It’s that time of year again. It’s late August and schools is about to start. For me this will be the first time in six years where I will not be a student in school, and I cannot be more excited! Still this time of year has made me reflect on my college experience, what I learned, and what I wished I knew going in. I decide to share some of these key points by breaking it down year to year.
Freshmen: Oh to be young and naive. The main focus for you in your first year is simple. Get involved and get serious. This isn’t high school. You are beginning the next stage of your life and the next stage of your musical career. Music is no longer just an after school program, it’s the reason you are in College. You are spending the next four years and thousands of dollars of debt to be here. Take that seriously. You’re a musician now, live and breath it. If you are not serious about this, it’s time wasted and money spent. Take it seriously, work your tail off, and don’t be corny.
Sophomore: You’re kind of stuck in the middle. Not old enough to be thinking about post undergrad life, but not a freshmen either. Hopefully you can use this year to really perfect your college experience. You’ve learned from your Freshman year mistakes and regrets and you can now optimize your time and experience in school. Enjoy these times and years. You have no student loan payments and Mom and Dad are just a QuickPay away.
Juniors: This year is a big one. You are an upperclassmen now and hopefully are in the swing of things and know how to be a productive college student. My main advice for you is for outside of school. At this point your post college life should begin to be something you think about. Will you be going to Grad school? Are you part of an established band, will just gig more? What will your living situation be? All these things are issues you should be taking into account now. That way, when next year comes, you just need to execute your plan.
Senior: This year is odd for music majors. You’re probably mentally checked out of the University and just want to be done. However, you’re still in the top ensembles, have senior recitals, and those pesky Gen Ed’s finally have to get done. The challenge is staying committed to the task while keeping an eye focused on post undergrad life. This is vital and cannot wait. Make sure your music resume is put together, websites and business cards are ready, and that you have at least a vague idea of what the first six months of post undergrad life will look like. FOR SENIOR YEAR THIS IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR ACADEMICS. Unless your going to Grad school, it’s over. Time for that fancy real world everyone’s been talking about, and for music majors, I’ve seen many graduate and never play music again. Some made that decision consciously, but for many the decision was forced on them because of a series of self inflicted bad decisions. These bad decision start here and they start now.
Above all else I want every music major to rise up and succeed. I’m still young and naive enough to believe that anyone who wants to make music for a living can. College isn’t solely about getting a job, but at the end of the day the skills and abilities you develop here will help you to do so. In later posts I will show you how I made my resume, business cards, and my website. That way you can be better prepared for post undergrad life. Have a question about being a music major in college? Want guidance so you’re ready for life after college? Leave a comment below.