Friday, September 28, 2012


I’ve struggled.

I don’t just mean I tried, it was difficult and then I got in the swing of things. I mean that for the last two weeks, writing has been extremely difficult. I know it’s a combination of settling in to my new life, my busy schedule and my unhealthy obsession with voice competition shows.

Let me catch you up. Last night I went with a friend of mine to The Grove to watch a movie. We saw House on the Corner of the Street. While we were waiting in line for popcorn, I glanced over and saw someone I recognized.

Now mind you I’m in California where I know maybe a handful of people. It took a moment to sink in that I didn’t know the person I saw after all, but I had seen him before. Actually, some of you might recognize him as well. His name is Alex Newell and was one of Glee Projects Season 1 contenders. He is now on Glee as well.

I walked up to him to introduce myself. His friend turned around, and I realized it was Hannah from Glee Project Season 1 as well. I was simply beside myself.

I work in Hollywood. I meet celebrities. That is a part of everyday life here. However, I am a Glee fanatic. I love the show. I love the characters. I’m obsessed with its message, and I think that Ryan Murphy is a genius. I’m also a huge fan of writer Ali Adler, so when you wrap all of that up into a little package with a pretty bow and sit it in front of me on the counter at the concessions, I’m like a small child on Christmas.

I told them both what a fan I was, and we stood there for a few moments chatting. Alex said he loved the name “Tennessee” and asked if he could have it. Frankly with that voice he can go by whatever he likes, so I told him of course. They were both ridiculously sweet. We parted ways, and my friend and I continued on into our theatre. I couldn’t help but reflect on how lucky I am to be in a place with some many wonderful people. Creative people. Fantastic people.

Tonight I went out with my fellow interns. We had dinner at a neat little restaurant called City tavern in Culver City. It was a calm little place, but definitely the type of place I enjoy.

 After that, we met up at another restaurant for drinks with the rest of the group. That group included a host of ex-interns who have moved on into their first “real” jobs, or at least the job pointing them to their career. There had to have been close to 40 people there mingling and networking. What struck me was how creative and smart and funny they all were. It’s not that I haven’t met people like this before; In fact that describes my best friends. I just haven’t seen this many in one place. 

It’s so refreshing. I love this atmosphere. I love learning something new everyday. I love feeling like I’ve found where I belong. I worried that I wouldn’t connect with anyone or have any close friends, but the truth is I would hang out with any of them anytime.

Tomorrow I am working, then heading out to Westwood to gather with the interns at a social event. Again, I love this world we’re in. I love that over coffee everyone is talking about the latest project, or their futures. I love not being the only one that constantly has these ideas of “who, and what, and where” running through my mind. My friend Kingsley is going with me. It’s nice having someone out here that I knew prior to the move. It also helps that he is in the industry as well, because it gives me a partner in crime to experience life with.

I realized tonight why writing has been so difficult lately. It’s because it had become a chore. A task. I felt guilty that I hadn’t been working on my blog posts as often, so I would suffer through them with my mind racing a thousand ideas a minute. I was barely skimming the surface. I wasn’t putting my heart into it like I have in the past.

Here’s what I’ve got for you today…

We get one shot at life. I know you’ve heard me say that before, but I really can’t stress it enough. We are all put here on this earth for a reason. Life is calculated down to the second before we ever wake up in the mornings. I truly believe that. We have the ability to make our own decisions, and those decisions affect us in a positive or negative way depending on what it is. It’s up to us to guide our lives the way that we want them to go.

The smallest decisions are often the most surprising. I sent out a tweet. Nothing spectacular. Just a tweet expressing interest in a certain television show. Next thing I know, the producer tweeted me back. I then made another decision. I decided to ask if I could write a blog post about it. He approved. That’s two small decisions I made in my life. Let me tell you where they took me.

That same producer just happened to turn out to be an incredible guy. He has a good heart, and the best intentions. He suggested my internship, gave me a recommendation, and now here I am in California pursuing the dream that I’ve had for five years now. A career in film. This all happened because I decided to tweet something. Insane isn’t it?

Let’s go back even further. Let’s go back five years ago.

I was a freshman in college. I was reckless and wild. I had no sense of self and a chip on my shoulder the size of Texas. I was a creative writing major, but really college was just one big party. It was the first time I had been given any significant freedom and I ran with it.

A month or so into school I was hanging out on campus when the RD o my building asked me to come check out her film project. I wish I could say that I did it so I could learn something new or expose myself to something different, but the truth is my softball team captain was also a film major and I knew she would be there too. I had a severe crush on her, so I went.

When I arrived, my first instinct was to go talk to the crush. She was “straight” but flirtatious, so when she asked me to look over her project and tell her what I thought, I wanted to impress her. I watched the project. I remember it like it as yesterday. The assignment was to cut together a trailer for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. I watched it carefully, but couldn’t help but get lost in the software. The fact that she had put this together. I completely forgot that I liked her, or that I thought she was attractive. All that I could think at that moment was “I want to do this.”

That decision… even if it was based on all the wrong reasons… inspired me to change my major. It inspired me to change my life. Through my decisions I have gotten to see things that my parents never saw. I have met people who have contributed to our history and culture in America and across the world. I have met people who contributed on a more personal scale, who have changed my life in ways I can’t even explain. The decision to attend Stephens was another of those that I remember vividly.

I applied to well over fifty schools. A large majority of them accepted me. I narrowed my search down to 7 based on their websites, mailings and my general instinct. From those seven I narrowed my search down to 3. After speaking to admissions counselors at all three, I began leaning towards one particularly. Stephens.

It was amazing. I loved it’s website. I loved the idea of a women’s college. Somewhere I could fit in. My mother and I went to visit, and met with the basketball coach. I fell in love the moment I sat foot onto campus. He offered me a scholarship, and I couldn’t have been happier. Until I saw the remainder of my tuition.

The only problem was that I was poor. Very poor. I didn’t have a college fund saved up. I didn’t even have a savings account in my name. Every dollar I worked for went towards my school clothes or gas money. I began to doubt whether or not college was even an option, especially a private school like Stephens.

I went online and researched the military. It was the only way I could think of to afford school. After reviewing all the branches, I decided that I was going into the Air Force. It was the most interesting branch to me. I loved the thought of being around aircrafts. I couldn’t fly one because I’m partially blind in one eye, but I still wanted to work with those who could. It was the best I could do, for doing something that I didn’t want.

My recruiter starting coming to my softball games. He would call me at least once a week. We had talked about the paper work multiple times, and I was nearly to the point of signing one Saturday at lunch. My mother asked me to wait. She hated the idea of me going into the Air Force and wanted me to think about it a little longer. I DECIDED to take a few days and sit on it.

Stephens called me that following Monday. They said that on top of their previous offer of basketball and academic scholarships, they could possibly offer me a softball scholarship as well. The only thing was I would have to come try out. When I told my mother, she was ecstatic. Even though that still meant her entire Social Security check every month would go towards my tuition, and I would still work two jobs on top of two sports and school, I knew that I had to give it a shot. I called my recruiter and told him I wasn’t ready to make that kind of decision, and my mother and I drove to Missouri.

Obviously if you’ve followed The Graduates Guide you know I attended Stephens College. It is one of he best decisions I’ve made to this day.

That’s why I encourage you to take chances, trust your instinct and follow your heart. You might wake up one day and realize that you were on the right path all along. Everything you have done up until this point got you to this moment right now. When you “decided” to read the graduates guide, it was just one more factor into the greater scheme of things.

This is your life. Live it.

Remember me.

I’m Tennessee


  1. I loved this. I sometimes wonder day to day, today especially if I made the right decision to go to school where I currently am. I am second guessing my decision. Maybe it's because look at my class layout and realize I still have 2 and a half years til I graduate and go on to get my Masters, or maybe its just that I am starting to realize I'm finally on the path to adulthood, and it scares me. I really don't know which. Maybe its a little bit of both.
    But regardless, I have to trust my decision, and hope that it takes me where I ultimately want to get to. Which as you saw in my tweet earlier today, could potentially be Tennessee. Which not going to lie, scares the living daylights out of me; but i guess, if this girl I'm seeing turns out to be the one I'm meant to be with, and that's where she end's up going, then eventually I'll follow! however, I need to graduate, and then decided that. But, like you said, I have to take that chance and see! If I don't I'll never know!
    I am very glad I found The Graduates Guide, and "decided" to read it! :)

  2. I really appreciate that. And you're on the right path. It's a sign! Good luck.