A Handful of Rubies Or A Single Perfect Diamond


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I was walking across the campus of the University of Southern California trying to decide whether or not I felt like I belonged there.

It has been almost ten years since I was a college student. In some strange twist in quantum mechanics the intervening years have managed to make me feel about twenty years older while only taking about six months to pass me by: I graduated college, worked for a bit, moved into an apartment… then there was something to do with the economy and somehow I was granted a husband and then I turned thirty. Time has clearly had it’s nefarious way with me.

So to be plunged into a collegiate atmosphere: especially one as big and lively as the USC campus is a little bit disorienting. Everyone is so young.  There are bicycles and skateboards everywhere. The buildings are all beautifully designed and, what’s more, landscaped. This is a school that is a small city complete with it’s own culture and a dialect that I only half remember how to speak.

It was only after I returned home that I realized that I was beginning to experience some cognitive dissonance about my philosophy on learning. On the one hand there are immeasurable advantages to specializing in whatever it is that you want to pursue in life. So would follow that if I want to be a film director it would make sense for me to focus exclusively on directing in order to become the absolute best director that I could possibly be. On the other hand filmmaking is a collaborative art form and there is no disadvantage to having training in several production-related areas. Being the best director in the world will make no difference at all if I never get to direct anything.

It is a dilemma between becoming a Master Craftsman and becoming a Renaissance Woman.

Do I want to be a Michelangelo or do I want to be a DaVinci? Do I want to have a single perfect diamond or a handful of rubies?

With it’s bustle and energy USC lends itself to the latter: there is so much activity that the opportunities for cross-discipline study are numerous and readily available, but with SO much activity it could also be overwhelming and easy to get lost in the shuffle.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 15, 2013.

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