An OOM commencement address from Andrew Jenks

May 22, 2013
This week we’re posting about graduation to celebrate the many students who will complete this rite of passage over the coming month. Yesterday we looked at what role graduations play in our growth. Today we have a special guest post—an honorary commencement address, if you will, from Andrew Jenks, documentary filmmaker and host of the hit MTV show World of Jenks. Jenks began his filmmaking career at the age of 19 when he moved into an assisted-living facility in order to capture the true essence of this often overlooked community in HBO’s, Room 335. Three years later at age 21, Jenks further pushed the boundaries of his work as he spent seven months in Japan filming the ESPN documentary, The Zen of Bobby V. Jenks rose to fame with his innovative MTV documentary series, World of Jenks, where he lived the life of a different person (a homeless teen, a teen with autism, a rapper, an NFL cheerleader, and more) in each episode. The season two finale aired last night on MTV. In March 2013, Jenks published his biography, Andrew Jenks: My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker (ages 12 and up), a collection of personal stories and anecdotes, along with Jenks’ own photographs and images of sentimental memorabilia, and inspiring life lessons for teenagers. Below are some words of wisdom for the class of 2013. Take it away Jenks! I remember it was high school graduation day. I was sweating bullets. I had no idea what college would be like. I had no idea what the rest of my life would be like. I can’t say I was out of my mind scared, but I was starting to realize that it was time to grow up. I wouldn’t have the comfort of my parents house, or my lifelong friends, or the town I knew inside and out. I wanted to see what else was out there but that definitely created some serious anxiety. I would sit in bed at night, “Am I really old enough to move on?” During college, I made close to no friends. I stopped going to class. I got depressed. But I quickly realized the value of making sure you stick to following a career you believe in – and love. You have to find your own vision. Sometimes it takes longer for some, easier for others. So I started making movies I really believed in (and ones that I knew would cost little to no money, since I was broke). There were many nay-sayers. A lot of people holding me back. But I ended up making a movie for HBO, ESPN, and then a show on MTV. You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into and that’s okay. It turns out that’s life. If you’re looking for more inspiring stories from Jenks make sure you watch this great video interview with the Hollywood Reporter or this one on The Huffington Post. Andrew Jenks is the award-winning filmmaker who created the MTV documentary series: World Of Jenks. Andrew Jenks: My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker is his first book for young adults. To learn more about him and his work visit and follow him on twitter @AndrewJenks.