Hey again,

I want to begin by wishing each of you a Happy New Year!!  In addition, I want to thank each of you for taking time out of your busy lives to visit the Digital Learning website here at Davidson College!  Now on to part two of my blog post (Part 1).

During the early summer of 2013, I had accepted a job offer from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem, NC.  During my time with UNCSA, I worked in various positions within the Department of Student Affairs (High School Residence Life, College Residence Life, Associate Director for Student Conduct).  In these positions, I spent time advising, mentoring, teaching, and working with high school and college students, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

I was very happy to be a part of a community of constant creativity. There were always filmmakers and actors working on their films, continuous film screenings, a number of dance and drama rehearsals, recitals, and shows, visual artists showcasing their most recent work, fantastic music and opera, among so many other forms of creativity. Then, after a few years, I realized that I was not exactly thrilled by the amount of administrative work that came with the associate director position, so I decided to take the advice that I had been giving students for years, which is essentially to do whatever one must to find meaning in their lives and for me that was to transition into the world of filmmaking.

To make a long story not quite so long, I ended up leaving my full-time position at UNCSA in August of 2016 to begin a 3-year journey toward a terminal Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Filmmaking at Wake Forest University (WFU). (I still worked part time at UNCSA through 2017).  In doing so, I had to leave behind a position that was paying my bills all while accruing more student loan debt, but I am finally doing the creative work I truly enjoy, so I would like to think the financial debt is worth the creative and scholarly gain as well as the personal and professional growth. 

Life is simply a number of transitions, from very short to extremely long, all beginning, overlapping, and ending continuously.

During my final year at WFU, I began to apply to a number of positions, but I was unsure of whether I wanted to work in higher education with a focus on filmmaking or in the film industry.  I applied for a few visiting and assistant professor positions to teach cinema and film as well as a few positions in the industry. Then a position at Davidson College was brought to my attention, and I was interested immediately. The position (Digital Media Specialist) was a mixture of working with college students (advising, mentoring, and teaching) within the context of digital learning and digital media (filmmaking, podcasting, and other media)β€” a perfect combination of my past experiences in higher education and my desire to explore my artistic and creative side more often in my personal and professional life.  So I applied and I was fortunate enough to get the job. 

Now, after nearly seven months in the position, I couldn’t be happier with my job at this point in my life. During my time here, I have been involved in many interesting and creative digital media projects all while also putting the finishing touches on a feature length documentary film.  As the spring semester begins, I look forward to working with faculty and a countless number of students as they create all types of digital media content. I also plan to begin writing a treatment for my next personal film project.

I realize this blog post was supposed to be about my transition from full-time graduate student and emerging filmmaker to full-time Digital Media Specialist at Davidson College, but I suppose it’s now more about transition in general. Life is simply a number of transitions, from very short to extremely long, all beginning, overlapping, and ending continuously. Some transitions seem to be unceremonious and uninteresting while other transitions seem to be exhilarating and transformational, but, regardless of type, all transitions shape who we are to some degree, they guide us as we search for our own personal and professional meaning on this planet, and they cause dissonance which challenges us to reflect on our mistakes and our biases and, hopefully, grow into better humans.  

Thanks again for taking the time to visit our website!  

Until next time,
Thomas

thomasespy.net
@thomasespy

Categories: Blog

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