By Katherine Grayson
I knew I had made the right decision to transfer to UC Santa Barbara, when I received an email from my screenwriting professor at the end of first quarter. She told me I should send my pilot episode to production companies because I had developed a “potential hit series.” I had transferred here as a film a media major, spurred only by an interest in the industry and countless hours of binge watching. The decision came after a string of illnesses forced me to take a gap year and I realized that I had been ignoring my strengths and pressuring myself into academic tracks I didn’t enjoy during my first two years of college.
I am one of dozens of students who have experienced success transferring into UCSB, due in no small part to the UC system’s Junior Transfer Program. The UC’s have historically been very accepting and supportive of transfer students, especially those coming from California community colleges who are guaranteed admittance to one of the UC campuses after two years.
According to its 2017-2018 Campus Profile, UCSB admitted 9,378 transfer students and 2,206 enrolled that year, which is more than half the size of the current freshman class. With the help of transfer-specific advisors in each major and the guidance of the Transfer Student Center, students feel supported and encouraged to succeed.
When I began in the fall of 2017, I worried I wouldn't be able to graduate in two years. I brought my concerns to Joe Palladino, the Film and Media academic advisor, and we created a two-year plan to ensure I would graduate on schedule. When I realized I wasn’t getting credit for some of the classes from my old school, the transfer center helped me through the appeals process.
With my initial worries resolved, I was able to immerse myself in the Film and Media major and have been impressed with the program. Most of my professors have professional experience in the film industry. My screenwriting professor, Allison Anders, is an award-winning screenwriter and an Emmy award-winning film director with TV directing credits on shows such as Sex and the City, Orange Is The New Black, and Riverdale.
My classes are all held in state-of-the art facilities that house animation studios, a green screen sound stage, and sound and editing studios. The Carsey-Wolf Center hosts the Script to Screen Series which screens famous films in the exquisite Pollock Theater followed by Q&A sessions with a writer, director, producer, or actor associated with the film. In the last six months, I have seen Get Out with producer-director-screenwriter Jordan Peele, She’s the Man with screenwriters Karen McCullah and Kristen Smith, and I, Tonya with producer and screenwriter Steven Rogers.
Being part of the Film and Media program has exceeded my expectations. Each time a professor becomes a mentor or I make a self-discovery, such as my talent for screenwriting, my decision to transfer and pursue my passion is reaffirmed. As of now, my pilot episode still lies dormant in the privacy of my hard drive. Who knows what may happen? Maybe it will launch my career, or maybe I’ll leave it behind and triumph in a different sphere altogether. All I know for sure is that I am finally happy and healthy. And at this point in my life, that’s the biggest success I could ask for.
Katherine Grayson is a UC Santa Barbara Junior majoring in Film and Media Studies.