Now I'm back home in Minnesota for Spring break, a week of relaxing before I dive into the third term of the year (and my last term as an undergrad student!), and I can finally sit down and write a bit - despite the fact that I don't have any pictures.
Last week I was debating whether or not to give you all an update about how my grad school application process was going. What it came down to, though, was that I just wasn't feeling up to it.
I had applied to 6 schools in the beginning. One notified me that the clarinet professor wasn't admitting any new students for next year. I sent a preliminary tape to another and didn't make it past the first round, which left 4 schools. I auditioned at all of them in late January/early February and have been waiting ever since to hear back with a "yes" or "no" from the schools.
...and then the letters started coming. In the music world we are forced to accept the fact that rejection is inevitable and that criticism is (almost) always constructive and shouldn't be taken personally. It is impossible for someone to get a true feeling for who you are as a person and a performer in the brief 10 minutes spent in an audition, and therefore any decisions made are based simply on your performance at that particular time on that particular day, regardless of how perfectly you can play your piece in the practice room, or how professional you are in an ensemble setting.
Yes well, it was hard to keep all that in mind when the first rejection letter came. Musicians are notorious for beating themselves up, and I must admit that the self-deprecating phrase "you suck" flittered through my thoughts more than once.
Then the second rejection came. I was crushed. I was defeated. This one was from the school at which I felt most comfortable - I dare say it was my top choice. I would have loved to go there, it just felt right. I had practically given up at that point.
It was time to think of a Plan B. Even my mother asked me, "What are you going to do if you don't get in anywhere?" Yeah, like I hadn't thought of that already. Of the two remaining schools to hear from, one I extremely disliked, and the other was, in my mind, at a more competitive level than one I had already been rejected from, so it was unlikely I would get in. What was I going to do? I suppose I could move back home, go back to school and get another degree in something a bit more practical than "clarinet performance." Maybe I could sell my clarinets for some extra cash. I could work three jobs and go to classes and work really hard and find something else to do with my life. Yeah, that sounds good. I mean, come on, apparently I was no good at the clarinet anyway, right?
Can you tell I was getting a bit hysterical? If two rejections had pulled me this far under, I was terrified to think what the third one would do.
...and the third letter* came last week. A thin envelope just like the last two. I knew what it was before I opened it.
(click to enlarge)
...but I was wrong! Maybe I don't suck after all!
You can't imagine the amount of relief I felt after reading that first word. I was no longer doomed to flip burgers for the rest of my life (yeah, I went there too). And then as I continued reading, it got even better! And even better!
I haven't accepted yet because I'm still waiting to hear from the other school (the one I didn't like - despite the clarinet instructor telling me that she really wanted me to study with her and that she would do what she could to get me scholarships). I don't want to count my chickens before they're hatched, but I think this is the offer I'm going to accept (hmmm, I'm not sure that idiom actually worked in that sentence). I can't imagine I'll get anything better (nor do I need to. I really did like this school a lot).
And with that I have leapt over one more hurdle in life's journey. The next will be finding, and paying for, an apartment. At my current school, students are required to live in the dorms for the duration of their attendance, which means I have never actually lived in an apartment. I don't own my own bed. I don't have dishes to cook with. I don't own a chair to sit on, or a lamp to light my room. Can you tell that the euphoria of my acceptance has worn off a bit? If I'm not worrying about one thing, I'm dwelling on another...
At least now I can concentrate on the clarinet again. My senior recital is less than three weeks away and I have a lot of work to do before I'm ready to play. (My recital was originally scheduled for May 1 until just a few weeks ago, when I had to bump it up to April 10 due to a conflict with my professor's schedule.)
...and I blocked Haruni. I'll show you in a day or two.
*I was going back and forth about whether or not I felt comfortable sharing with the entire online community the name of the school where I will most likely be attending next year. Chances are it'll pop up in the blog or the podcast sooner or later, but for now I still don't know how I feel about it. Those of you I whom know (by which I mean those of you with whom I have formed a relationship over the years, online or otherwise), I have no problem telling you on an individual basis. I just didn't want to make that information available to anyone who happens to wander through my blog.