Monday, December 08, 2003

ok the below I wrote today for a little reflection for my 2001 college alumnae 'journal' to let others know what I'm up to.

Name: Amanda J. Burns
Major: Mass Communication
Current city of residence: San Rafael, California
Email address:

What I did after I graduated from Saint Mary’s:
After graduation, I drove cross-country back to CA with Kate (Middlemas) Kessler. Once I made it back home, the job hunt began. I had no idea where I wanted to be or what I really wanted to do. The one thing I did know was I wanted to get out of my small hometown. While searching for my dream job, I worked as a computer lab tech at my old elementary school. I sent tons of resumes out to pretty much all the entertainment companies in CA and NY. It wasn’t until I got a call back from Lucasfilm Ltd. for an interview. My scheduled date for the interview, September 11, 2001. Yep, the very day the world changed. We all know what happened and so my interview was pushed back a day, Sept. 12, my 22nd birthday. It must have been a good birthday, because I got the job. I tell myself, some things happen for a reason…

What I am currently doing:
Currently I work at Lucas Licensing as a product development assistant for Star Wars toys and other products. I love my job and I can’t complain, hey, I work at Skywalker Ranch. Ok I can, but the positives (benefits, experience, perks) out weigh the negatives (lower salary compared to other entertainment companies). What started out as a one-year project job, for just Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, has now turned into a permanent job as of April of this year. My job is somewhat hard to explain. We don’t actually make any of the toys or other products, we have contracts that license out the Star Wars brand with companies and they come up with the ideas for product and send them to us for our approval. We are the ones that get to say yes or no to their ideas and correct anything to make sure the world of Star Wars continuity stays right.

Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life:
‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ That is the question my 20-year-old sister, who is trying to figure out what she wants to do, just asked me a few weeks ago. And I told her I honestly didn’t know. I know I have a really cool job and it is probably they best first job I could have ever gotten. But I never knew the world of licensing existed while in school. Now every time I go to the store, I look at products differently. I now think, I wonder how many revisions it went through or was this really what they wanted the final product to be. As much as SMC prepared me for the real world, I’m still trying to get used to it. (I sometimes miss the comfort and safety net) And at 24, I figure I’m still young and I still have a while to figure it all out. I know I’m going to see my job through 2005 with the final Star Wars movie coming out and after that, some of the possible directions I might take – other aspects of the entertainment world, computer graphics, CIA/FBI/Military, Advertising, Marketing, go to Grad school, start my own business or stay where I am. Who knows, the possibilities are endless and I’m keeping all doors open. My motto remains: Make life fun!

What surprises me most about my life now:
Well not much, I knew we all had to grow up sometime. Maybe I was naïve, when I first left the SMC campus, and thought nothing had to change. But change happens. Sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad, but you just have to take it all one day at a time. When I moved to northern California for my job, I left the confines of my home, parents and siblings, something I thought would be no big deal. Heck I was away from them for 4 years while at school. It took some getting used to being away from home this time. What wasn’t so much of a surprise to me is that I still keep in contact with friends I met at SMC and ND. We all might be thousands of miles away, and our lives have taken us on opposite paths, but I always know they are out there to talk to. Let’s see, I’ve moved out on my own, I’ve got a job, bought myself a new car, paying off college loans and single, not a surprise. If I had to name the surprises, it would be friends that have gotten married and had kids, how hard it is to get a date with a decent guy, being the youngest of the group at work, and saved enough for a 2 week trip to Europe.

How is life different from what you expected:
I’m not sure what I expected life to be after graduation. I knew things weren’t going to be all that easy, with the events of Sept. 11 and the low job market. Sometimes I wonder what would life be like if none of the sequence of events happened, would I have gotten my job? What path would I have taken? There are those out their fighting for the freedoms of nations who don’t have what we have. Even now, I wonder do I make a big of a difference in life? It maybe the side effects of the fantasy world I work in, but if what small part I do in making toys and other products puts a smile on someone’s face, then it is worth it. To know that for one moment someone can stop thinking about the hardships in their life to smile and think to him/herself everything will be ok, then I know I made a difference.

To sum up:
Life has turned out ok! I wouldn’t change any of it. The hard times have given me lessons learned. The good times have brought me memories never to forget. I’ve gotten to travel to new places, meet new people and do things that I would have never been able to do, if I had taken another path. There is a quote to sum it all up for me from the TV show JAG:
M: In one-way or another, we're all searching for something.
H: Oh, yeah? What are you searching for?
M: What every woman wants...a great career, a good man, and comfortable shoes-lots and lots of them.


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