What Juilliard Means to Me
What does Juilliard mean to me? Though my Juilliard career is just beginning, I feel like I already have so much to say about the impact the school has made on me. My first week of orientation and classes has left me feeling like I could write a novel about what Juilliard is and what I think it will be over the next four years. To keep from rambling, I’ve broken it down into three parts.
Just Starting Out: Juilliard is like new school supplies!
Everyone who has ever experienced a first day of school knows what it’s like to have a fresh start – new teachers, new classes, new friends, new supplies, etc. Especially if you’ve ever started at a new school, you feel as though you are a different person: Your story is yours to write. I feel similarly about my start at Juilliard. The first weeks are ‘new-pencil smell’ and ‘empty-notebook optimism’. Arriving at school here is nothing like I have ever experienced before. I am starting on a clean slate. Juilliard is allowing me to define myself based on my art and my work ethic. I no longer hold the weight of a bad math test or a mean high school history teacher. My story is just waiting to be written on my brand new notebook!
We are fa-mi-ly: Juilliard means community:
I’m from a mile-wide city of 5,000 people, so I know a thing or two about tight-knit communities. I was hearing the word community a lot during the application process, auditions, during the summer, and even during my arrival at Juilliard, but I don’t think I understood the significance of community in my daily life at Juilliard. I knew I would make friends, but I didn’t see how I could be so ‘buddy-buddy’ with people I would be competing with every day (I think this is a common misconception about Juilliard amongst people who have never been here). Because the Juilliard name is so prestigious, people misinterpret high-standards for cutthroat competition, diva tantrums, and rigidness. Once you visit for the first time, however, you see that this is far from the truth. In the eleven days I’ve been here, I have never met such kind, colorful, and collaborative people in my life. What I failed to recognize, is that once you receive your acceptance from Juilliard, THE COMPETITION IS OVER (at least for now)! It is no longer survival of the fittest, because we’ve all made it to the top! We can focus on learning from each other instead of being in constant competition. Juilliard is a very loving and nurturing community to grow as a performing artist!
Work hard, play hard: Juilliard is challenging:
Now that I am a Juilliard student, I am finally getting all of the things I have wanted since I was 10 years old – I am studying the greatest profession, in the greatest city in the world, with some of the world’s greatest teachers that exist. Much like the process of being accepted to Juilliard, however, this does not come without challenges. To be the best, you have try your best (and boy am I learning that quickly). Already, I have been pushed to try new things that make me incredibly uncomfortable and it has been a beautiful learning process. Because of the small class sizes the faulty is able to assess a student’s individual skillset and target the specific points for improvement. On day two, I had a professor reach out to me already and offer additional help on a specific subject that he could tell I was struggling with. Not because he thinks I’m dumb or because he wants to expose my deficiencies, but because he (and all of the other teachers) are looking out for what is in my best interest. I am receiving the best training from people who want me to be the best I can be! Juilliard is an extraordinary place to be an artist because it challenges you to step far out of your comfort zone.
In Conclusion: What does Juilliard Mean to Me?
So what does Juilliard really mean to me? Juilliard is a fresh start, a fabulous community, and a great challenge, and much more! JUILLIARD IS A WELL-ROUNDED EDUCATION! Despite having my specific area of study, I am gaining social skills, study habits, communication, diversity, English study, foreign-language study, teamwork, and a plethora of other things in addition to my musical skills. I am so lucky to belong to such a wonderful institution that means so much to me even in the little time I’ve been here!