“Its ok to not know what to do with your life”

Photo By COD News via Flickr. Photo taken on May 16, 2014

It’s not as easy as going to college to figure out what you want to do. While many students come to Chapman with a career in mind, others feel lost. In fact, according to research done by All About Careers, 52% of college students agreed with the statement, “I have no idea what I want to do”. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Feeling stuck in the curriculum is overwhelming, but success stories, such as Junior Kyle Harrington’s, show that there is hope for the lost.


What was your mentality going into college?

Going into college I knew I wanted to make video games, but wasn’t completely sure what that entailed. There are so many aspects and specialties to a field that come derivatively from other disciplines, but have their own unique factors to consider when specializing.


What were your interests?

Filmmaking, writing, puzzles, and a love for live performance. Prior to Chapman I had directed, acted, and sung for film and theater.


Did you compare yourself to the people around you since you weren’t sure of what you wanted to do?

I went into college putting a lot of trust into the curriculum of what the school recommended. What I ended up finding was that while I had a natural knack for using/learning the skills for Digital Arts, many of the people around me were much more passionate about specializing in visual effect or animation. I had to be true to myself when my grades were slipping that maybe my passion not precisely being art for games was what was getting in the way. I desired deeper coursework to emphasize in a different area. I wanted to focus on writing, game/level design, and direction for interactive media. In terms of my emotions, it’s really not easy to find a proper identity in the school when you spend half your time in the Dodge film school and the other half in the Schmid computer science school. It’s an odd combo with vastly different people. In a way, I ended up forming an identity as someone that was an advocate for this field of study at the school. It always feels validating when someone finds out about my major and gets excited about asking questions about video games or VR. I like to act as a force of gaining interest for my field with what I’m doing.


What is the major that you created? Did one specific thing spark something in you? How’d you do it?

My major is called “Interactive Media Design and Production.” I chose a name that umbrellas AR, VR, interactive theater, 360 video, or other interactive media all together. What spoke to me was growing up around my parents and what they did professionally alongside my love for video games. I saw a lot of what I see in video games at my parents’ jobs. Whether it was an interactive show with characters at a theme park or a website helping firefighters help people quicker, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. My parents supported and helped me from the very beginning; a lot of the time asking me the hard questions so that I could have a stronger curriculum. The next step was working with my faculty advisor Adam Rote to make sure the curriculum and technicalities of the credits were all in place. The final step was gaining a signature from Janell Shearer, the chair of the Media Arts Division at Dodge, and sending it into the registrar’s office. Due to the great mentorship of the faculty, I was able to get the papers approved on the first pass.


What is something about yourself that makes you proudest?

Creating your own major really is not a piece of cake. It feels like having to prove yourself everyday in the classroom because it really is a privilege and an honor for the school to allow me to do what I do. I had to put some hard work into staying on track to graduate in four years! That’s honestly stressful beyond compare, but I can honestly say that it’s worth it when I know I’m learning what I need to learn and being prepared to take on a real “adult” job when graduating. I’m proud of myself for taking on this challenge and turning myself into the person with a skillset to make my own goals come to fruition. I’d definitely wish that others take advantage of the resources at the school.


At Chapman, the Career and Professional Development Centers have your back through your uncertainty. From scheduling a career appointment to annual Career and Internship expos on campus, your path is important to the school. Go to the Career Center for drop-in visits  or schedule an appointment to get career advising!


Here are a few pointers to find out what your interests and passions are:


Start small:

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You got one more year of college down. This is something to be proud of. However, feeling pressure from your friends and classmates who found jobs and internships is hard to be around if you aren’t even sure the path you’re on is the right one.  

Here are some suggestions on how to start small:

  • make a job listing on Craigslist for dog walking or babysitting
  • Take a walk down a small neighborhood with small businesses and ask for applications
  • Apply for jobs in corporate retail or in the food industry here (Ex: Chipotle, Blaze, Forever 21, etc): https://www.employmentguide.com/


Write down things that you enjoy within your job(s):

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Keep a journal during the job. According to the URMC Medical Encyclopedia, journaling everyday can “Help you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns”. This will help you choose your interests by process of elimination. Think to yourself, “What do I absolutely hate in this job?”


Stay inspired:

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“How do I stop hating people for being more successful than me?”

Don’t compare yourself to others. The comparison trap is your unrealistic perception of someone being more successful than you. At the end of the day, you don’t know what got them there. In an article for 99u by Laura Bacon, she offers an alternate way to approach someone else’s success by asking questions like, “What do I admire about them?”, “What are they modelling for me?”, or “What have they done to get where they are today?”


“Who am I?” tests:

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Maybe you’re impatient and giving yourself time to find your interests via jobs is not ideal. Aptitude tests are popular for all age groups and tell things about your skills that could otherwise go unnoticed by you. The website aptitude-test.com is one with an abundance of free tests ranging from verbal to quantitative skills. The Guardian created their own personality test. Once completed, there is a guide to help you take your results and apply them to a professional world scenario. Maybe you’ll learn something about yourself that you never knew.



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BREATHE. Take things day by day and your path will soon become more defined.

“Thinking well of yourself is an act of kindness that pays enormous dividend.” – Louise Hay

The best places to study that you didn’t know about

Photo by Ela Suvak.

With more than 8,000 Panthers simultaneously going through finals, typical quiet spaces on campus are often flooded with stressed, studying students. It can be hard to find an uncrowded spot to reach a zen mental state, and to be able to actually absorb the information on the pages upon pages of study guides and textbooks.

In preparation for the endless days and nights of memorizing a semester’s worth of information, there are two crucial factors to take into consideration for a successful week of finals: the annihilation of electronics and sleep.

Believe it or not, science backs the removal of electronics during study time. According to a study done by Gloria Mark, a researcher and professor at the University of California at Irvine, each time a worker in her lab was distracted by an electronic interruption, it took each individual about 25 minutes to refocus on the task they were doing. This means that if a student was to dedicate three hours to study for a certain subject and was distracted by social media, text messages, or emails every 20 minutes, a three hour study session would actually turn into a six hour and 45 minute one.

Endless nights of memorizing lectures with no sleep is one of the most detrimental things to not only the human body, but also to getting good results. A source from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School explained how important sleep is to learning. There are three learning and memory functions: acquisition, the introduction of new information into the brain, consolidation, the process by which memory becomes stable, and recall, the ability to access the information after it has been stored. Two of said functions, acquisition and recall, occur only during any time of wakefulness. However, research indicates that memory consolidation takes place during sleep through the strengthening of the neural connections that form our memories. The stages in which the body’s brain waves are active are the most vital to these functions, but also occur during the deepest parts of sleep. The deepest parts of sleep don’t come to those who take intermittent naps throughout the night, so, rest up and ditch the internet!

By sleeping earlier and putting away electronics before study time, the student mind is stronger. When students study in places they wouldn’t have normally thought of, results are stronger too. Here are three unexpected places to study successfully:

Orange Public Library

Photo courtesy of iheartoldtowneorange.com.

It’s safe to say that one of the first place most Chapman students think to go study is the Leatherby Library. It can be frustrating to walk into the library and not be able to find a private spot to get work done or find resources to study with. However, there is another option that may be overlooked: the Orange Public Library.
Located at 407 E. Chapman Ave, this public library has an abundance of resources such as laptops, eBooks, online research resources and rentable group meeting rooms.
For efficient, collaborative work and access to digital resources, students utilize libraries, as pointed out in a study done by Gensler, a global technology company, “Libraries prioritize areas in support of these activities to best support student need.”
Perhaps the best part of the Orange Public Library is the fact that it is free! Signing up for a library card takes no more than three minutes and can be used at any time of the year, not just finals week!
Sign up for one here!

Killefer Park

Photo by Ela Suvak.

Killefer Park, located within walking distance from Chapman at 615 N Lemon St, provides a break from classrooms and libraries in the great outdoors. Killefer Park has many benches with tables, ideal for laying out study supplies. Although the idea of not having wi-fi may seem disappointing, this is a perfect way to be productive.
Given that the park is right near a school, prime quiet study times are the morning and early afternoon.
Sunlight peeks through the tall trees branches, creating a shady yet lit study environment. Laying down a towel and diving into those textbooks is a great alternative to the frantic conditions of campus.
Psychologists noted in a 2006 study that outdoor education improves grades. After studying on an outdoor curriculum basis, students from those schools received higher scores than traditional system students in 72 percent of assessments given from math all the way to science.

Photo by Ela Suvak

Loggia Terrace

Photo by Ela Suvak

The patios on the third floor of Argyros Forum are seldom occupied by Chapman’s students. Tables and chairs are scattered all over the balcony waiting to be utilized by worry-stricken students.
Spring has come in Orange County, giving Panthers no excuse to not sit outside and enjoy the sunshine while having a few hours of productivity.
Sydney Nebens, a freshman English major, said she uses the patio to get her work done.
“I feel like it’s really easy for me to feel suffocated in the classroom all day,” Nebens said. “When I get fresh air while I study, its a good change of scenery for studying since it keeps me awake.”

Photo by Ela Suvak