Blog

Update 1: Impasse

I find myself at a point in which I'm not sure what to do with myself. I talked to a professor today and she said it's that time of year. Apparently a lot of graduating seniors find themselves questioning their future with five weeks left to go in the semester. I truly don't know though. I had everything planned out, and I feel as if that plan is gone.

Originally the plan was simple. I was going to start up Transcending Productions after moving to a larger city in the state. I was going to start a project and hire a few people and go from there. While I did that, I was going to be writing  my book. The plan was pretty solid to the point that I was looking into hardware options for the new company. Like cameras and such...but...that seems pointless now.

Here's why. I've been producing this television series on the campus cable TV station that I'm in charge of running right now. I'm really proud of it, and it's an example of how far I've come with my skills in production. I showed it to two of my friends who also do film and video. They essentially said that it was good, but it's also lacking an artistic angle. I thought about it...and I realized that I'm very much still learning my craft. Sure this episode is an example of how far I've come, but it's also an example of how far I have yet to go.

So I find myself second guessing the entire plan I had. I don't feel I'm quite ready yet to start a production company. On top of that, doing training videos and promotions isn't really my idea of a fun and creative future. I want to do films and TV series. Though I realize everyone needs a place to start, am I really educated and experienced enough to run my own company? Especially when I know nothing about business?

So I'm considering a few options, and I don't know what will work. The strongest option right now is grad school. Sure, I've been complaining about how much I'm sick of the classroom environment, but I think going to grad school for film would be different. It's also going to depend on where I go. The one that would be amazingly awesome would be the AFI grad program. Talk about the pinnacle of the film programs out there. It's a very expensive program though running at about $56,000 a year. But hey...with that kind of degree...I'd earn it back.

There are other programs though. I've looked at the UCLA program, the Southern Cali Program, the Austin Texas program, Columbia University, New York University, and others. I think I have a lot of options and I could get into one. In fact, after looking at the programs, I think I'd rank my to three choices as follows:

1. Southern California University
2. American Film Institute
3. Columbia University

And interestingly...they aren't in rank order. I think I'd be happy with each of them equally. Plus, I think I stand a good chance at getting into at least one of those three. Most of them are less expensive than the AFI program though.

So as you can tell...I'm leaning toward the school option. Crazy huh?

The issue is then...what do I do until I get admitted? My boss was like "Watch a lot of movies?" which is an interesting prospect. It'd be great education, but I don't think I can make much money that way. I could seek out temporary employment while I apply for grad school. One of the things I was considering is working as an intern for my TV station on campus, helping to improve it. I could give standard training and such. It'd be cool. I'd have to get paid though. Otherwise...what's the point? I mean, I love to help, but I have to eat too.

I could move  back home and seek out local employment in my hometown area...but I'd rather not. That's kinda the last option. I could also just jump into it and start the company. However, i think I'd be much better off going to school for a masters.

Now it's time for reader participation!! You help Jess decide what to do...

!++12++!

Luv,
Jess

Well, I was snubbed out of the article I was interviewed for last year, but they're back. GenderPAC, a non-profit organization based out of Washington D.C., contacted me this week. I've worked with them on many occassions, even getting my University affiliated as part of their genderYOUTH program. The New York Times is working with them on an article. The article specifically deals with gender issues in higher education and EEO policies in the Universities. They contacted me because I was very influential in getting the EEO Policy for the entire statewide University system changed to include gender identity and expression.

The initial e-mail happened on Monday. I replied saying I was interested. Later that day I was called and told my story to the person at GenderPAC. They took that info and gave it to the PR person. They discussed it and Yesterday I was set up to do a conference call regarding the interview. On the call were the PR person, the person who contacted me on Monday, and Riki Wilchins, the founder of GenderPAC and author of several books. That was cool.

It was rather intimidating having four people giving me interview advice at once. I was somewhat overwhelmed with all of it. Slowly over the course of the call I was forming ideas of what I could talk about and how to phrase things. I at least have an idea of the angle that will be presented when the interview happens. I feel somewhat prepared, but still nervous about it. It's the New York Times...who wouldn't be?...besides celebrities and politicians? On top of that Riki said that she'd be on the phone call with me, which I'm ok with, and yet am scared about. If I misspeak, one of my mentors will possibly think less of me. That's hard and might make it more nerve racking. I'll do my best to be even more prepared. Maybe I'll do some mock interviews to get ready for it.

Anyway, I'm exhausted and am about to go to bed. I just wanted to share that information with you before sleeping. :) Have a great Friday.

Luv,
Jess

So, this weekend my best friend, who happens to be a gay man, and I were grocery shopping. He made reference to not having any condoms. Only, he referred to them as contraceptives. Though I understand that condoms are a form of contraception, something about hearing a gay man say "I forgot to buy the contraceptives" made me snicker. The term 'contraceptive' means counter conception, and since gay men can't get pregnant, the term doesn't seem to fit. My friend disagrees with me. He says "Condoms are contraceptives. That's what they are," and while he's right, they aren't contraceptives for him since gay men can't conceive. They are counter infections. So we've coined the term 'contrafective'. I think it works better. He still disagrees, but he's dumb. :) I'm picking on him. When I told him I was writing this, he told me to put his official statement in here too, which is: "Jessica is a dork." On that note, have a great day.

Luv,
Dork

That's one of the only phrases I like from Shakespeare...

As per usual for me, I've been so busy the past couple weeks. What has been taking up most of that time was the Vagina Monologues. Even though I really didn't have the time to be in them, I decided to do the show anyway. I was Comfort Woman number 4. That monologue was added this year. It would seem that each year I get to do the new monologue. Well...each year until now. This was my last show. *tear* I'm going to miss it. The show is so empowering. Last year it was the event that made me feel welcome amongst other women. This year was no different.

The show did take up a lot of time though. I had rehearsal last week on Monday and Tuesday (though I missed the Monday one to speak in a class). Then we had three shows from Wednesday through Friday. Prior to last week we had a rehearsal the Tuesday before. We also had a retreat the week before that. So it was a large committment for anyone. I had to miss my volunteer work two weeks in a row due to it, but that's ok. Miss one volunteer opportunity to do another...I think it works out.

I do have some bad news from my TV station job. I'm one of two station managers. I do the administrative work while my cohort, Virge, does the Technical work. About two weeks ago, Virge shattered both of his legs. No, it wasn't due to drinking or drugs or anything. He has a phobia about things starting on fire and jumped off a 6 foot porch to retrieve a lighter before a fire started. He landed on locked knees. He's going to be out of school for the rest of the semester, which made the last weeks a bit more stressful for me. But I've just thought about his situation, and the stress doesn't bother me. He's in a lot of pain. I can handle a bit of stress. We're going to hire someone to take his place temporarily. Still, we all mis him. He's going to have trouble walking the rest of his life.

I have started my speaking routine for the year too. I spoke in several classes over the past couple weeks. On top of that, I was asked again by the University System to speak. So, I'm going to be busy with presentations again. There's no surprise. Last week was also group project week. I had to give several group presentations all in different classes. A couple Sundays ago I spent the entire day in the Library, which is probably more than I've ever spent there. Thankfully all that stress is over now.

Actually it's been an odd transition. Very abruptly all my stress ceased as of Monday. I found myself with nothing to do, which was amazing. I put on sweats and sat on my butt for an evening. I played video games, watched movie trailers, talked on the phone, answered e-mails that have been sitting around for a while, and got to bed early. I've even already got my homework done for the week. That's pretty crazy. And with Spring Break next week, I'm feeling amazing. I can't tell you how much I've needed this. Several of my friends had noticed that I was getting a bit irritable due to all my stress. I was snapping at friends. All of a sudden Monday night that changed. I was all happy and back to my usual self. Thanks to those of you that put up with me.

Happy news, I got a research grant for the summer. I'll be working with a close friend from the Women's Studies department on gender based research. I'll be reading, interviewing, and writing all about gender. Essentially this is going to be background research for my book. I'm already an expert in the field, but there's always more information out there. So I want to broaden my perceptions and perspectives. It'll make the book all the more useful and educational.

Next week I plan on taking a trip. I'm going to check out the place I'm thinking of moving to after summer. I'm also possibly seeing a video workshop and visiting some friends. I know I have to do my taxes, which will be nice to get out of the way. It'll be neat to see some money come in from that too. Last year I got close to $400 and this year should be similar. We'll see though. This year I have grants and stuff. Things may change.

OH, I also went to see a doctor last week. I didn't announce this, but I was a bit concerned. I felt a lump in my breast back in December when I was home for the holidays. I was a bit scared about what it might be. I know I am at higher risk for breast cancer than most since I'm on continual HRT. It nagged at me for a couple months, and I decided to just go and get it checked out. I had a feeling I knew what it was, but it's best to find out for sure. Turns out it was just the bottom of the breast implant / built up scar tissue. So, I'm ok. No need to worry. The trip did prove very useful in that I also talked with the Nurse about gender stuff. She then invited me to speak to the University health services staff. So that's coming up in April.

Well, I should get back to preparing for my classes later and working on my independent study for tomorrow. Nice catching up with you all. Talk soon.

Luv,
Jess

So it's a bit late...what can I say? Have you ever known me to have free time? Anyway, I'll give you the update on school / work. To me they are both one in the same anyway. In fact, one of my friends at the university told me a great line the other day: "I never let classes get in the way of my education." I think that works well for my perspective on school right now.

It's my final semester. Yes...I'm finally graduating at the end of this semester. And I'm sure you all thought I'd be in school forever. Alas you are wrong. I'm almost done. I have five classes, four of which are actual classroom classes. The last one is an independent study on programming in ruby on rails. If anyone reading this knows web design, they'd understand how cool ruby is.

Anyway, the rest of my classes are pretty much communication courses. I'm in Small Group Communication, Visual Communication, Writing technical texts for general audiences, and my capstone course. So it's pretty full. I'm also very involved outside of the class world. And that's pretty normal for me. In fact, usually it takes priority.

I'm still running the TV studio on campus. That's been going well. I'm excited about the energy there. People are starting to see the potential of the station, and that's great. For once people may not take us as just a stupid campus TV station. That's fantastic. We're forming alliances, organizing, and stirring up trouble. I love it.

Easily I put in 30 hours a week there. I am incredibly devoted to it. We're producing a new series. It's called "The Heist" and I'm the producer of the show. So, I spend a lot of time preparing and running meetings. It's so much work, but I love all of it. In fact, I love it so much that I am planning on starting up a production company after graduation. I'll keep you posted on it.

I mentioned back in December that I'm writing a book too. That's still going on. Essentially it'll be a book about gender. It's going to have some of my story in it, but mainly it's intended as an educational book. I intend to revolutionize the way people learn and think about gender. I am actually spending this coming summer researching with a faculty member on other perspectives on gender as well as read the current scholarly research. I'm already considered an expert, but after that I'll be pretty darned educated when it comes to gender.

My parents recently came up to see me speak in a class. Afterwards my father told me that the world needs my book. He said I'm such a scholar on it and he was impressed. How cool is that? I've impressed my dad...of whom was the most uncomfortable and even downright angry about my transition at first. Afterwards they got to see me win a student leadership award. Last year I was nominated, but I didn't win. This year I did win. It felt pretty awesome. :)

Let's see...what else is going on... Oh, the state university system has asked me to speak at some conference. I'm not sure on the details yet. I've also been asked by the big 10 school in this state to speak for housing. And I've also been asked by my alma mater high school to speak as an all school assembly. That one is amazing to me. I'd have to give two presentations because there isn't a room big enough to have me speak to the entire school. I'm a little nervous considering what happened in a high school near my college when I was brought up a year ago. We'll see though. apparently the administration is on board already. I'll keep you posted.

Exams are coming up. I have one on Monday that I'm very not prepared for. I'm not sure I care though. As long as I pull off a C to pass, I'm fine with it. I am ready to move on with my life and am not really learning a whole lot anymore. Plus, the professor that teaches Small Group Comm and my capstone is really kinda odd. I don't feel like the class is organized or prepared much. I don't know what I'm expected to do. I don't know what I need to bring to class. I feel so unprepared, and so does everyone else. It's a strange classroom environment.

Apparently with my job as station manager, I've stepped all over the technical manager's job. I don't know what to say about that. I've been thinking about it for a day since I found out about how he feels. Honestly and frankly, I'm not sure his feelings are justified. I've found myself doing his job because I've felt that he hasn't been pulling his weight. In fact, he really hasn't since he got the job. He's lazy, has no ambition, or vision, and he doesn't think long term. So, things don't get done. Equipment breaks and then sits there. Things need to be replaced and he does nothing. I run a studio, not a junkyard, and I need things working. If he's not going to do what he's paid to do, then I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to pick up the slack. I've sent the three broken cameras in. I've written the proposals to replace our battery system and a computer. I've purchased the new website. We've had MiniDV decks broken for several months now. THey are pretty important to our operations, and he lets them sit and rot. He wants to replace them, but he doesn't take the initiative to write a proposal to get them replaced. He doesn't send the decks in. He just sits on his ass. So yeah...I'm a bit upset about it. He really has no right to feel that way. I'm going to talk to him about it soon.

Anyway...it's 3:00 in the morning. I've been up entirely too long today and have stuff to do tomorrow. I better get some sleep. I'll post another update about something soon. Catch ya later.

Luv,
Jess