I’m continually surprised by how much riding a singlespeed mountain bike has made me a better person. Sure, there’s the formidable increase in the size and strength of my leg and butt muscles since I started singlespeeding last October, but I’m talking about something deeper (and arguably more significant).
On a singlespeed, there is no downshifting to make it up a hill–you must instead build up speed before the crux of the climb in order to make it to the top. On a long climb, you have to meter your energy and power output at a minute level, to preserve as much momentum as you can, and rest anytime you’re able, so that you’re always ready to explode with power when the going gets tough. (Really some great life lessons in there, right?)
This post is not about singlespeeding, however. It’s about the summer screenwriting workshop I applied for through UCLA.
You may recall that over the winter, I received the news that I’d been rejected from Temple University’s PhD program in Mass Media and Communication. After some reflection, my biggest disappointment was that I wouldn’t be able to take an elective screenwriting class in the Fall. (I know….really? Like shouldn’t I have been crying my eyes out about not being to conduct a staggering amount of research about media and interpersonal communication issues?) Sounds like I need to take a screenwriting course, right?
This is where the singlespeed comes back in. Just like I’m trained to preserve forward momentum at any cost on the trail, I wasted no time, once my teaching was done for the summer, to find a summer screenwriting course and sign up. The UCLA program is a 10-week online, non-credit, master’s-level course for people like me, who already have a degree but want to explore the craft of screenwriting. I had to submit a statement of purpose, a writing sample, and my transcript.
The beginning of my 1-page statement of purpose? “Last autumn, I applied to the PhD program in Communication at Temple University and was rejected. Strangely, I was not particularly upset; in fact, the only real disappointment I felt was not being able to take a screenwriting class as an elective in the program. This realization made me reconsider my goals, and has led me to your door.”
Then I talk about my writing experience and what I want out of the program, etc. I seriously hope UCLA doesn’t write me off after reading the first sentence. I had to go for a dramatic opening, though…after all, it’s a screenwriting course! Nobody wants a boring story.
So take a lesson from my singlespeed: use your forward momentum to pounce on something you want to do, right now.