Jakob Kolness

My Answer To The Question, 'So, What Are You Doing After College?'

If you answered “I don’t know yet," we have a lot in common

First question: Where do you go to school?

Second question: What’s your major?

Third question: So, what are you doing after college?

If you answered, “I don’t know yet” to any of these questions, we have a lot in common. Most likely, somebody has already asked you one — if not all three — of these questions, and if you were able to give a clear and assured answer to each one and get a “Congratulations!” or a “Good luck to you!” back, then you are my idol.

You know what they say to those considering a career in the arts? Don’t. You’ll struggle to find work, you’ll be wasting your time, and there are better, more reliable jobs within arm’s reach. Take the easy path — it’s better. Go into business. Go into teaching. Go into anything, just don’t go into the arts. You won’t make it in life. Half of the people that tell you this are just concerned about you. The other half are in your head.

I’m a film major. When people ask me what my major is and I tell them, they seem excited. Throughout my life when people find out about my interests in film, they are easily impressed. “When you go out to Hollywood and become a famous filmmaker, are you going to remember me?” It’s an innocent question. I just smile and say, “Of course!” But moving away to California isn't in my plans just yet. I have graduating, working to pay my rent, and spending time with family and friends on my agenda. The rest will come in time.

Many people admire that I major in film production. I admire it as well, but most graduating college students are doing something that I’m not: taking up a minor. It seems like that’s a pretty obvious thing to do, right? In case one career fails, you have a backup. I held off on taking up a minor for so long, however, that not only did I lose interest in doing so, but I also realized that if I were to take up a minor it’d mean another year or more of school. Both sides were intimidating.

I had a minor in advertising picked out, but was I really that interested in advertising? Did I want to pay for another year of schooling for something that I wasn’t passionate about? I had to be honest with myself: I have to do what I want to do with my life, not what the world tells me. With that comes responsibility: Will I begin to save up money? Will I actively go out and make something out of myself? Will I take any opportunity I can that comes my way? If so, then I will be successful.

I know — it sounds like a corny self-help message: “Be the best you you can be!” But seriously, people, it’s true. Just know what you want and go find it, and the rest will work itself out. You will never know if you don’t try. I’m still young, so I have my whole life ahead of me to still try, right? Almost. Opportunities may not come my way for a long time, but as long as I’m persistent about it, anything’s possible — even if it happens when I’m 80.

As much as I think that I haven’t made any big spontaneous leaps in my life, I really have. Going to college was one of them. Moving into a house after my junior year of college was another. Last summer, my roommate and I saved up money, hopped on a plane to Anaheim, California, and went to Disneyland and VidCon 2015, simply because we said we wanted to. No parents, no supervision, little to no knowledge of the City of Angels, but we made it back in one piece and it was the best trip I’d ever been on. All we had to do was tell ourselves that we wanted to go.

Jakob Kolness

Me, at Disneyland with my roommate.

The intimation of graduation approaches, and I can’t look at it like I’m being forced into adulthood. I have to look at it as a chance to truly make something of myself. I’m guessing by now some of you are wondering what exactly a film production major entails; particularly, what my emphasis is. What do I want to be when I grow up? I want to direct and write, mostly the latter. But then why did I spend four years in college as a film production major if all I wanted to do was write? Can’t I just do that for free on my own time?

I wanted to have the experience. I’ve loved learning about movies and filmmaking since I was a kid. I love watching how films are made, and getting to be a part of that action has been a dream. My senior crew and I just finished photography on our final capstone project, and it was wild to watch as what was once written on a page is now brought to life.

I have so many other crazy plans scattered about my life agenda. I love creating online content and would love to continue contributing new videos to my few current YouTube channels. I love theater and it’s a goal of mine to write a stage show or musical. I love reading and I would love to write a novel of some sort. I like creating things, I like using my imagination, and I like to be myself.

And to those who are in college or haven’t even graduated high school yet are still unsure of their lives, it’ll come. Whether it takes you 50 careers or just one, the perfect one will come your way. If you love teaching math, be a math teacher. If you love art and comics, be a graphic novel illustrator. Or don’t. Life isn’t trying to stop you. Listen to Shia LaBeouf, and “Just do it! Make your dreams come true!

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