Compared to my first year, many things have changed for me. The workload is a lot different than I expected. I’ve always considered myself busy, but sophomore year takes the cake. Last year my latest class ended before 4:30 pm, and now my classes end at 10:30 pm. My time management was challenging this semester. I found it very difficult to have a full day of classes, rehearsals and still have the energy to do homework as well as take care of myself. I want to show the same amount of effort in my general education classes as in my major-based classes, but it is much more complicated than I thought it would be. When I was younger, I never took general education classes seriously in high school, so a liberal arts-style college was a bold choice for me. I have always struggled academically with non-music classes. I always found it easier to memorize a song than it is to study for a test or write an essay. But I wanted to have a well-rounded education no matter the struggle I went through during it.
My major-based courses are a great way to challenge me. I was never a dancer, so I am glad I’m taking a dance class to help me build technique. I’ve started to improve my dancing, which I am proud of. I am also in “Chamber singers,” and that class keeps me on my toes. It helps me pay attention to detail and gain more confidence in my ability to read music the first time and then sing it. Choir has always been my passion, and I am glad I get the opportunity to experience that again. My professor is demanding, so I feel honored that he trusts me with such beautiful works such as Eric Whitacre and Undine Smith Moore. I adore variety in choral music because it is never all the same Catholic mass music; it can be spiritual or contemporary. Learning new styles of music is very valuable to me as a musician. I am taking a class called Musical Theatre Performance I: Foundations. It is an incredibly daunting course. We are assigned songs we have to perform and work on them in front of the class. It is a very intimate space, so being five feet away from my classmates’ faces singing is naturally very uncomfortable. At first, I was a nervous wreck in this class because everyone could see me, and I could see their reactions as I sang. Over time I got more comfortable with these people and intimate performance spaces. At the beginning of this class, I was assigned a song I didn’t like. I felt the song was easy to sing but hard to understand emotionally. However, as time went on and I worked on this song, I learned not to judge something at first glance or not to hate something because I find it difficult.
Often, my stubbornness gets in the way of my learning. Once I got to college, it allowed me to learn my own way while doing the same things as other students. In this class, I learned to challenge my thinking and political morality. I was never fully educated on military life and what happens to veterans after they leave their deployment. I have family who are veterans, but that was a part of their life they never talked about. When I read American Tet in class, I was shocked by the reality of veterans living with PTSD. To learn about an experience that is outside of myself was eye-opening. I have always been passionate about integrating theatre and music into therapy and other mental health services. In Theatre of War, they use Greek tragedy as a way for veterans to connect and be seen. It is so powerful to see such an old story remain relevant and meaningful to people. In the book, they explain how they wanted to bring a Greek tragedy to a prison. Naturally, this did not end up going well with the inmates, and I wondered what the expected final product of the performance was. It had me question the morality of prisons and the treatment of the human beings inside of them. Being in a class that constantly challenges my thinking keeps me motivated to learn about other people’s lives and experiences. By the end of the semester, I hope to be more organized and on top of my game. I want to learn the skills to be successful in music and life.