Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh, Happy Day

It would appear I haven't blogged in 20 days.  I do apologize for that - I've just been waiting for something to happen.  Well, more specifically, I've been waiting for myself to do something.  Block my Haruni that I finished a week or two ago, block and weave in the ends on the stranded fingerless gloves I finally finished after 18 months, take a picture of something so that I don't have a boring post...  All to no avail.  It was my last week of classes for the term, and then it was finals week, and things just went undone.

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.


  1. Alright, so I definitely want to know, and congratulations!

    I only just got around to listening to the latest podcast. I'd been waiting for enough time to listen.

  2. Congrats! At the risk of sounding like my MIL, who is a bit of a Pollyanna, sometimes things really do work out for the best and for a purpose. And they had money for you too - THAT is awesome.

  3. !Felicidades! I'm very proud of you, that's an incredible achievement!

    As to how to set up house, FREECYLE IS YOUR FRIEND.

  4. rreeeyyyyyyyy congratulations!!!!

  5. Congratulations!!!!

    On top of Freecycle, IKEA is a great friend to the newly housed, as well. We still have IKEA pieces in pretty much every room of the house.

  6. Do tell!

    And, if you are ending up anywhere near here, I might have some gently used furniture to share.


  7. (Yarn)Dude, that is awesome! Congrats. I admire you for pushing towards this goal, and I'm so pleased that it is paying off. Enjoy your short break. The details of your living quarters can be ironed out later. :)

  8. Congratulations on your acceptance. I know that it seems daunting to have to find and furnish an apartment for the first time, especially when Lawrence keeps us sheltered in dorms for four years, but I have to say that the move from Lawrence to your first apartment might be your easiest move ever because you won't have to worry about packing/lugging furniture. And I heartily second the IKEA votes! Best of luck in your decision making and moving.

  9. Congrats! I'm sure you will do well in your future endeavors. Best of luck to you!

  10. Congratulations! Sounds like you need to find a good consignment shop to buy your apartment needs (they have inexpensive furniture and such). IKEA is a great idea, too. Your off on a new (and wonderful) adventure!

  11. Congratulations, Peter! How exciting and I wish you well during another chapter of your journey!!!

  12. Congratulations!! Don't wait to long to respond; that does say "by March 31".

  13. Congratulations! I know your senior performance will rock.

  14. Oh Peter! I'm so happy for you! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY! Don't worry about the apartment stuff - it will come. Maybe trickling in, but you'll get there.

  15. Congratulations!

    I'm so happy for you,and I don't blame you for not wanting to put the info out there yet. There will be time enough for that if you want to share.

    (Is it Pittsburgh?!)


  16. Congrats on the acceptance and the fiscal support. Support is very important to a grad student. Even if it will be at poverty wages. (Voice of experience here.) You might check if the school has grad student housing, it would save you from having to furnish an apartment. Of course you may be looking forward to escaping from the dorms, I know I did.

    Thank you for telling us what is up with your applications. I've been wondering how things were going.


    PS I can figure out how to leave my contact info. So I'm going to give you my Ravelry contact (lissa717) only in this open a place.
    Sorry to be so inept.

  17. Congratulations!!
    May the next step of you journey be adventurous and rewarding.

  18. Yeah for you! See, you don't suck. My eye was drawn to the 10K number. Good for you. And furniture, dishes etc. can be had for next to nothing via garage sales, good will, freecycle. I still have a few things I got in college many years ago that same route. It will be fun. Don't forget room for the yarn stash!

  19. Congratulations Peter! And you got a fellowship AND tuition scholarship! That's so amazing!

    And never underestimate the power of secondhand furniture stores and IKEA. Almost all of my furniture from my first apartment was secondhand (except for my bed- definitely splurge on a bed!) and I still have a lot of it.

  20. Congratulations! I can imagine your relief and delight. Please let us know your plans. I am so happy that things are working out. Don't worry about furniture. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor is kind of fun. You can get a mat and pretend you are in Japan.

  21. Peter! I just now got around to reading your post--congratulations! Your reference to the typical musician's mantra ("You Suck!") brought back happy memories of commiserating in the oppressively dark, carpeted walls of the music building!

    I can't speak much for furniture, but you can get dishes at the dollar store, utensils at the flea market, etc...so long as you don't care if they match! And some people will rent out a room and already have some furnishings and even kitchen appliances available.

  22. Congratulations!! I'm also waiting to hear about grad school (but I'm in Canada, so my application isn't even due til April 1 - I've got some waiting yet), so anyone's success is extra delightful right now. All my very best to you :)

  23. Peter! Sorry I haven't stopped by the blog in awhile. You are hilarious. Count those chickens! You deserve this more than anyone I know.

    Re: furnishing an apt. I'm about to de-furnish mine and you are welcome to anything that I can haul north. It would be honored to find use in your new life!

  24. Dear Peter
    Sorry i haven't stopped by your blog lately but being on holiday will do that.

    Congrats on yur "you don't suck" letter. No matter what we tell ourselves, every now and then we need reassurance from an outside source. Sad but true.

    I look forward to the day when I attend a performance of a world renoun orchestra just to hear you play.