school in sixth grade, my mom encouraged me to try out for the school play. I won best actress for my role as the school nerd that year, and tried out and acted in the plays every year after that. I continued to do theatre all throughout high school, making friends and falling in love with the costumes and characters and stories; both performing and directing. I took what I knew from the stage, and let it inspire me to do some of the same things on camera—and I loved it.

In one of my first production classes in college, it hit me: I was developing and writing treatments before I knew what they were, and shooting low angles and high angles and rack focusing before I even knew they had names. I was a writer, producer, and sometimes actor, and I didn’t even know it. I was just doing what I loved.

As I got older, I realized it wasn’t just the act of movie-making that I loved.

It was storytelling.

As you can see—I used the word “love” at least four or five times while explaining my story.

And if that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what else does.

When Amy told us yesterday to get clear on what we want by tuning in to what we love instinctively—it only solidified the answer for me.

Storytelling runs through my veins; it’s constantly on my mind and in my heart.

But I’m still pretty confused.

I mean—I’m 20.

Storytelling is a very broad term. I like a lot of things—so many things that I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet. I don’t know where to start. I want to act. I want to talk and discuss. I want to write. I want to develop. I want to produce. I want to direct.

At my internship this summer, I love being there. I like what I’m doing and how much I’m learning. I’m working hard.

But in the midst of Amy talking, I realized something right then and there.

There are two different kinds of hard work. There’s the kind of work where you try hard because you want to appear good, be good, or look good.

And then there’s the kind of work where you’re working hard and you don’t even realize it. Where you stay up all night (like right now on the living room floor writing this) to perfect something, or understand something, or finish something. Where you work hard because you want to discover, or find, or build, or be better; because you want to make something the best that it can be.

You’re working hard for yourself.

And I realized the second is the one we’re supposed to chase after.

I found that where I worked my hardest, is creatively.

Using my brain to create. To problem solve with my eyes, heart, and mind. To figure out where something should be placed, or what to capture, or how something can be told. To strategize how it can be marketed and advertised and sold. To execute visions, and write ideas. To bring something inspiring to the world. And it’s what what feels right to me.

I don’t know where I’m going yet.

But I do know that feeling is what I’m going to follow.

Day 346.

“Don’t you dare wish time away.” A guest lesson by Morgan Weitzel.

Don’t you dare wish time away.

Time is finite, making it one of the most precious things here on this earth. Finite things have an end. Time will end. Always.

One of my biggest college regrets is wishing my time away and wanting to move on to the next chapter of my life before I even finished the page that I was on.

A bad breakup regrettably triggered my time squandering.

For the next year and a half, I not only disliked who I had become because of the breakup, but I also began resenting my life and the cards I had been dealt. I wanted to fast forward to the end of college—where my new life would begin and where I would have a fresh start at happiness.

I stopped going out, cut off close friends and family, and lost my Morgan spark. For that, I honestly hated the guy—but now I know better.

Hating someone still makes them an important part of your life. If you forgive them—even if they stole your heart, time, and money—it makes them obsolete. [Side note: Don’t ever let a stupid boy do that to you, ladies. No guy is worth the pain. I have so much more advice about that…but that’s for another lesson. ;)]

So THAT, expediting my life’s chapters, is my biggest regret. I was so focused on a final destination that I hoped to skip the journey simply because I ran into some bumps.

I’ve learned that no one knows what life will bring on any given day. No one knows how long anything will last. No one knows when you might lose something or someone you love. No one knows when the next tomorrow won’t come. No one knows ANYTHING.

Now, after I’m finally over the mega-douchelord (I guess I shouldn’t call him that..but it’s definitely the most appropriate of the words that I would like to call him), here I sit without any possibility of regaining that time. I have one semester to make up for all the time I lost staying in bed, binging on takeout and Netflix. It breaks my heart all over again to think about how I spent my days crying and angry at the world, when I could have been out with my best friends making unforgettable memories.

All because I was caught up wishing away time.

Time is finite. Everything will eventually come to an end without warning, but don’t rush. Take life slowly and savor every step along the way. Enjoy where you are when you are. The journey is the best part. Don’t waste time being unhappy; it’s just not worth it. Ever.

Don’t you dare wish time away you beautiful soul, you.

-Lesson by Morgan Weitzel-

10934065_927333630612674_8315982443477804724_n

Morgan Weitzel is a strong, independent woman with a heart of gold, the lifestyle habits of a 70-year-old man, and (if needed), the attitude of a fighter. She is heading into her final semester at JMU, and will be graduating with a degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology. She’s never really taken the time to scribble down the on-going thoughts in her head, but she is finally ready to share a lesson.

Lesson #342: The city is the cure.

6/27/15.

After taking on a day’s worth of beautiful places—I’m pretty sure I found the cure-all to bouncing back from a stress-filled week and refreshing a cloudy mind.

The city.

Today we hopped on the metro bright and early (half of us weren’t awake) and headed towards Hollywood. We started out with the usual tourist attractions—the Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood stars and handprints—and made our way across town. We passed incredible street art, walked through the Walt Disney Concert Hall, took a coffee break and an impromptu tour of the Biltmore Hotel where a 1940s Oscars ceremony was held, dropped by Perishing Square, visited Union Station, went to a few famous film locations (500 Days of Summer, anyone?), and had incredible and authentic tacos, beans, and rice at Grand Central Market. The ice-cream we treated ourselves to for desert was the cherry on top of the day thus far.

Our last stop was a quaint but lively area called El Pueblo, a hispanic corner in the city. Live upbeat music filled the streets and colorful flags were strung from lamp to lamp. Little shops and stands with food, clothing, and trinkets lined a crowded alleyway. I had a lovely time finding teeny presents for my loved ones back home, and learning about the culture behind the items from the stand owners. I even found a cute little wishing well, and #blessed my tiny coin as it made its way to the blue bottom of the fountain.

11214281_10204830127817168_3182350893453188862_n

Taken by the wonderful LA roomie, Alejandra Buitrago.

People were everywhere.

Of course, as soon as we got there, I immediately made my way towards the dancing and music. I pulled my friends Lexie and Christine into the commotion, and we began to salsa—horribly. A small, adorable older man in a red shirt approached us and started dancing with me. We shimmied together and shook our hips and danced and laughed as the crowd surrounding us got larger and larger and pulled out their cameras.

Today was literally the happiest I’ve been all week.

It’s funny and strange to think that I almost didn’t come, because I have so many things to do.

This week, I’ve felt a little out of my element.

Obviously I’m in a completely different city across the country.

But in addition to being in new surroundings and new situations, I’ve felt more than stressed out trying to find a balance between getting things done (this blog, my youtube documentary series, homework, and a freelance project) and having the time of my life in LA.

I couldn’t quite pinpoint why I’ve felt so strange, but I now realize that it’s because I let the weight of my tasks weigh me down.

While I still didn’t end up getting much done at all, I learned a lesson that was well worth it.

It’s the moments that we lose ourselves in the things we don’t know, and re-lose ourselves in the things we already know, that we find little pieces of ourselves again.

We find happiness.

The city isn’t the only option. Maybe a trip to the woods, or to the top of the mountains, or a day sprawled out across a field, or on a beach.

But every once in a while, we do need to get outside of ourselves and be around people who are walking the same earth as us.

We need to live.

Today reminded me of one of my favorite lessons I’ve ever written, and I was happy to revisit it in a new light, and in a new place.

Get lost in what’s around you.

Sometimes a day on the town is exactly what we need.

Day 342.