Why did you decide to study at The School of The New York Times?
I was looking for a summer program that would allow me to study topics that aren’t offered as academic courses during the school year. I was initially drawn to The School of The New York Times for its journalism element, as I am an editor at my school’s newspaper. When I saw the other courses SoNYT offered, however, I felt that I wanted to expand my horizons even further by taking a course on something I had no experience in but wanted to try. I had always been interested in screenwriting, and when I read the course description for Writing for Television, I knew almost immediately that I had found the right program.
Which course did you take and why?
365体育备用网址I took In the Writer’s Room: Writing for Television at the New York City campus. I love to write, but at my STEM-focused school, it’s sometimes difficult to envision career paths centered around writing. I also love visual art & photography, but again, I often feel discouraged from pursuing the subjects as a career by college counselors, parents, and my peers. Screenwriting was one of the few avenues that channel my passion for these subjects into a profession, so for the past year or so, I’ve considered the idea of pursuing a career in the film and television industry. I hoped that the Writing for Television course might give me a better grasp of what working in film would look like, so I decided to enroll.
If you had to name one thing that you learned from your time here, what is that one takeaway that will stay with you?
365体育备用网址On the last day of class, one of my instructors said something along the lines of “You’re a filmmaker if you want to be a filmmaker. Keep writing and shooting and editing whatever projects you want and don’t be afraid to call yourself a filmmaker.” I instantly fell in love with this concept, not because I want to call myself a filmmaker or even make films necessarily, but because the principle of what he said rang true in so many other situations. As a high school student, I feel that I’m constantly told that I can’t accomplish things outside of my school community, that I’m too young to make an impact, and that efforts to achieve anything other than academic or school-related success are a waste of my time. To hear my teacher, someone who I admire beyond reason, discredit this tired narrative was so uplifting. His words validated my desire for something more than school and inspired me to begin art and writing projects I’ve always wanted to pursue but convinced myself I had no time for.
What was your favorite site visit?
365体育备用网址My favorite site visit was, without a doubt, the taping of The Daily Show. It was breathtaking to be that close to Trevor Noah.
Who was the most memorable guest speaker?
365体育备用网址For me, the most memorable guest speaker was Karishma Dube, an NYU film school graduate and a close friend of the instructors. I appreciated her candid responses to our questions, and I also liked hearing from a newly-graduated female filmmaker just now entering the film industry. As a woman of color, I found it encouraging to see that female filmmakers of color do exist. She spoke briefly about prejudice in the film industry and said some things that greatly shifted my perspective on the issue, which I am grateful for.
What were your faculty like?
I loved my faculty so much. I’m not an especially expressive person, so I don’t think they realized how much I loved them while I was in class, but I am beyond thankful to them for the two weeks we shared. They were both experienced in not only screenwriting but also the logistics of the film industry. Almost everything that came out of their mouth seemed like precious knowledge. Beyond that, they were patient and kind, and I feel that they did a great job of establishing their classroom as a space of empathy, understanding, and shared experiences, which allowed for students to be vulnerable in sharing their work and receiving feedback. They took teaching very seriously and seemed to care deeply about the level of education we received in their classroom, as evidenced by the curriculum and numerous assignments they created for us. Most importantly, they were so clearly passionate about what they did. They were fully engaged and excited in every moment of class, and their excitement was contagious. Being around them motivated me to work harder on projects and assignments both in and outside of class, and they showed me that it is possible to wholeheartedly love your career.
What does The New York Times mean to you?
To me, The New York Times represents an appreciation for intellectual and academic subjects, cultural and social awareness, and, above all, the people that populate our country and the world and the stories they want to tell.
What does it mean to you to study in New York City?
365体育备用网址To study in New York City is to study in a microcosm of the world. So many people with so many diverse backgrounds and opinions, all within a 300-mile radius – it offers so much opportunity for education. Beyond its diversity, the city is particularly relevant to the course I took as it’s a hub for television and film production. The quality of teachers we had, the experiences of visiting NBC studios and The Daily Show, they are unique to New York City. And being in the city was fun even when you weren’t studying! So many of my memories from the SoNYT are of my friends and I exploring Chinatown and Little Italy, shopping in SoHo, or biking through Central Park. There’s always something to do, whether it’s related to your studies or just for fun.
What do you think you want to be when you grow up?
365体育备用网址I think I want to be a screenwriter. I’d be equally happy as an activist attorney. If neither of those works out, a social worker.