I don’t think I’ve ever felt pressure as intense as what I’ve felt in college.
There’s a lot of rumors and ideas that float around college before you ever even get here. You hear plenty of people tell you it’s going to be the greatest years of your life, or it will go by so quickly, or that you’ll grow and change so much as a person that you’ll drift away from your closest high school friends.
When I applied to the University of Illinois, I knew that I wanted to major in Music Psychology, but I had only found two undergraduate programs in the country that offered anything of the sort. UIUC was one, which offered a broader, student-led course structure than anywhere else I had researched. I simply had to attend.
When I was applying for colleges, I knew I wanted to stick with music. I was infamous in high school for being overly involved: I did band, choir, musical theatre, and took any music production class I could. Being well-rounded was great, but when it came time to audition for schools and choose what I wanted to major in, I had no idea. I hadn’t spent countless hours practicing one instrument, I wasn’t a performer, and I didn’t see myself as a music teacher. I felt that music departments at many schools only advertised their performance and education degrees, and I felt a bit lost. I thought to myself, “are there any other options for people who were looking for something different?”