It is often that as students move through high school – especially through junior and senior year – they become concerned for their future. In a society where high schoolers are pressured to choose a major for college and decide on a career path to follow before they graduate, students who do not know what truly interests them or know what they want to do after college fear the uncertainty that the future holds. Samantha Bates Murray, a Brunswick High School 2002 alumnus, assures, though, that it is okay to be unsure of where life will take you.
Murray, who is now a broadcaster on Twitch and Youtube, came a long way before she found her calling. In high school, she had a serious interest in video production. “It all started when my dad got some video editing software […] and I just instantly had a fascination with creating content,” she stated. Murray was so interested in creating content that in 2000 she began Brunswick High School’s Video Club, now known as the BEAT Video Program.
However, once Murray had graduated high school and began college at Kent State University, she found herself in a tough spot. “It was tough because I had these interests in my personal life and fortunately I was able to explore a lot of those interests at home. But when it came to my education, a lot of the programs just didn’t exist… It wasn’t new technology but kind of on a consumer level it was harder to find at the time.”
As a result, Murray took as many classes as she could that related to her interests and eventually graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Photo Illustration. However, even after college, she was unsure of what to do. “After I graduated, […] to be honest, I was never really comfortable with it [photography] on my own. […] I was very shy and I wasn’t confident even in my abilities. To be honest even after I graduated I wasn’t very confident.”
Murray went on to admit, “I was kind of lost after college.” But despite being unsure of what she wanted to do, she held on to her love of content creation. “I always did it in my spare time, whether it was video, or photography, or even writing. I did everything.”
Murray continued to follow her passion and “float around” until she eventually found YouTube in 2012 as a way to share her content. She began making videos for fun under the name AuroraPeachy and over the years slowly built a following. The same happened when she began to do live broadcasts on Twitch.tv. “Now it’s turned into my career and I couldn’t be more thankful,” Murray stated.
Despite being unaware of what she wanted to do with her life after high school and even after college and although it took several years, by following her interests Murray was eventually able to establish a career doing something she loves. And she wants other young wandering students to know that not knowing is okay. “Follow your interests, follow your hobbies, do what you love to do. Don’t feel like you have to be pressured into something that someone else wants you to be,” she advised. “I know it sounds corny and cliché, but you have to follow your heart. That’s what my entire life has taught me.”
For the future, Murray aims to continue to grow and build her following and make connections in the video game world. Murray also had the honor of being inducted into the BEAT Hall of Fame in 2016.
Alexis Gemelas, a junior at Brunswick High School, is one of over forty student “backpack journalists” (grades 6-12) in the award-winning BEAT Video Program. The Program is sponsored by RPM, Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, Baskets Galore, Medina County Arts Council, Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund, Cleveland Clinic, Brunswick Eagles 3505 Brunswick Rotary Club and Lorain County Community College at Midpoint Campus Center. Go to Thebeat22.com to learn more about the Program, or visit thebeat.pegcentral.com to view videos produced by the students.