Looking back, this has been a year full of personal growth and introspection. I started the year figuring the adjustment to college wouldn’t be too much of a change, seeing as I had already gone to school away from home for three years, but I’ve never lived in a big city before...and, you know, New York is a pretty big city.
Being at Juilliard and living in New York has made me more observant, mindful, and confident, and while I still have a ways to go, I’ve realized that the resources that both school and the city have to offer will be so valuable in furthering my personal growth. Last year, when I was choosing schools, I had trouble deciding between going to a university or a conservatory because I have a wide range of interests outside of music, but I wasn’t ready to sacrifice that conservatory level of commitment. By choosing to come here, though, I was able to focus on music, but I also had the option to explore other options outside of school. Being that it’s my first year, I obviously wanted to focus on just adjusting to school and testing out the waters, but this semester, I was finally able to start expanding my horizons and trying new things. Granted, it was HARD. It was really really difficult to add on more obligations on top of being a conservatory student, but I think one of the biggest things I learned this year is that I can do anything if I really commit to it. (It just takes a LOT of commitment.)
Despite feeling sometimes overwhelmed with everything, I realized the importance of having good people in my life, so I’ve been making an effort to interact more with the people who really matter to me. I’ve made some really wonderful friends here, but I’m also trying to have friends at other New York schools so I’ll get out more. I’m not much of a Skype-r or talker, really, but I try to text and write letters to my friends who live farther away, and I overall feel happier because I’ve created this little ring of people who are important to me and who make me a better person.
Making music with people who are as committed as you are is an incredible experience, and I found myself having an unforgettable time playing with both old and new friends. Outside of music, it was fun meeting and growing closer to other musicians as well as dancers, actors, and students from other schools. I also became well-acquainted with the occasional late-night dessert run and the 8:59 am elevator rush with familiar faces.
Overall, it’s been a very hard, very long, very tiring year, but I’m still in awe that I get to go to school here. I only have to look out the window or walk by a practice room to be reminded that I’m so, so fortunate to be here. It goes without saying that I’ve learned a ton, and I’m excited to see what next year and the rest of my Juilliard experience will bring!