I’m pretty sure I’ve had weeks that have felt longer than this week has, but this one definitely comes close to the top. So how is grad school so far? Right now I really like it! Ask me again in a month and you may get a different answer. To sum it up in one sentence, it feels good to be in class and learning things again, and I feel completely in my element being in the midst of other musicians all the time.
I can’t help but compare my experience so far to what I remember from my undergraduate studies. So much has changed. The biggest thing, no surprise, is technology. When I started college (2001), hardly anyone had their own computer and everyone used the computer lab. People used pen and paper to take notes, or if we were lucky, we got outlines from the professors that we could write on. It seemed that 2002 was the year to get your own laptop because I remember thinking that overnight everyone had their own laptops or desktops and no one was using the computer lab anymore (except to use the printer). I think by junior or senior year our school was just starting to use Blackboard. And for the record, I joined Facebook in 2004, as a junior, when Bowling Green became one of the schools Facebook added to its network. I feel old.
Now everyone has laptops. In fact, all incoming freshman at Shenandoah got a Macbook Pro ($500 a semester) and their choice of an iPhone or iPad (another $500 per semester) upon moving in. I was skeptical about using a laptop in class, but it’s proven to be extremely efficient and helpful. I discovered today in Word that there is a Notebook feature that allows you to record the lecture. Then when you go back and listen, there’s an audio marker for each line of notes you took, which is extremely helpful.
What else? All of my fellow music therapy grads seem cool and I’ve made fast friends with some of them. I’m getting into a bad habit of calling any undergrad a “kid”. Orchestra rehearsals have been fun, especially coming from the world of musical theater and choir. The only drawback at the moment is that the conductor is a pianist himself and therefore knows the piano parts well, and therefore singles me out in rehearsal to play something he wants the whole orchestra to hear. A little daunting since I’ve barely had the music a week but I’ve managed to scrape through. I love playing in an ensemble and didn’t realize how much I missed it.
Assignments are starting to pour in and I feel like my brain is quickly tapping into a mode it hasn’t been in for 6 years. I was talking to another grad about it today – there’s a whole art to using free time for efficiently studying for all of my classes. I feel like in undergrad I could do the procrastination thing and get away with it; I don’t think I can do that this time. Also, I have completely forgotten APA style. That’s going to be fun.
One thing I was looking forward to with grad school was being able to focus on one thing instead of being pulled in 4 different directions, like I was a year ago. I was working 40 hours at my day job, 20 hours teaching (half of which were spent in traffic), doing stuff with my church, eating/sleeping sometime, and trying to muster up the energy to hang out with my friends. I definitely feel like my life is much more focused and simple, despite the number of classes I’m taking. To be completely honest – I don’t feel depressed anymore. That’s a nice feeling.
Tomorrow I have guitar class and that’s it. Then a weekend in DC to visit my dear friends who I miss SO MUCH. Can’t wait!