As many Star Trek fans know, there is a famous test known as “Kobayashi Maru”— a no-win scenario. A test of will, of character, and of heart. While this is where many of us first fell in love with James T. Kirk, it felt all too similar over these past two years due to the COVID pandemic. Whenever we felt like the year would get better, life would throw a curveball, and then another curveball, until it felt like our resiliency would give. I know, as a college student who had to spend their last two years of school in a Zoom waiting room, my resolve was indeed tested. But did Captain Kirk simply concede and accept that he had no chance of winning? Of course not. He found a way out of the darkness, and so have many of us as we enter the new year. While it would have been easy to crumble under the pressure of our own Kobayashi Maru, making the best out of a situation is not only what defines Starfleet, but is what makes all of us Starfleet. The Star Trek Command Training Program taught me that. These past three months have been without a doubt, the most remarkable experience this Persian kid from Diamond Bar could have ever asked for.
Many students are met with an initial sense of gratification when graduating college, fresh with the promise of starting the next chapter of not only our career, but our life. That’s a pretty scary moment when you think about it, right? When I graduated in the summer of 2021, I found myself worried about not being enough and not being able to find my way into an industry I have been dreaming about since I was five. The Television Academy Foundation and ViacomCBS helped ease any anxiety I had about entering a new chapter of my life. Star Trek fosters a plethora of talented artists, but more importantly, kind-hearted individuals. I could ramble on about all of the Trek royalty that made my jaw drop, but I felt it better to talk about the people who are the heart of Trek, and that is everyone. There is no “little guy” at ViacomCBS because there is never a sense of ego or superiority. They truly felt like a family, a family that welcomed me in. Everyone that I had the immense honor of working with these past three months have been incredibly helpful as I try to make my way as a Producer and Assistant Director.
They also all taught me that life is not a race. I knew at a young age that I always wanted to be a director. The Original Series classic “The Menagerie” showed the importance of finding what makes you happy in life. For me that was working with other awesome people to make awesome stuff, which all started back when me and my identical twin brother made short films in middle school with our little iPod touch. Now, as I turn 23, I still love making shorts, but I’ve learned that it is okay to change. That it is okay to try new things and, more importantly, it is okay to fail. This reminds me of a quote from the great Gene Roddenberry: "It is the struggle itself that is most important. We must strive to be more than we are. It does not matter that we will not reach our ultimate goal. The effort itself yields its own reward." That principle was still present during my time in the Star Trek Command Training Program. The vast amount of people who are responsible for making a Star Trek show come to life was not only humbling but inspiring! I want to say thank you to everyone who makes a future like Star Trek more possible every day and allows for the next generation of dreamers to be motivated like I was. As we enter the new year and take the next steps into wherever life leads us, it is important for us to remember that we are all on this floating rock trying to find things that make us happy, so LLAP.
WATCH: A Timeline Through the Star Trek Universe
Amir Hajirnia (he/him) is a recent graduate with Summa cum Laude from Cal State Fullerton, with a BFA in Cinema and Television Arts. He has worked as an Assistant Director on various film projects and continues to build his own production company, DoubleVision Productions. He works on his craft as a Writer/Director on YouTube and short films.