Tuesday, March 01, 2005


I am in a class that meets once per week to prepare me for my dissertation proposal. With the end of these @#$% exams, the next steps are to finish up coursework & get cracking on the proposal so I can start collecting data next fall.

This class is a wonderful opportunity because the professor essentially argues with us about our topics (which helps me a great deal), and my colleauges and I can be generally supportive to each other. The class size is a little too big: there are 16 of us, plus the professor, but it's a good opportunity nonetheless.

Today I heard from a couple of friends who discussed their topics in the areas of college choice, social & cultural capital, and other factors in the undergraduate and graduate school experiences that shape our lives. Normally when I hear these topics I have flashbacks to my own college experience. Today I had a different flashback......it was to high school, my senior year to be exact. Some of my HS buddies had applied for early acceptance programs at a variety of schools (about 97.9999% of my high school went to college...it was practically an expectation there), but I did not because I was applying to music schools, and I had to audition. The auditions were not until February or March, so I was busy practicing piano for like 4 hours per day, preparing an audition tape, etc. when some others that I knew were mailing out applications hither & yon.

Anyhow, the five main songs I auditioned with were POUNDING through my head throughout class today, and I haven't thought about a couple of these pieces in years (do understand my auditions were in the spring of 1989, so it's been a little while). I'm not sure why I'm sharing this, other than to express that the funniest things can come into or out of our brains when we're in a class setting that helps us explore things as personal as our dissertation topics. I guess part of the graduate school experience involves some self-reflection...sometimes that's good, and sometimes it's difficult. Today it was good; that was a time in my life where I felt like I could play any piece I set my mind to playing.

I do miss playing regularly, though: I cannot say that I can play "anything" anymore, as I'm out of practice in comparison. However, I'm grateful to be going through this degree program with a piano in the house: sometimes that's been a saving grace from stress or general frustration with life. Piano has always been my greatest escape and self battery-recharger. I guess that's why I couldn't stand to go into music for my career.

More later, perhaps. Time to get Son ready for bed.

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