MTV`s True Life: I`m a Freshman Follows Dyson Student Pedro Rivera
Pedro Rivera filmed by MTV
By Ashley Studley ’10
The transition from high school to college can be an awkward experience for anyone. From getting used to new turf to adjusting to the workload, it’s not always a comfortable change. But for freshman Pedro Rivera, it’s been a transition that the whole world will see.
MTV’s popular documentary series “True Life” has been on campus and filming Rivera for its “I’m a Freshman” episode, which will feature three different students and is set to air in February.
Bored one day last spring, Rivera was browsing MTV’s Web site and saw the link “I Wanna be on MTV!”, and clicked it on a whim. From there, he browsed the list of shows and noticed that True Life was looking for subjects for its “freshmen” episode. He answered questions, sent in a picture of himself, and a week later he got the call.
“Pedro was picked because of a couple of things,” said the show’s producer, Sherri Brown. “He’s the first in his family to go to college, and he really wants to prove to his parents that he’ll be a successful college student. It was a combination of his background, determination, and excitement to go to Pace.”
The first filming took place in July at Rivera’s home in Ellenville, N.Y.
“It was strange,” Pedro said. “They rearranged my room a little bit and placed my trophies behind me.”
That was the last he saw of the cameras until August, when he reported to Pace for football training camp.
“When I first reported for training, [the coaches] didn’t seem too pleased,” Rivera said. “But after a while, everyone got used to it and was pretty cool with it.”
“They were there when I woke up, when I got ready, and got on the bus to go to [training] camp. They basically filmed my whole day, but now they come to film for only five minutes at a time. It’s very random.”
The producers now check in with Rivera to see what he’s up to, and then come film for specific events.
Although most of his friends don’t mind being filmed, some do, and some just want to be in the limelight, according to Rivera.
“Some people see a camera and they want their five minutes of fame,” he said. “It’s tough because you can’t tell who really wants to be your friend. I definitely don’t choose to be around those people.”
Despite those minor challenges, however, Rivera is gaining valuable experience from all of this.
“It’s given me a behind-the-scenes look into the industry,” he said, explaining that he is interested in a career that works with cameras, whether in television or film. “It’s given me a different look on what I want to do with my career.”
Despite an argument here and there, Rivera said the cameras haven’t caught too many situations that may embarrass him.
“People are going to see firsthand experiences. From learning to use a meal card, registering for classes, to showing up to class for the first time, the transition from high school to college is different,” said Brown. “We’ll watch their growth from beginning to end.”
Rivera wants to assure people that what they’re going to see is authentic.
“There’s nothing they make up, and they don’t put me in situations. They recommend things, but they never make me do anything,” he said. “It’s my life.”
Do you think you have a story that could be MTV worthy? If so check out www.mtvu.com/on_mtvu/casting_call and maybe you can be Pace’s next Pedro.