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Alumni Highlight: Postcards from Forever Ago

“I was sitting in the library one day and I just decided ‘I need to get out of here’,” William DeSena (Spring 2014) said.

Desena was attending the University of Colorado in Boulder at the time when a friend told him about Semester at Sea. He never planned on studying abroad, but sitting in the library during his last year of college, as he listened to Max Richter’s “Spring 1”, he pictured himself traveling the world and decided then and there he was going on Semester at Sea. 

DeSena sails with Semester at Sea Spring 2014.

Originally from Maine, DeSena always had a passion for travel and for film. DeSena sailed in the Spring of 2014, knowing that he wanted to document his voyage in a video, which eventually turned into “Postcards from Forever Ago.” While his project ultimately came to fruition, DeSena ran into a couple roadblocks along the way.

“I enjoyed so much of the present moment” he said, “and being behind the camera sort of took away from that experience. I learned to put the camera down sometimes and that was okay. I realized maybe this wasn’t about the film, maybe it’s about the experience.”

After his return, it took awhile to edit the video due to the struggle of not being able to fully recreate his experience.

“You really can’t match what it felt like and what I experienced to visuals and it made it pretty

DeSena filming in port.

difficult to finish,” said DeSena. “But, it was my sister who finally reminded me that if I didn’t finish editing it, I would regret it.”

DeSena stresses that the video he created during his voyage would not have been possible without his friends, the people he met abroad, and his family.

“This project came together thanks to a collective whole, not just me. It was really born from something else,” he said.

After graduating, DeSena moved to New York and took his talents to a creative agency where he served as a director for two years. He now does freelance work and creates content for name brands like Adidas, Gucci, DKNY, amongst others.

DeSena in port during the Spring 2014 voyage.

‚ÄúThe work I do now is a little more commercial,‚Äù said DeSena, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a different feeling because a lot of it has to go through a lot of filters, unlike the [“Postcards from Forever Ago”], which really came straight from the heart.‚Äù

Semester at Sea has ultimately left a mark on DeSena’s life and the way he works. He finds himself creatively stifled if in one place for too long and finds that travel helps his creative process.

“Semester at Sea was such a high, it’s hard to go back,” DeSena said, “It’s a feeling of being lost without being really lost at all.”


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