It has been well over a year since I reported my intention on reentering school in the Fall of 2014. With the first year under my belt, I am happy to report that I survived the Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Cinema Studies program!
And there’s more to come.
This certificate program, consisting of screenwriting, production and history classes, serves as a jumping-off point to a two-year declarative major. Graduates of the certificate program can move on to Directing, Editing, Cinematography or Screenwriting in order to earn an associate degree in their chosen field.
A degree in any of these fields is potentially very helpful to the graduate, and not just in the Hollywood La-La Land sense. There is a resurgence of independent film making in the Twin Cities, and nearly 40 commercial production companies in the metro area. Larger companies headquartered here, such as Target, 3M and Best Buy, are always in need of in-house video production and commercial work. A well-trained director, editor or writer could do well in Minnesota, and become a valuable commodity.
Are you a working adult thinking of going back to college?
I would encourage you to ask program heads, advisers and even previous graduates in your chosen program to weigh the potential workload before registering, especially if you are already working full-time.
If you have previous education or work experience, you may be able to waive certain prerequisite or general education classes by transferring credits or receiving credit for prior learning. If you need a leg-up on the general education courses, Adult Basic Education classes (ABE) can help put you on the right track to furthering your knowledge and skills.
Don’t let the cost of college scare you. Most schools offer financial aid and other options that you might not know about. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement or other ways to help employees pay for school.
Most of my classes were in the evening, which fortunately are offered at MCTC. My job allowed me to adjust my schedule in order to take 11 credits total this fall. That’s almost a full-time class schedule! There might be something wrong with me, but based on my previous experience, I think I can handle it.
Despite my apparent insanity, returning to school has been extremely rewarding so far. The professors have been top-notch and very generous in their guidance. They’ve afforded me the opportunity to grow and gain confidence in my camera skills and storytelling. I’ve created projects that I wouldn’t have thought possible before. I could apply these skills in my current position by recording “how-to” videos and writing for multiple platforms in the office. Otherwise, I’m indulging my creative side by doing something I’ve wanted to do.
There’s no reason for me to stop now. It may take me a little longer to complete my studies than a traditional student, but that’s all right by me. I say if you have the opportunity to go back to school — whether for your current vocation or otherwise — do it. I wish you the same fulfillment that I’ve experienced.
You’ve got nothing to lose!