“All I wanted to do was to go to UCLA. So I looked around, and saw that SMC has the highest transfer rate and this great reputation. So I just thought, ‘Why not?’ ”
“I was actually able to set up an internship through SMC, and for a semester I was working in the American office of Madhouse, one of the biggest animation companies in Japan,” recounts Nicholas Zabaly. “Ultimately I want to be a writer in film and TV; possibly in Japan, but maybe I’ll take the more traditional route of working in LA.” But, as Louis Pasteur famously stated, ‘Chance favors the prepared mind.’ And if opportunity presents itself across the Pacific, Nicholas plans on being able to take full advantage of it.
“I’ve managed to take some really excellent classes in Japanese at SMC, and they’ve really helped me to feel prepared, if I do end up in Japan.” But it’s film, not language, that has captivated the heart of this aspiring young writer. And he reports that one of his professors in the department has become a near mentor to him in his quest. “Most of my film classes have been with Professor Kanin, and he’s really been wonderful. Almost unbelievable,” says Nicholas. “He has given me such great insight into all the preparation I need to do to study this subject. He combines all the knowledge and history of film, and always has tons of notes prepared. Plus,” he adds, “he always has these engaging discussions with his students. So by the time you’re done with his class, you not only feel prepared to go on to the next level, you also feel really prepared to go out there and do it yourself, on your own terms.”
Nicholas says, unequivocally, that talking to the people in Counseling at SMC pays huge dividends. “Over my three years here, I’ve gone to Counseling every other semester, just to try to figure out where I was. Things evolve as you go,” says Nicholas. “The first time, I took care of my General Education classes. The second time, it was about film. The third time, it was about learning Japanese. Go to Counseling. Go to class. Be committed. And then SMC will be the best educational experience you could ever want.”