May 28, 2024

MENTORSHIP MATTERS

A MEMO TO THE HIGH SCHOOL GRAD ON UNLEASHING YOUR PASSION & ACTUALIZING YOUR SUCCESS

By Carmen Greger

Discovering Potential Profession, Securing Mentorship, and Building a Rockstar Portfolio

Hey there, world-changer! So, you’ve closed one monumental chapter and are about to flip the page to the next – a world full of infinite opportunities. Graduating high school is indeed a milestone, and the next step can seem daunting. That’s why we’re here, to help you navigate this thrilling yet challenging terrain of finding your passion, landing a mentor, and building a kickass portfolio that speaks volumes about your skills and potential. Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

Discovering Your Passion

Let’s kick this off with an example of a high school graduate’s interest in pursuing the Media Arts, Photography, and Film & Production industries – creative fields that offer exciting opportunities. While passion can’t be forced or immediately revealed, it can be nurtured. Start by asking yourself questions about what intrigues you. What are the things that make your soul light up? Do you love capturing moments, telling visual stories, or perhaps directing mind-blowing films?

Summer before college is a perfect time to explore these interests. Attend workshops or online classes that introduce you to these fields. Participate in community events or contests. Watch documentaries, study the work of masters in these fields. These endeavors help you see your interests from different angles, further igniting your passion and understanding of what your future career might look like.

The Importance of Mentorship

Finding a mentor in your chosen field is like discovering a treasure chest of experience, insight, and guidance. They are the Yoda to your Luke Skywalker, the Alfred to your Batman. Quentin Tarantino, a renowned film director, once mentored under, and eventually collaborated with, the great Tony Scott, enhancing his skills and understanding of the industry. Such relationships help accelerate your growth by providing invaluable, first-hand insights that books and classrooms may not offer.

Securing a mentorship might seem intimidating, but most professionals are open to sharing their experiences with an eager mind. Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, join industry-specific groups, attend networking events or conventions. Reach out to people whose work inspires you. Send a polite, respectful email expressing your admiration for their work and your interest in learning from them. You might be surprised by their willingness to help.

Once you’ve found a mentor, shadowing them can offer a behind-the-scenes look at how they operate, solve problems, and innovate. It’s an opportunity to see theory applied in a real-world context. Ask questions, take notes, learn from their successes and mistakes, and implement this knowledge into your own endeavors.

Mentorship Matters

An Age-Old Practice: Apprenticeship. 

Apprenticeships represent an age-old practice where you learn skills on the job. It’s a hands-on approach that merges learning and practical application. In fields like Media Arts, Photography, and Film & Production, apprenticeships can provide you with real industry exposure, connections, and valuable work experience. These opportunities can sometimes even be secured through your mentor, reinforcing the importance of these connections.

Unleashing Your Potential

Let’s be real, stepping into the unknown can be scary, but that’s where magic happens. It’s time for you to step into your greatness, as the journey from good to great starts with a single step. Believe in your potential, be resilient, and never stop learning. Be prepared for setbacks, but remember they are not the end, merely stepping stones towards your greatness.

Building a Portfolio

Now, let’s talk about the holy grail of your professional journey – your portfolio. In the creative world, it’s not just about what you say you can do, but what you can show. Here are five key components to a robust portfolio:

Quality Over Quantity: It’s tempting to include everything you’ve ever created, but focus on showcasing your best work. Your portfolio should reflect your growth, diversity, and uniqueness in skills.

Originality: Originality is your secret weapon in the creative world. Your portfolio should exhibit your unique perspective and artistic voice. Be bold, be innovative, be you!

Storytelling: Each piece in your portfolio should tell a story, reflecting your thought process, problem-solving skills, and creativity. It’s not just about the final product but also how you arrived there.

Presentation: Remember, your portfolio is like a visual resume. Keep it organized, clean, and professional. Use high-resolution images, add descriptions, and ensure easy navigation.

Feedback and Improvement: Always be open to constructive criticism. This will help you identify your strengths and areas for improvement, refining your portfolio over time.

Start your portfolio during your summer before college. Use the experiences and skills you gain from workshops, online classes, or personal projects. As you progress through your college years and beyond, keep adding to it methodically. Keep refining, updating, and improving your portfolio, reflecting your evolving skills, styles, and experiences.

Finding your passion(s) and potential profession isn’t a one-day affair, it’s a journey – one filled with exploration, trials, triumphs, and lots of learning. Remember, securing a mentor is like having a lighthouse guiding your way, helping you avoid pitfalls and propelling you towards your goals. Embrace apprenticeships, as they offer invaluable industry exposure and hands-on experience.

Always believe in your potential to become the greatest, most inspiring, passionate, and successful version of yourself. Build a powerful portfolio that showcases your talents, creativity, drive and progress. As you embark on this exciting new chapter, remember that the world is your oyster. Now go out there, and make your mark! Remember, you’re not just living in the world, you’re creating it!