There are a lot of benefits to attending a big University such as UIC. We are in a world city so there are lots of opportunities for internships and jobs, plenty of clubs/ organizations to join, bigger facilities, plenty of UIC funded events, and huge discounts to sporting events and music performances. Still there are some disadvantages, the school is very big and you don’t have to try to hard to get lost (literally and figuratively). If you don’t have a group of tight-nit friends by your side the only thing colder then the isolation you will feel will be the winter wind. Despite it all I love it here, and I embrace the negatives and positives of my university the same way I do with the city that I live in. Many of us go to big Universities especially us music majors since they tend to have better funding, bigger programs, and better teachers then private Universities (generally and of course there are exceptions). So I thought I would discuss my struggles and solutions to being a extroverted introvert.
Most people would describe me as an extrovert. I am talkative, outgoing, always participating in class and I always sit in the front. Even this blog is proof of me being an extrovert. Not only do I have ideas and opinions, but I think you need to hear what they are.. they should be documented… the world should read this!! Still many aspects of my life define me as a introvert. I rarely socialize with others, and I rarely drink. I just want to stay at home and work on my craft. My goal in life is to be the best musician I can be and I don’t see how holding a plastic cup at a friends house, while I listening to music I don’t like around people I don’t know is going to help me get there. Needless to say some of you agree, but according to the commercials I see during football games, many of you do not. So how do I find a balance? How can I utilize my big school and be my extroverted self and also get away from it all and be my introverted self? Well, I’ve only been here a few months, but I think I’ve found a way.
First, I will address trying to be an introvert at UIC. I will begin with SCE or Student Center East.
This place is great and awful all at the same time. This building contains the bookstore, convenience store, and plenty of places to eat. It also contains far too many humans. Hard to find a place to sit, it’s loud, and the combination of Sbarro, Subway, Wendy’s, and hundreds of college students leads to interesting smells. So how can I get some peace and quiet in a building like this?
This is one of my favorite places to relax.
It’s a nice chair hidden just above the third floor in a small hallway. It’s a nice quiet area where hardly any one comes. I can drink my coffee, collect my thoughts, and prepare for the next challenge.
Also just underneath it is Montgomery Ward.
This place usually has a few empty seats so it’s much less congested then the rest of SCE. It’s important to find places where I have space and time for myself at SCE because this building is, at times, unavoidable. And it’s good to have a spot where I can just be alone.
So much of college and being a musician involves having connections, and interactions with others. One of the things I love about UIC is the amazing and inspiring students and teachers we have here. And with the amount of students we have here it only leads to a more creative, inspiring and educational musical environment. So what if I want to be part of this environment how do I get connected and be a part of this community?
Back to the music building!
Here I feel at home. Being a music major we have many of the same classes with the same group of students. For example in your Theory, Ear training, and combos you will undoubtedly run in to many of the same students. Of course this could be a negative if your peers and you do not get along, but luckily for me we all tend to get along well. There is a comradery between us music majors. We take the same classes, go through the same struggles, we are in it together, and we hope everyone will make it out with a degree. Here I can be my extroverted self. I can discuss musical topics, crack jokes, maybe have lunch with a peer, it’s great. And if I need space, if I need to have a moment to myself, I know where to go.
College is not easy, all of us will go through our ups and downs. But with help from our peers and self discipline, everything will be fine. I hope this blog gave incoming freshmen and current students some tips on how to have your cake and eat it to at a big college/ university. This was definetly a UIC based blog, but it can be applicable to all big schools. Every school has its version of Student Center East or Montgomery Ward you just have to find it and find the balance between being your extroverted and introverted self, I have. And here’s to hoping you do as well.