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  • Writer's pictureAlaina Chester

Being Relentless

As today is decision day for most graduate students I thought I would share my results as well.

The thing about auditioning at only two schools is that it’s disturbingly likely to not get in to two schools. And yes, that’s what happened to your homegirl!

Could I have gotten in to either of these schools? 100% yes I believe so, but this wasn’t the year for me to do that. I knew this would be a risky year.

Here is my list of excuses for only applying to two schools:


-Not wanting to compromise quality of school

-False sense of security

-Hidden expectations that actually weren’t hiding very well

-I am only 24, brains aren’t fully developed until 25

What happens when things don’t go how you planned?

You recalibrate the situation. Figure out what the next step is for you, and take it. When going after your dream life it’s important to be relentless. I’ve been learning this over and over again (mainly through self-help books because I can’t afford therapy). Being relentless about your goals will lead to success in one way or another. Oprah says!

So what does that look like for me?

It means Grad Auditions Round 3. It means not settling for less than what I know I am capable of achieving and learning, on my own or when it comes to school.

Grad school is a hugely expensive decision to make and nobody wants to take out more loans. I already have a gross amount….but now I’m coming to accept that I can’t orchestrate fortunate financial situations: if I want to go to a school that’s good for me, and obviously I wouldn’t be bopping about if I didn’t, then I need to go for it no matter what it costs and hope Congress does something about that later. Or also hope for a good job, lolz. Most people my age are drowning in debt we’ll never pay anyway. That’s just the reality right now and I’m starting to come to terms with it.

So what if it takes me another year? I feel like I have been practicing more efficiently and improving faster than I ever have. This is probably the best I’ve sounded.

This is also the best I’ve ever felt. I’ve gained back a lot of confidence by stepping away from bad situations. And now I am out for blooooooood!

If I let this knock me off my path as a musician, then I would need to seriously rethink my career goals. The more I learn to bounce back from rejection, the easier my life will be taking audition after audition for actual jobs. In the grand scheme of things, this is such a small hiccup even if it didn’t seem like it when I first got the news.

I’ve said this many times before, but I want my master’s to be more than a piece of paper. I want a positive experience that will set me up for success. One where I won’t be selling myself short just for a quick degree, especially since this is already something I’ll be paying off for probably the rest of my life. I do still believe in myself, maybe even more now that I’m proving I can make a life in music. I don’t feel the rush. I’ll get the degree when I get it. In the meantime, I’m enjoying learning from these experiences, working on projects, and making money.

My biggest worry about not being in school, in terms of playing, is endurance. Since I’m not able to really play during most of my work day, my endurance isn't what it used to be. I do have ideas to make this better. They definitely involve embouchure pushups in my car with a paperclip (shout out to LS).

If you’re wondering, “What will she do now?” I already have an answer and plan to write about it soon. But for now, know that I’m really excited about gap year number 2!

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