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Prestige or Passion?

“Is this what I really want?” 

Fumes of sulphur dioxide escape from the test tube like a venomous snake set free, slithering into my lungs and arousing a series of coughs. As tears accumulating in my bloodshot eyes blur my vision, I abandon the self-designed and evidently flawed air filtration apparatus and race toward the door to the balcony. Stepping outside, cold December winds sail past me as I grab hold of my face mask, jerk it away from my face and let it slide across the floor. 


My gaze drifts from the swirls of air eddying in front of me, to my aunt’s house across the street, illuminated merely by a faint light and barely visible through the darkness but appearing to me as significant as a solo performer standing under the spotlight. “Will they ever know what it takes?” The labyrinth inside my head shifts, leaving countless thoughts and voices bumping into each other like reflections in a house of mirrors. 


“Is this what I really want?” 


As a child, I wandered through the immense possibilities of all the things I could be, fascinated by art, music, and movies. My imagination ran wild and found me one moment standing at The Wembley thrashing the strings of my electric guitar playing Linkin Park’s "Burn it Down," and another walking down the runway in shoes resembling those of Alexander McQueen’s Plato’s Atlantis, in a grotesque haute couture dress. I would plug in my headphones and drift away to the world inside my head, intricately weaving stories that played out like movies. That was when my imagination, unconfined by the need to outshine my sister, resonated with what my heart truly desired.


My aforementioned sister was eight years older and was a doctor. From the moment she was accepted into a prestigious medical school in the country, to the day of her graduation, the innumerable praises showered upon her for choosing a profession of such nobility and the boasts of my parents of the amount of hard work she had to go through, slowly sent me on a path to be like her. Determined, I took on the most academically challenging and worldly significant area of study I could think of – astrophysics.


"Is this what I really want?" 


Leaving the laboratory/bedroom, I climb the stairs leading to the attic. A scarlet sky sends in some of the early morning light apprising the arrival of the emerging sun, through the half-drawn blinds, letting it land on my electric guitar covered in dust. I run my hands over the neck, the Maplewood feeling warm against my skin, like the touch of an old lover. I open a carton entitled “useless," and savour the sight of my paint brushes rendered hard with dried paint. I flip the pages of my sketchbook, scanning sketches tainted with fungus. My mind arrives at the answer, no-- a truth that I had once known but chosen to forget. 


What follows are months of introspection and exploration, with a reassurance, however, that I am now on the right path. Pushing through my academically rigorous school, I devote whatever time I have left from studies diving deeply into all the arts. The fall of my junior year I stroll through the streets of Paris, joining a Fashion Design course at Istituto Marangoni. I decide to take a gap year, during which I take an online photography course from the University of Michigan, Jim Uhl's online screenwriting course, Dr. Josh Wright’s ProPractice Piano Academy, and Film Direction at New York Film Academy. And there I find my true passion: an undying love for every component of filmmaking. I submerge myself into film: watching countless films, directing shorts, and writing screenplays. I contact a writer in Hollywood to guide me along my way, and with a sigh of relief and a hunger in my soul I set out on my path to becoming a filmmaker.

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