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Everyone Has Stories to Tell


Jasmine with participants of the Inspiration Project

I am thinking about what really defines me. International student? World Traveler? A potential journalist? A rising senior who is preparing herself to enter the job market?  I see myself as a story collector. One day, I want to write down all the interesting life stories that I collect from the people around me.

It is my fifth year in the States. Born in China, I came to the US by myself when I was 16 without any family connection here in the States. It was through an exchange program when I stayed with a Michigan host family. The year of exchange allowed me to continue ballet and explore all my interests. It is lucky to have a supportive headquarter in a foreign country over these years. In the following year, I finished my high school and started to pursue my undergrad in political science and economics at University of Rochester.

Being in a university is a complete different experience, especially when you are an international student. Studying in politics as a foreigner leads to a greater concern of entering job market after graduation. I first interned in local non-profits organizations, and continued my sophomore internship in the European Parliament.

During my internship in parliament, I got to meet lots of travelers, political figures, and enthusiastic individuals who are passionately fighting for the causes in their hearts. It is never about a place that make you feel different, but it is the people there who make you think and grow. I question myself what is the real cause that I want to fight for. During the spring semester of my junior year, I was the documentary producer of a voluntary program of Department of English and CP Rochester. The documentary recorded the voluntary program and followed the disable adults closely throughout the program. I found the most appealing and connected aspect of me with them, which was to discover and listen to their stories. By shooting and editing myself along production, I realize my capability of putting my heart into documentary and storytelling. I want to provide individuals with a platform to tell their stories by using documentary or simply by writing down their stories.

Interning in Brave New Films gives me an opportunity to learn how a documentary come together to achieve a greater influence. It is a place to inspire self-exploration of what you can do and what you can contribute to the organization. During the 12-week internship, I participated in research, pre-production and helped out at the educator program. By researching on the most current production, I see the effort that putting into pre-production, where the insightful and comprehensive research build a solid foundation for the success of production. The newly established program--- Brave New Educators-- advocates to provide free resources for schools, colleges and social organization to gain a cohesive understanding on political issues. It is a passionate group of individuals working toward a same goal. At the same time, Brave New Films has individuals who are also chasing their dreams and fighting for their own passion. These are all inspirations for a story collector.

After the summer, I will be heading back to Rochester, NY to finish my senior year. Journalism and communication are the two potential fields that I will work in. California is one of the stops along my journey and Brave New Films makes me braver along my journey with stories collecting.

Let’s make all the stories sound!

Jasmine Cen is a student at the University of Rochester in New York and an up and coming documentary film maker. To learn more about Jasmine, you can visit her website: http://www.cstorycollector.com/.