It’s strange to think back to a year ago, when, around this time, I was struggling to make a college decision—and struggling is probably an under exaggeration. Much like Christine’s post, I didn’t get into my dream school (Elite U, as she so aptly puts it) and I was having trouble figuring out where I stood regarding my options in schools. For me, there was an added element of difficulty, because I had to make a choice between a music school and an academically oriented university. Now, sure, many music schools are part of a college or university, but I was finding that (for the most part) the better the music school, the less an emphasis on academics, and visa versa. To better understand the magnitude of my dilemma, let me tell you a bit about me.
I decided I wanted to go to “Elite U” in third grade. Seriously. Third grade. Now, over the years what I actually wanted to do at Elite U changed—it started with biochemistry, which then turned to engineering, and then to astrophysics, and so on and so forth (in retrospect I find my desire to study science quite humorous; my current goal in life is to never take another science class ever again).
In seventh grade I started playing percussion in my middle school band, and, though I enjoyed it, I never considered making it a career. Then, the summer before tenth grade, I went to a music camp and everything changed. The instructors there taught me how to look at music in a completely different light, and showed me that it was capable of being a career. So in tenth grade I decided I wanted to go to music school—I practiced hours every day, joined different ensembles, and entered various competitions and institutes. Then, senior year, glimpses of Elite U started to drift back into my mind. Unable to decide between my two passions—academics and music—I applied to both music schools and academic institutions.
April came, bringing with it letters of acceptances (and a few rejections) from both types of schools, and I was faced with an immensely difficult decision – how far did I want to take my musical career, or did I want to make it a hobby and focus on academics. Finally, April 30th, after switching back and forth between choices, I sent in my deposit to U of R, if for no other reason than to just be finished with the process, resigning myself to focus on academia and have music take a back seat.
Upon my arrival to U of R, I realized that I hadn’t picked academics over music, but rather I had found the perfect combination of the two. On one hand, I was at a world-class university, and had amazing academic opportunities amongst some of the brightest professors and students in the world. On the other, I was able to take lessons and classes at Eastman, quite arguably the best music school in the country. I found that at U of R, instead of sacrificing one passion of my life for the other, I was able to pursue both as much as I liked, and found that the intertwining of the two actually broadened my horizons and increased my passion and love for both.