Life at Film School

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Kartik Bajoria


I have been extremely privileged when it concerns the education I have received. Each tryst with the many institutions that I have been blessed to study at, has presented a unique, insightful, experience. Be it boarding school in the hills of Dehra Dun, college in the heart of Delhi University, post-graduation in the bustle of cosmopolitan Mumbai; all the places, faces, and experiences have contributed infinitely, to the person I am today. There is however one study-stint that perhaps tops the list, not necessarily because it was better than the rest, purely because it taught me personally, the most. And that would have to be a film school. The year and a half I spent at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles (Universal Studios) branch was life-altering. And that is what I’d like to share with you today.


First and foremost, it was the first time I was abroad, for the long-term, living alone. Nothing quite prepared me for what was to come. Having lived by myself through college in India, I was still very protected. It was always in familiar surroundings, among people and places I knew. Now, in LA, I was back in the United States only for the second time since holidaying there with my parents as a young kid. This time, I had to fend for myself. Find an apartment, enter into a lease, open a bank account, shop for and set-up home, all on my own. There were days when it seemed like an insurmountable, daunting task. But it all got done rather quickly, and in the process, taught me so much about being in a foreign country and managing on my own. From the littlest chore such as cleaning one’s own bathroom too, shopping and cooking a meal; living abroad alone is one of life’s greatest teachers, and it helps one develop several life-long skill sets.


I also had the chance, for the first time, to have such an extended interaction with people/students from all over the world. Again, like living in one’s own country breeds familiarity, hanging out with one’s friends and family back home does the same. Even if we meet new people in our own country and hometown, there is a shared commonality that makes us all, similar. Living, studying and working with multiple nationalities brings about an exposure that is altogether different. One gets to know the thinking and ethos of people from different countries, and to that, you add your own perspective. It changes, transforms even, the way you think and feel. It shatters stereotypes that you might have formed subconsciously, and brings in a whole new outlook and world view which makes you more mature, and develops you as a human being.


I also had the time of my life outside of the classroom in LA. A great city, a melting pot, always buzzing in a frenzy of cultural activity. I attended my favorite bands in concert, discovered new ones. I went to my first ever stand-up comedy show and realized just how much I loved the art form. I explored food and tasted cuisines and dishes I’d never heard of, and relished all of it. I traveled through a lot of the US and those travels as a student, unencumbered by the restrictions that apply to a ‘vacation’, enriched me in ways that I can’t possibly encapsulate in a blog post; suffice it to say, they were all, each one, eye-opening experiences that have molded the way I perceive, think, react, and believe.

Naturally, I learned and honed the craft of film-making is a given. But truth be told, my life at film school taught me more, so much more than just the subject I’d gone there to study. It taught me about myself and about life, about hard work and survival, about friendship and faith, about love and loss, about home and beyond. All I can share as a piece of advice is for every young person who might get an opportunity to study and live abroad, grab it. It will alter your entire perception of life!

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

via TOI Blog

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