Surfs up and Deciding Majors

Camden Benesh
5 min readJan 11


Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash

Surfs Up and deciding majors are two things that I didn’t think have any correlation but here I am writing about them. The movie is very much about the main character finding his people and a sense of belonging. A place where he can surf, be himself, and accomplish his goals. As a college student, I feel very much the same way. But who said finding your path or people is easy? I think it’s something college students probably think about a little too much. Rightfully so of course, that’s sort of the point of college right? So over the break, I had a chance to relax, and what is a better way than to watch movies?

From Moneyball to Ford vs Ferrari. Then when Christmas came around, I saw to cult-classic, Elf. Then, eventually, I made it to one of my favorites growing up, Surf’s Up. After re-watching all these movies, I felt the waves of nostalgia wash over me, leaving me to reflect and smile.

By taking various English and writing classes, I gained a new appreciation and skills to better understand a text or movie in this case. It sort of re-affirmed me that right now, while it may be chaotic and unclear at times, I actually feel good where I’m at. I love writing, reading, storytelling, and animation, the list can go on for quite a bit. I’m able to identify my interests more clearly now but this wasn’t exactly always the case when deciding on a major to pick.

“What’s something you loved doing as a kid?”

“What do you find yourself getting lost in?”

“Notice patterns of interest and write them down.”

Rewatching the movie highlighted the aspects of creative writing and storytelling that weren’t always so clear to me.

In middle school and high school, I was introduced to a variety of books and classes that were very fun to take. I loved reading and writing so much but in a way, I think after graduating, it was sort of unclear for a little bit. I never stopped reading even when I was in community college I read and became even more invested in the world of storytelling and specifically the genre of sci-fi. But it wasn’t exactly easy to notice my patterns of occurring interest since at the time I wasn’t thinking too far ahead or didn’t care that much. I was deadset on pursuing art and illustration but I really think while I still enjoy that, it was the power of the storytelling in which the drawings were used in 2d-animation or animation in general that I was actually into.

Picking a major was hard because it sort of takes a little bit. But everyone is different, some people know what they want to do straight out of high school but for others, the experience can feel like a hero’s journey.

After graduating high school I went to community college for two years to get my associate's degree. I was fond of the experience, it was through taking various classes like volleyball, creative writing, architecture, entrepreneurship, public speaking, and other classes that I learned more about myself and what I liked. But it was really that creative writing class and experience in the following months before the beginning of the pandemic which led me to pursue creative writing. I noticed I centered my projects around the themes of what I was interested in. For public speaking, I gave a presentation on the power of music in movies and t.v shows. And through that, while I was nervous, the passion fueled me to break that nervousness and talk about what I liked.

My initial plan was to transfer into a graphic design program because I had difficulty choosing creative writing, I met a barrier due to a lack of preparedness and overall disinterest in fonts. So rather than start the beginning as a freshman I went into my junior year with my eyes set on creative writing. And I kind of haven’t looked back honestly.

Writing stories, giving critiques, and receiving feedback, I loved it all. Analyzing text, visualizing key moments in the story, building the world, and revising, I thoroughly enjoyed it all. This doesn’t mean I gave up art, drawing is something I still do quite often but I think I’ve come to recognize it never really comes that easy and while writing doesn’t necessarily always come easier, I found myself enjoying the process as a whole and a greater sense of fulfillment and purpose. I was sort of reminded of this when I would lose myself when writing critique letters for the workshop. It was hard to stop writing once I started haha.

It was part of the reason I didn’t do a double take when deciding to work my ass off to study interdisciplinary creative writing abroad. It just felt natural to go and pursue something I was interested in, and come on, 2 weeks in Europe? Is that even a question?

Maybe I recognized that writing and storytelling were something I liked when found myself furiously typing and getting stoked on analyzing a PG movie about surfing penguins. But this excitement didn’t just come from watching Surf’s Up, it came from watching NOPE and thinking about how Jordan Peele approaches the genre of horror. The excitement came from Ford vs Ferrari as I learned about how while it was this arms race almost between ford and Ferrari but the movie was also really centered around the connection between Ken Miles and Caroll Shelby. I couldn’t deny the passion anymore when it burned so bright. I loved stories and storytelling and I want to create my own, like eagerly.

Watching Surf’s Up highlighted the things I loved the most about the storytelling. Gosh, I just love the vibe of that movie, and don’t get me started on voice acting or music. My passion was almost reaffirming or comforting, and it was something while not clear at first, was undeniably there. I think while constantly thinking about your major and career trajectory is normal for college students, it’s definitely tiring. It’s good to honestly take a break for a while and not try to forcibly find the passion you need to know asap. It’s good to reflect and really chill because your best decisions come from mountains of stress and deadlines.

We all gravitate toward things naturally but it can not always be clear. So sometimes, you need to do something different and let go, which is so much easier said than done. Maybe let the wave take you for a bit and let go?

Sometimes all you need is a movie night to clear your headspace to think about your future.