December 4, 2010 – I was getting my hair done, rushing to campus with all of my recital stuff (gown, oboe, music, etc), decorating the recital hall (main chapel), and finishing up the final preps for my college senior oboe recital. I was a music major and my graduation depended on it. If I didn’t pass, I’d have one more chance the following semester.
I’ve been playing musical instruments ever since I was little and my parent’s invested A LOT of money and time into my music lessons and instruments. I always juggled learning and practicing three instruments at a time (kind of like the triathlon life now). I begged my parents to let me learn violin when I was little. I started at 4, began piano at 5 and percussion at 10. Yes, I learned to play the drums and all those fun instruments. I learned all these other instruments, too, but Mom wouldn’t let me take lessons. I eventually switched from percussion to oboe because I “mastered” it and needed a new challenge!!
The last semester of college was, what I thought at the time, the hardest thing I’d ever have to endure in my life. If I could get through that, I could get through anything in the future! I was working full-time (40+ hours), going to school full-time, teaching piano lessons full-time, finishing up my senior portfolio, preparing for my senior recital, taking a theory and composition class (composing and analyzing music which was hours of homework and computer crap )…on top of dealing with a breakup with my boyfriend of 2 ½ years. Oh, and in all those classes, the teachers decided to make us do group projects. Who came up with that concept? I ended up having to do all the work. My teachers didn’t like me after the first week of classes. I approached them all with eager anticipation to get a jump start on the big project of the class. Yep, I was that person that turned in projects halfway through the semester when they weren’t due until the last week of class. I learned to juggle things quite well, developed a system, lived off of coffee, and survived on little-to-no sleep…Ha! Sounds like my norm right now! I was going to do whatever it took to stumble across that platform and get my degree. Honestly, I don’t know how I did it or managed keeping the GPA up to graduate Cum Laude…
From ages 17-23, my life revolved around school being my number one focus. I started college my senior year of high school and busted my butt to get a head start on the 5 year music education degree I wanted. I was determined to get it done in 4 ½ years and wouldn’t take no as an answer! I was taking anywhere between 18-22 credits a semester on top of all the music education requirements of having to practice my main instrument(oboe), secondary instrument (piano) and the various instruments I was learning in classes. I enjoyed the challenge and loved checking classes off the list!
I was on the right track of graduating within my goal…until things/circumstances got in the way. That plan changed when I withdrew from the one school the first two weeks of my last semester of classes. I took the rest of the semester off and transferred to the school I graduated from. I still could finish that education degree by finishing up 6 credits and student teaching. By the time I graduated four years ago, I had enough credits for 3 different degrees. Maybe I just loved school?!? And here I am today debating about going back to school and pursuing another degree or grad school in something…I don’t know. Midlife crisis?!?!
I say all of this, because I was sadly mistaken when I reflect and think back on what I thought at the time would be the hardest semester and thing I’d have to endure. I can honestly say 2014 has been one heck of a ride and the past 5 months have been by far the hardest thing I’ve ever endured. There’s been beauty every day despite the clouds and storms. If this is the hardest life gets, the rest of my life will be a breeze! I’m still not in the clear and there are many unknowns with this upcoming surgery. However, I’m not going to dwell on the negative things that could transpire. I’m going to focus on being healthy and grateful for all the amazing people supporting me and walking this journey with me. We’re all given lemons and it’s up to us to decide if we’re going to make lemonade with them…In my case, I’ll make lemonade and add a splash of vodka…
I don’t want to diminish the struggle and difficulty of that last semester of my college career. It was very rough and ugly at times. However, I overcame those obstacles and it made me even stronger and more resilient. I proved to myself that I could do anything I set my eyes on accomplishing. Those that thought I’d never go back to college and finish my degree, ate their words!!!
Perspective is a weird thing. I laugh when I thought that last semester was truly the death of me and how I told myself I wouldn’t make it. Something terrible today might not seem so bad when you experience something worse.
Life truly is a beautiful thing!!!
December 4, 2014 – today, I’m reflecting on my amazing and awesome accomplishment…my Senior Recital!! Who knows, maybe I’ll watch the DVD from it…maybe not…
Hope you enjoy the pictures. I couldn’t get the video clips to work. Sorry, I’m technologically challenged!