Congratulations on making a decision, LOTViolists!!! —SparkNotes editors
Hello, Sparklers! In my 5th blog post, I'd like to make a joyous announcement. I have chosen to attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in the fall!
It was a very difficult decision. In the end, I knew I would be choosing either UNCSA or Oberlin. I knew that each would offer a very different experience, and I liked both schools. For a while, I was convinced for a long time that Oberlin would be a perfect utopia, the only place to go if I wanted to be the best violist I could be. My goal has always been to do my best. However, when making a decision, one needs concrete goals. Without a goal to fulfill, how can you make the right decision? So my parents helped me to pinpoint my goals.
Teaching: I've always known I want to teach. It's my main goal for my career. Particularly, I want to teach using the Suzuki method, but any kind of teaching experience would be useful in undergrad school.
Family: I've also always known I want a family. I don't necessarily have to be a stay-at-home mom, but I'd love to be able to spend time with my family as often as possible. This means I can't be a workaholic to pay off college.
Performing: I want to perform, though it's not my top priority. Involvement in a chamber group or orchestra would be a lot of fun and would keep my technique and musicality up to speed.
Undergrad experience: In another post, I outlined my goals for my actual college years: dorm life, choosing my own food, finding a boyfriend and lots of friends, and taking courses. (You know—learning!)
In view of all these goals, at first I thought Oberlin was the right place for me. It offers a pedagogy course. I would be able to raise enough money to have a family if I worked really hard to pay off my loans. I would learn how to be a top performer, and I would get the full college experience.
But I would be so busy studying, practicing, and doing work study at Oberlin that it would be very difficult for me to take advantage of their pedagogy course, let alone have the time to get much real-world experience teaching children. Plus, the amount of loans I would have to pay off after college could make it harder for me to focus on teaching to the extent that I would prefer. If I took the loans, I would most likely have to spend more time performing than I would feel comfortable doing.
I might not even be able to afford a family because of the loans from Oberlin [ed note: that's why they invented rich spouses!]—at least not while working a Suzuki job. I'd rather have my teaching dreams fulfilled than work an orchestra job to pay off unnecessary loans—especially because I would only have the loans because of an Oberlin education geared towards an unwanted career! But even if I could eventually afford to support a family while working a Suzuki job, I would be working so often that I wouldn't be able to spend much time with them.
However, at UNCSA, I'll get a chance to practice teaching, since I have been offered a potential teaching assistant position there. Also, there are nearby community music schools at which I could teach young children in particular. With all this experience under my belt, I could probably get lots of teaching opportunities during the summer and after college. I could also probably get into a really great grad school, which is where I will study the Suzuki method.
With no loans to pay off, all my money after college could go toward myself and my family. I wouldn't have to have the highest-paying job in the world, either. It would be far easier to just do what I want to do in life: teach Suzuki and have a family I can spend a lot of time with. Maybe I could even homeschool my kids during the day, then teach part-time after most kids get out of school. Who knows!
At UNCSA, I will also learn to be a performer. Maybe I will be in a slightly less competitive environment, but the fact is I will still have competition. I will have a great teacher. And I will learn a lot! I will still get everything I want, plus I'll be surrounded by the arts all the time. I'll make lots of friends since the environment is a little less liberal than Oberlin's. In truth, UNCSA is the best of all worlds for me right now. I can't wait to attend the school, and I keep hopping around in joy that I've made my final decision. We've thought and prayed a lot about it, and I'm sure that I've finally made the right decision.
Have you decided where you're going to school? Do you think LOTViolists made the right decision?
Related post: Chronicles of a College Kid: Senioritis Spares No One