Life in perspective
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
If not for Dr. Richard Pineda, I probably would’ve dropped out of college.
It could have been that the subject matter was interesting to me. It could have been that I had just endured enough bad classes that the good ones were finally coming to me. Or maybe Dr. P just had a certain attitude and approach to his classes that I liked. Whatever the answer was, up until the spring of 2010, I had found going to UTEP a chore.
I love reading and have always been a good student. I just had an existential crisis or something dramatic like that the semester before. Where was I going, what was I doing? My core classes were all easy and my major was still undecided. I had wanted to make movies ever since high school and had dabbled in all kinds of different media production, but that didn’t seem practical in a place like El Paso.
The digital media production program here started the semester I was considering leaving UTEP for another school. I went for it instead, but before getting into the meat of the major, I had a few prerequisites in the way. Dr. P taught both of them.
Suddenly those hours of television and film and videogames which I had been immersed in for years meant something. You see, not only did I watch movies and play games, I geeked out to them hard. I would look up schools of critical theory on the Internet and analyze and read and discuss on forums and message boards and turn over “Blade Runner” and “Silent Hill 2” again and again and again in my head. I loved doing so, but always felt it was only a hobby. I had to grow up and embrace some sort of “real world” job if I wanted to get anywhere, and that narrow view made me miserable.
Dr. P showed me that what I was doing could be more than just a hobby on the side. There was a whole academic world dedicated to what I was doing. I think even more importantly, it made me realize it was okay to pursue what I loved. If not for those classes with Dr. P, I would’ve approached my later communication classes with the intent to do the assignments passionless and just get the grade, rather than bending the rules a little and having fun expressing myself.
Around the same time, my core classes were finally done with, and the higher-level electives I began to take only reaffirmed what Dr. P had shown me. Humanities classes with both Dr. Wren and Dr. Louden had me exploring texts I loved critically. Dr. Luykx’s human sexuality class introduced me to reading material I would’ve never found on my own. All of these classes were essential to graduation. More importantly, they continued to feed my intellectual curiosity and helped me become well-rounded outside of my major. Too often I hear people complaining that electives just take up time and money from their degree plan. College is what you make of it, I suppose, and for the first year or so here at UTEP I was making it hard on myself. Once I realized I should do what I loved and went all in, things became so much more enjoyable. Now that it’s all over (for now at least–there’s always grad school!), I don’t feel that same stress I had coming in. I don’t feel another existential crisis coming over me as I leave college. It’s been a long road since high school, but I now know how to face what comes next.
I’m going to keep going, and I’m going to do what I love. I hope you do too.
Henry Arrambide may NOT be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.