What’s stopping you? International student pursues dream of becoming a filmmaker

Becoming a filmmaker is TCC graduate Everton Melo’s big dream. He’s also faced some big challenges. In this month’s “What’s stopping you?” feature, Melo—who worked as a journalist in Brazil—talks about coming to the United States in 2016 and pursuing his ambitions despite the obstacles.


TCC: Why did you immigrate to the United States?

 EM: Pursuing a new career. Opportunities. Change in life. Passion for movies. I always saw the American film school as one of the best.

TCC: What brought you to Fort Worth?

EM: I used to work as a translator in Brazil for mission trips of Christ Chapel Bible Church. The missionaries were always talking about Texas and Fort Worth. When I came to visit in 2014, it sparked the dream to study in America. I fell in love with the city.

TCC: Becoming fluent in English was a challenge for you. How did you overcome it?

EM: English is not my first language, so I was scared of not being able to express myself well in class with my peers and professors. I was scared of not writing well due to lack of experience in English. That put me on a social block and I had a panic attack in the beginning of my first semester at TCC. However, the professors were really understanding, and the resources of TCC were amazing—especially the Writing Center. I would have not gotten to where I am if it wasn’t for them.

TCC: Was it tough to go back to school as an adult?

EM: A little bit. The cultural difference was the biggest challenge, but the TCC community was really accepting, especially after I started to get involved in organizations.

TCC: How were you involved on campus?

EM: I was the president of the TCC Trinity River Film Club, president of the TCC South Sigma Kappa Delta English Honor Society, P3 orientation leader, executive class member, TCC Trinity River Drama Club member and TCC South Film Club member. Pretty involved, lol.

TCC: What do you think made you successful at TCC?

EM: For sure the involvement and asking around to peers and professors the best way to approach classes, save money and use the resources on campus. Once again, the Writing Center was crucial for me.

TCC: You went through some stressful times in the process of transferring to a university.

EM: I had a lot happening to me in spring 2018. I did not know if my dream was ending there with my associate degree because I was not going to be able to afford a four-year university. I needed a scholarship, full-ride, specifically. I applied to UNT, UT and SMU. I got accepted in all of them, but the news about if any of them were going to give me a scholarship was taking too long. I was afraid I was going to go back to Brazil with my dream incomplete. Fortunately, SMU changed the course of my history. The school offered me a full ride, plus some other scholarships, and now I am a BFA film student over there.

TCC: What advice do you have for other students who want to transfer?

EM: Do the best you can at TCC and get involved. This is what most universities are looking for. Be a good storyteller. Tell them a story about yourself, instead of laying facts. Get them interested in you. Bring them on a journey to hear about who you are.

TCC: You live far from your family. Any advice for students in similar positions?

EM: It is hard, but if you find a supporting system around campus and where you live, it can make a whole difference in your academic life and mental health. I was lucky to find that at TCC.

This story is the latest in a series celebrating members of the TCC community who don’t let challenges stop them. To read previous features, follow these links: Salma Alvarez, Celia Mwakutuya, Jessica Caudle, Ken Moak, Melora Werlwas, Kevin Douglas, Marine Creek Collegiate High School students, students in atypical careers, Tre’Zjon Cothran , Karmin Ramos, Anthony Smith, Ashley Calvillo, Lance Lambert, Christiana Agbo, Matt Geller,  Larry Pike, Mary Huggins , Minika Tharpe, Monet Cullins, Robert Massengale and Kathryn Wilbanks.