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In Going Forward, Part One

Note:  I ramble quite a bit in this post. You have been warned.

As I write this, I am simultaneously waiting both impatiently and in terror for my grades to be posted. The spring semester is over, I took my last exam this morning, and I already have my schedule ready for the fall.

The past four months have been a roller coaster of emotions, extremely busy schedules, and more than a few sleepless nights and weekends thrown into the mix. I probably took too many trips back home for various reasons, procrastinated on homework assignments far too often, and spent too much time watching my favorite tv shows (honestly, could I be any more addicted to Doctor Who and Sherlock than I already am?).

So, those are the worst points of the semester, and my grades did suffer, but I’ll talk about that in a moment. There were many very good things that happened over the course of the last four months, and they’ve helped to set the stage for what the rest of my time here at Texas Tech University will most likely be like.

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Being able to visit my horses on one of my trips home was heaven on earth.

My absolute favorite part about this semester has been my piano professor. Seriously, visit his website and then tell me if you’re not impressed.  I may have chosen this university for its fantastic School of Music, but I never expected to become the student of such a proficient and renowned pianist and artist. Not only is he fantastically brilliant, but our entire studio class blows me away every single week with how supportive and helpful they are. I am one of only two undergraduate students in our studio class – the rest are graduate students who are all piano performance majors, while I’m just a music education major with a piano concentration. It’s quite intimidating, to be honest, but the acceptance and support that I have felt from this group amazes me all. the. time.  In fact, just last night, we had a garden party at Dr. Westney’s home, and although I should have left early to study for my exam this morning, I just could not bring myself to leave. The sheer volume of intelligent, sincere, and deep conversation was overwhelming.  Both Dr. Westney and his wife, an incredibly talented singer, are so knowledgeable and willing to share their wisdom. As yet, I am unsure what career path I really want to pursue, but through conversations that I had with them and with the Masters and Doctoral students, I gained so much insight about various experiences and fields and options that I could explore further. It really helped clear up a few things for me in that area, but that’s a subject for another post.

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Also accompanist work. Yay for that!

Apart from my focused piano studies, I really had my eyes opened in a lot of other areas. Although I was aware that university is a big step up from junior college, I was not prepared for just how major of a step up it was going to be. (That’s an awkward sentence… but I can’t figure out how to fix it. Oh well.)  In junior college, I was able to get away with minimal studying for tests, I could write papers the night they were due and make perfect scores, and the level of musical ability that was expected was much lower. (I’m not bashing my junior college at all, in fact they were incredible, and I am very satisfied with my time there.)  I’m not able to get away with less than my best here, and while that might cause me to complain at times, in reality, that is what I want out of my college experience, right?  I want to be challenged because I want to improve. I came to West Texas in order to find more opportunities to stretch myself. I came here to become a better pianist.

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Work happened a lot. Especially when we were short on people. Work = Homework too often

So, yes, I am definitely not a straight A student this semester. In fact, I might have actually failed a class for the first time in my entire academic career. And part of me is extremely upset and disappointed that I allowed that to happen. But did I learn how to handle myself in a university setting? Did I find out that I need to balance my time much, MUCH better in order to fit in practice time, study time, and work successfully?  Yes, I did. Retaking a class because I failed it might be considered a waste of money, but for this semester, I’m not looking at it as a waste. Instead, I’m looking at it as a lesson learned and one that I NEEDED to learn, so therefore it was worth the expense. At least, the way I look at it.

 

Tomorrow: my social experiences during the semester, summer plans, and looking ahead to next semester.

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