It took me about two years to figure out what I wanted to study. I declared my Major: Cinema and Television Arts. Option? Screenwriting. I loved movies and I knew I wanted to make them, so what better place than one of the best places in the nation to learn?
What I learned early on is how hard this industry can be. Any dream of ever winning an Oscar flew out the window. I’m the most extraordinary pessimist, so I don’t see myself making that acceptance speech and thanking everyone on stage. The thing is, I have so many people to thank for how far I’ve come.
Firstly, I’d like to thank my parents. There was and is still no shadow of a doubt in their minds that I will succeed in whatever I choose to do. I have had their support through and through, and I will never forget the importance of that. I’d like to thank my brothers for always pushing me in the right direction and being the role models I needed them to be.
I’d like to thank Professor Scott Sturgeon. On the first day of class, he asked us all how much writing we had done. I hadn’t done any and felt like I finally graduated from the kiddie table, but I bit off more than I could chew. During the break in class, he encouraged me to press forward and give it my all. If it weren’t for him, I would not be a writer.
I’d like to thank Professor John Stahl. If you’ve never met John, I feel bad for you because he is truly the nicest man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting throughout my university career. He has been my main advisor throughout my college experience and I would not have been able to graduate without him.
Next, I’d like to thank Professor Michael Bucklin. Thursday night classes with him were by far my favorite, and I miss talking to him about “The Office” as much as we would. Mike made me feel like what I had to say and what stories I had to tell mattered. When someone gives you that gift, you can never forget what they’ve given you, and I’ll always be grateful.
Finally, I’d like to thank Professor Amanda Harrison, my Pop Culture Professor. I happened to stumble upon this minor by accident, and it’s the best accident I could have had. I have learned so much about the way society works and I have gained so much confidence in my own ideals because of the voice she allows her students to have. It is because of her that I am able to contribute to The Sundial and feel like my contribution matters.
I used to be afraid of graduating. I wasn’t sure what to expect. What does the future hold for Luke Natali? I’ll have to get back to you on that one. What I know is that CSUN has prepared me for the next step.
I’ve made many friends, some becoming like family (hi Grace!). I made the Dean’s List. I got to see my name in the school paper. I learned that you have to attack life like you’re grabbing a bull by the horns, and I’m okay with that. Who better to fight the bull than a Matador?
CSUN made me who I am. CSUN made me happy. So, to you, my fellow Matadors: Thank you, good night. I hope you’re happy.