Student Speaker - Paige Girard, BA Film & Media Studies


My college career has been rather long and complicated compared to the straightforward path most students take.  I like to joke that I’ve taken the “scenic route” through school, and there’s actually a lot of truth to that.  About two months before beginning my college career at Kansas State University, I decided that I wanted to go to school for veterinary medicine, instead of for digital media.  So, I dedicated three years of undergraduate work focusing on science and pre-vet classes, telling myself that I’d make my love for animals my career and keep filmmaking as a hobby.  However, after one year in vet school at K-State, I realized my heart just wasn’t in my studies.  I never grew up wanting to be a doctor; I simply pursued it because I knew I could do it, not because I wanted to.  So a little over two years ago, I made one of the biggest decisions I’ve yet had to make.  Although many people probably thought I was a little crazy to be giving up such a coveted spot in vet school, everyone was extremely supportive and understood that I needed to (finally) pursue my passions.  So I made the decision to not return to vet school but to transfer here to The University of Kansas to (finally!) pursue my degree in Film and Media. 


If my college experience has taught me anything, it’s that pursuing one’s true passions is of utmost importance.  If my passion had been moneymaking, I doubt I’d be standing her today.  Although to be paid millions to do what I love would be ideal, it’s not something my happiness depends on.  I didn’t pursue this degree to become rich and famous; I pursued it because I’m passionate about filmmaking and have been for many, many years.  If I can find a career that allows me to be a filmmaker, then that would be fantastic.  However, if I have to work other jobs and only be an artist part time, then so be it.  The important thing is that I stopped planning my life and my future based on the expectations of others.  Instead, I began to live and decide for myself, pursuing things that contribute to my creativity and happiness.

Having only been at KU for two years, I’m extremely honored to have been chosen by the film faculty and my peers to speak tonight.  I may have been born and raised a Wildcat, but KU will forever hold a place of importance in my heart.  Not one day have I felt out of place or unwelcomed, even if I accidently happened to wear a K-State t-shirt out my door.  The campus, my classes, my instructors, and my peers have made my two years here unbelievable.  Although I may still cheer for K-State athletics, I would absolutely recommend this school, particularly its art programs, to any student struggling to find a college full of school spirit and impassioned academics and artists.