When I stepped out of my aunt’s car last fall, I had no idea what to expect. I blindly applied to SVA, hearing from word of mouth that it was a good school for animation. I didn’t take any tours, go to any open houses, or go to accepted students day since I lived across the country. The closest thing that I got to a tour was when I stumbled onto the studio a few weeks prior to school starting. Mark welcomed me warmly because I walked from Wall St. to the east side building and finally to the 380 building. In short, I took a leap of faith; and it was probably the best decision I’ve made in my life.
I knew that I belonged here when the orientation leaders took us to the studio during the first day of orientation. Although some of the students had no idea what to expect, 2 girls namedropped Rebecca Sugar (who were Brigitte and Caeli, who I’d soon become friends with). I got a nod of approval from Mike when I namedropped Glen Keane. Later on everyone in the room would erupt in applause for Gravity Falls. And then flash forward to that night, Mike asked around if there were any people of age who’d want to go to a bar. He didn’t even finish his breath when I said ME, LET’S GO. Soon, I would be in the company of some of the closest friends that I’ve made in my life: Mike, Luz, Corie, Tom, and June. Later that week I’d bond with Steph, Lissi, Marlana, and David during the scavenger hunt, when we ran frantically all over the place.
So orientation week came and went and classes would soon start. Some of the teachers terrified me at first (Mario Menjivar and his mighty boots specifically), but they’ll eventually become my greatest mentors. Only a week after, I started overnighting with my friends to work on animation. That’s when we really got to know each other, and when they brought me out of my shell (big shoutout to Mike, Luz, Judy, and Steph for those first few overnights). As the semester went on, I forged friendships with people in the rest of my classes; through overnights at the newres basement/the mezz/the studio or hanging out in the park sketching people and dogs. All this while, I’m continually being inspired by the blinding talent in my department. By the end of fall semester, I’d soon run into troubles from back home, but my friends helped me keep afloat. I came out of fall semester feeling like a champion and with a 3.2 GPA, which made me eligible to get jobs at the school.
Just as a sidenote, I looked at a second year film from Calarts at the end of last semester and just smiled. Not only because it pretty was good, but moreso that the people in my class can animate just as well as they did.
At this point, my friends and I were inseparable During break we’d constantly talk to each other and have google hangouts. Even though we were invited to a couple of parties, we opted to stay in and just hang out with each other. Another shoutout to Mike, Luz, Kirby, Judy, Sarah, and Iker.
Spring semester was an even bigger challenge. The workload was even more intense, but I enjoyed each and every moment of it. I even had the privilege of working on a few thesis films, which I’m extremely excited to see a week from now at the Dustys. Huge shoutouts to Sara Ho and Dana/Iker. #teamcrabbyday and #teammirage for life. And equally huge shoutouts to the entire thesis class for all their hard work. Your guys were an inspiration to all of us underclassmen.
I also took huge personal jumps this past semester. I started the SVA Animation Guild, and it blossomed into a pretty successful club (shoutout to Mike, David, Luz, Corie, Matt, and ESPECIALLY Sam for making this happen, and another shoutout to everyone who came to our meetings). And I also applied to become a RA. The process went pretty well but I didn’t get the position for the academic year, but I did get a position for the summer. It’s pretty funny because it’s usually harder to get than the academic year RA spot. The experience I got from that process led me to become and Orientation Leader for next year; and in general made me more assertive and self confident. Also, my friends and I’s enthusiasm during Accepted Students day made a lot of the prospective students excited to attend the school.
And so here we are, the last weekend of the school year. My right wrist is on the verge of collapsing upon itself and I’m dangerously deprived of sleep, but I feel amazing. One last push and I’ll be free for my summer in New York City with my close friends.
Last shoutout to Jess, Kirby, Sandy, Lindsey, Caeli, Brigitte, Steven, Christian D, Christian R, Alexa, Rena, Lissi, Victoria, Sarah, Jo, Amber, Kait, Chris Anne, Jenn, Sara, Shannon, Leo, Saori, Thalia, Elvie, and each and every one of you brilliant brilliant people that I’m forgetting at the moment. I hope next year can even come close to how amazing this year was.
tl;dr SVA is awesome. My friends are awesome. Have a good summer!