msquared's picture

LA was freaking amazing. USC was unbelievable. The interview was successful, in my opinion; but I guess you never know with these sorts of things.

So first of all, USC: it's the most gorgeous campus I've ever seen. Palm leaves flutter in the breeze over grass as soft as carpet, and majestic stone building creep up above the trees. Everyone I met was kind, intelligent, and unique. Gay pride banners adorned every lamppost on campus in preparation for their Pride Week; I was so amazed that they could DO that without people throwing bitch-fits all over the place. So refreshing.

A big reason why I was there was to learn more about the cinema department. I was blown away by the new state-of-the-art cinema building donated by George Lucas and the comprehensiveness of the screenwriting program. I was kind of worried before I went that the school would try to Hollywood-ize my writing, but I was definitely wrong. The teachers that I met were great and said they all try to nurture the student's vision and no one else's. A great deal of the students go on to become independent filmmakers.

What I learned about my chances at getting this scholarship was both good and bad. Bad: Only a little over half of the students interviewed receive scholarships instead of the 80-90% that I projected. Good: I'm the only screenwriting student nominated, and the pool of cinema students is much smaller this year than in previous years. Plus my interviewers seemed very impressed by my writing - the department chair said I "have a way with the page" and that my work is very honest, which is something that he always wants his students to strive for. Personality-wise, I also meet his 3 P's requirement: passionate, persistent, and patient. This guy and I definitely see eye-to-eye on a lot of stuff! Overall, things seem to be tilted in my favor, but I refuse to be silly and make any predictions. Arrogance is not cool.

I also spent three days roaming around LA after touring USC. I absolutely love that city. The people, the culture, the diversity, the natural beauty...so unbelievable - especially compared to the Midwest. I could so imagine myself living there. I think I'm in love.

I have to wait till April 1st for the scholarship decision. I can't stop thinking about it. If I don't get it, then yes, I'll see if I could still manage to afford USC with the help of financial aid, but my life would just be so much easier if I only had to worry about paying for living expenses. Plus my parents are very hesitant about my living 2000 miles away, and I tell ya, if USC costs just one penny more than an in-state college, they're not going to let me go.

My parents are another reason why I want to go to LA. I need to get away from them so badly, and I'm sure a lot of you guys can relate. Ever since I came out to them two years ago, our relationship has been more or less dead. They hate that I'm gay, and I hate them for hating that I'm gay. I just need the freedom to be myself all the time - not merely for a few hours a day while I'm at school. And my relationship with my dad has been so bad lately that I can't even look at him. He's an alcoholic. My whole life I've just kept the fact buried and acted like it was normal for a dad to be out drinking till midnight every night of the week, but lately I've been coming to grips with it and seeing his actions for what they really are. He's been like this black cloud hanging over me; a harbinger of what I could become if I stay here in the Midwest and just keep with the status quo. And of course his physical presence alone is stifling - the reek of booze and tobacco leaves on his breath, the thundering of his clumsy steps, the cringe-worthy sound of his vomiting and coughing penetrating the walls. I need to be free of all that. I need to know that life can be more than that; that I can be more than that. And this scholarship can make all of that possible.


jeff's picture


Sounds like no matter what happens you need to go to school away from home.

I've never really spent much time in L.A. My only complaint is it's a big city that almost requires a car, unlike SF, Portland, DC, NYC and others, where you can get everywhere on public transportation. Of course, L.A. is a big sprawling city, unlike SF which is a 7 mile by 7 mile square surrounded by water on three sides, so we can't expand any.

If your local school is a penny cheaper, I'll kick in a quarter to tip the scales through grad school. :-)

"People who are happy are slugs... They do not move the human race forward."
-- Camille Paglia, on Oasis

msquared's picture

Oh yeah, a car is pretty

Oh yeah, a car is pretty necessary, and the traffic is anything but good. I'm not too happy about that, but everything else gets my stamp of approval. I'm sure I'll be able to thumb a ride...that's pretty safe, right? =]

And thanks for the donation! You can make out the check to the MGM Foundation of Getting Out of the Freaking Midwest.

"But don't be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it."
-Stephen Colbert