How I Learned to Not Limit My Potential

Courtesy of Kimberly Hoyos
Welcome to the inaugural class of '29. We've selected 29 graduating college seniors, entering the "real" world in 2018, to write about the state of their lives. What are their hopes, dreams, fears, stressors, failures, and successes as they leave school behind? We will be releasing new entries on a daily basis. If you would like yours to be considered, please email classof29@refinery29.com.
I am a filmmaker. But I also do photography, social media work, speaking engagements, freelance writing, community event organizing and operate an editorial site for women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. Over four years in college, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies, a minor in Gender and Media and a certificate in Digital Filmmaking. I do a lot of different things that don’t traditionally fit under the umbrella of journalism. I’m a creative person with a multi-hyphenated slew of titles. And that’s okay.
Advertisement
Very early on in my college career I saw I had a lot of interests that couldn’t be contained in a classroom. I wanted to photograph bands, organize concerts and put on comedy shows for the student body. I wanted be part of feminist art communities just as much as I wanted to learn how to write for media through my classes. My journey to being a multi-hyphenated creative was one that took time and a lot of mental untangling of what I believed success was and what others thought of me.
Illustrated by Paola DeLucca
During my undergrad career, I held eight media internships that ranged from television to fashion to women’s leadership. I worked freelance video gigs for Spotify, Nike and Verizon. I’ve spoken at events for Mozilla, Girls Who Code, Urban Outfitters, BookCon, and more. But as my career was flourishing, I found myself struggling internally.
I was conditioned to think I was a bad filmmaker because I was exploring other opportunities as well. I also knew that many of my journalism or film classmates didn’t quite understand what I was doing. To them, I was jumping around fields. I would hear secondhand gossip about me because of the work I was doing. Some peers criticized me behind my back for not being “a real filmmaker.” Others claimed I was vain and attention hungry. I’ve really heard it all.
But the truth is, I’ve realized I’m not able to fit who I am or what I do in a few quick words. Far too often, creatives, especially women, are asked to make their careers smaller, more digestible. Female artists are already criticized for their visions and held to higher standards than their male counterparts. But by opening myself up to explore what I love, I've been able to grow as a person and develop skills that still translate to the film industry. Growth is essential for all of us, especially students. But because time and time again we are asked to label ourselves, growth can feel limited to a specific path. The pressure to stick to one lane, one topic, one career path is understandable. As humans we work to categorize everything we encounter in order to understand the world around us. From crafting concise Instagram bios, introducing ourselves professionally, to choosing a major, we are asked to label ourselves in order to be understood. It’s absolutely normal and an instant, subconscious process. But I have come to believe it can limit us and ruin creative potential.
Advertisement
I used to think I couldn’t have the freedom to explore a nonlinear career path and still be happy. But I am so happy. My graduation has prompted me to reflect a lot on my life. I’ve discovered that though I took opportunities out of passion versus pursuing a calculated career plan, I’ve built a foundation for a post-grad life I am excited to dive into. I have a vision of end goals that I’ll work towards, like being an independent film director and owning my own production company.
But I know that as long as I continue to take opportunities for growth and creativity, I’ll continue defining what my career is meant to be, no matter how many hyphens it takes.
Kim Hoyos is a filmmaker and recent graduate passionate about creating inclusion in the film industry. She’s currently continuing to expand her website and LLC, The Light Leaks while pursuing a fulltime job in media.

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series