I had lost my sense of direction

As a senior in high school, I had lost my sense of direction in terms of my future, just when I should have been finding it.

I had been told throughout high school that my dedication and work ethic would best be used in a pre-professional career, so I should study medicine or law or pharmacy, which is what I had been telling myself for the last approximately four years.

It was always kind of believed, where I’m from, that to go to college is an incredible privilege, so the time, the money, the emotional investment should be used wisely to get a “worthwhile” degree, or rather, one that would make you a lot of money, pay for a house, and pay for your kids to go to college so the cycle can start all over again.

While I do understand this point of view and have seen the research to back it up (the Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that “for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents’ home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household”)1, I’m personally investing in myself by pursuing a music degree, instead of a pre-professional degree. I know that I will probably have to pay for it on my own, without the support of my parents, emotionally or financially, but I am prepared to do it, but I do it because I love music so much that it’s kind of hard to put into words.

Technically, I started studying music in a formal way in the third grade through violin, although I would say that my interest runs much deeper than that, way into my childhood.

I was raised in a Lutheran church where my Mom sang in the choir, my oldest Brother has played the piano since he was a kid, my Cousin has always been a part of a band for as long as I can remember, and my Dad just has always had an incredible loyalty to musicians like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and The Beatles that he knew from his youth and outright insisted that I knew.

Overall, these all sparked my interest in music, whether classical or more modern or experimental or more traditional. I love the way that classical music uses simple instruments to make extraordinary sounds, the way that modern music is so heavily immersed in production and sound to make it incredibly visceral (notably, Charlie Puth’s “I Warned Myself” comes to mind for me, with its inclusion of a guttural choking sound used in its arrangement).

The way that music makes me so emotional when I’m very much not an emotional person (The last song that made me cry was Taylor Swift and The Dixie Chicks’s “Soon You’ll Get Better”. Not that it will have any impact on my application, but I just wanted to include this because I think that the amount of crying I did the night I first heard that song could fill all of NYU’s pools). I love how sometimes it literally will just pinpoint the emotion that you’re feeling in a very oddly specific, deja vu, God-are-you-there? type of way. I love how even if you don’t know or relate to the specific situation described in the song, that you can relate to the emotional basis that it’s coming from.

The way that songs can be so memory-inducing that you temporarily forget that it’s 2019 and you fall back in time to 2005 for a second (Some songs that very much make me feel this way are “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles, “Heaven” by Beyoncé, “Hella Good” by No Doubt, “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley, and “I am the Walrus” by The Beatles. Once again, I just need to emphasize that I know this won’t affect my application, I just want to share. Isn’t that what a personal narrative is about?).

Therefore, while I have enjoyed my time at UC Davis, it does not have the same emphasis on the performing arts as NYU Tisch offers, which is why I want to transfer. UC Davis is mostly known for its agricultural and veterinary programs, which I have decided not to pursue, in search of my true passion, music.

What catalyzed this decision was when my music professor told me to stay after class one day and asked me one simple question: “Why don’t you pursue music?”. I came up with the obvious, ingrained answers that I had always been told about why I couldn’t pursue music, and further, the performing arts in general: I can’t earn money that way, I’m not talented enough, I don’t have the right connections, I can’t get into the right program, the usual things that I had always been told by adults and my peers when I talked too much about loving music and wanting to pursue a career in it.

Then he said, “Why not try?”. So this is me trying. This is me trying to do what I’ve been told a billion times over not to do and I thank you for your consideration.