I have the utmost respect for Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama. Their humanity and sacrifice have offered sage direction for the human race. Nevertheless, the lion’s share of progressive change resides with the parents, irrespective of their social status. I believe this wholeheartedly as I speak from my personal experience. My fortunate life has been a direct result of my parents’ love, support, and open-mindedness. In other words, they impassioned me to write my novella.
I initially attended USC to study cinema — filmmaking in particular. During that time, I also developed a fervent obsession for the live performance, specifically monologues. I was spellbound by the artistry of Whoopi Goldberg and the great George Carlin. Their humorous wit tantalized my funny bone, while their keen observations and perceptive outlook challenged my conscientious mind.
Before long, I informed my parents that I wanted to do both, be a filmmaker and a provocative monologist. They supported my aspirations, but also advised me to prepare a back-up plan. I accepted their suggestion and switched my major to communications, a broad and general discipline that could secure me a job in corporate America, just in case my artistic pursuits didn’t come to fruition; and hence, the plan was set. I focused on getting my degree — but something happened in my senior year.
I was intrigued by the likes of Edward Albee, the brilliant playwright of the seminal stage play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Mr. Albee had dropped out of college to discover his own path, along with a handful of others, including Steve Jobs, Woody Allen, and John Mackey, the founder of Whole Foods. I admired their courage to think outside the box.
At that point, a back-up plan didn’t appeal to my spirit. I couldn’t settle for less and compromise my essence. The answer was obvious, and soon enough, I departed the university without my degree. I would follow my heart, notwithstanding the criticism. Practically everyone I knew maligned my decision…except for my parents. They encouraged me to find my own identity. In fact, they financed my film shorts and theatre performances, acting as my benefactors.
By the same token, they cautioned me of the fated struggle that would entail my crusade. And they were right. For the next decade, I encountered numerous scenarios that undermined my confidence. I cried various times because of frustration. I even contemplated the idea of quitting when the future appeared so bleak and dire, but my parents persuaded me to stand up and fight.
They believed in my art, the substance of my message. In spite of the adversity that I underwent, it was imperative to them that I continued to strive because these experiences were critical parts of my education. My parents understood that education was a life-long endeavor, which was why they allowed me to drop out of college. They intrinsically knew that knowledge and wisdom transcended the university.
For me, the aim is to contribute; do my part to improve society. Hence, my novella, College Dropout, is a reflection of my personal journey, which will hopefully inspire and expedite change. The world is definitely a better place to live in, but the urgency continues as pain and suffering remain constant for many.