An international student from Mexico, Erick was initially accepted to the School of Undergraduate Studies instead of his first choice—Radio, Television, Film (RTF). As a UGS student, Erick completed core coursework, got involved with RTF-related activities, and worked with his advisor, Rose Mastrangelo, to achieve his goal of getting into the RTF program. After spending three semesters as a UGS student, Erick transferred to RTF and graduated on time.
“When I found out I was accepted to UGS, I didn’t really know how it worked. But I just realized, ok, I need to work harder to get into what I want.”
Finding a Major
I was always RTF—that was always what I really wanted. In high school I was asked to make a commercial, and I loved it. I got really good grades for that commercial and everybody loved it, so I started making videos, and that’s when I was like, yep, this is what I want to do. When I found out I was accepted to UGS, I didn’t really know how it worked. But I just realized, ok, I need to work harder to get into what I want.
My second semester wasn’t great, and I didn’t get into RTF that semester. And my first semester, I missed the deadline and didn’t apply. It was tough to realize that I still wasn’t in RTF, even though I was involved in so many things related to it. And it was sad to see all of my friends who were already RTF when I was trying to get in and wasn’t getting in. My parents kept asking me, are you in? And I’d be like, not this semester, not yet, but then I got in my third semester.
Strategic Advising Support
I will forever say that Rose Mastrangelo is the most amazing person, and I’m so happy she was my advisor, because, Rose is a friend. When she was my advisor, I would just walk in out of the blue to see how she was doing and tell her how I was doing. And that was never the case with my new advisor. Even when Rose stopped being my advisor, I would still email her sometimes to ask questions because she always—just very very very there for us.
Being an RTF Major
Coming from Mexico, I came with a really low budget, and I’d never really had a lot of money. So the fact that I’m shooting a film that is about a little over $2,500 right now—that’s never something I really imagined happening. It’s still amazing to me that I’m 22 and I’m making a film that’s $2,500.
When I started being a member of the University Filmmakers Alliance (UFA), I never pictured I would end up being the president. So that was pretty amazing.
I split myself into three: If I’m not in classes, I’m at work, and if I’m not at work or in classes, I’m planning something film-related to do. Especially in the last year, being president of UFA, school, work, president, and school work. It’s been fun—stressful—but pretty awesome.
Post Graduation Plans
I’m applying to different internships. I’m planning on keeping my job at the computer store in the FAC to pay the bills while I’m doing internships. That way I can pay the bills and get experience.
Advice for UGS Students
If you already know what you want to do, but didn’t get in, make sure you spend your first year working on as many projects as you can to build a resume. There’s nothing worse than a student who wants to get into a department who’s not doing anything about it. You’re not going to get in just because of your grades. You need to show them that you’re doing things on the side that have to do with the program you’re interested in.
If you don’t know what you want to do, I’d say get involved with as many organizations or groups so you can to get an idea of what you might want. Sometimes classes are not the best way to decide what you want. It’s better to hang around people who already know what they want and can give you an idea. Definitely don’t just sit around. You’re never going to decide what you want to do if you’re just sitting around taking classes and then going home and watching TV.