6 Thoughts About the First 2 Months of College

Goodness gracious, this is the ultimate procrastination post. I have a meeting in 3 hours, a piece due tomorrow, a paper due Wednesday, and a life to get under control… but it’s fine. I’m here anyway because it’s time for some thoughts. 

  1. Mental Space. I have never worried when people said I was “spreading myself too thin”, although many of my peers and mentors expressed concerns. I did a lot of things in high school, but I loved every single one of them and couldn’t bear to give them up. This isn’t to say that college has changed my mindset, but rather, I’ve learned that not only do you have to be considerate of your physical space, time, and energy limitations, but also your mental limitations. Although I technically have four hours every day to write or practice, often I find I can’t concentrate or sit still long enough to get done what needs to get done. Instead, I need to grab some hot chocolate with a friend or take a nap or watch House of Cards (I’m almost done yikes what am I going to do next??). And that’s okay. Mental health is something I’m becoming increasingly aware of as I learn how much I can or can’t handle, and how much I need to let my mind relax. 
  2. My roommate. I absolutely love her, and I just felt the need to document a few phrases I’ve picked up from her in the past 2 months: “AAAAAAHHHH”, “Sorry my side of the room looks like Hiroshima”, “Do re me fa sol la si do sol me do”, and “Lol pure garbage” are some of my favorites. Also, thank you for introducing me to dry shampoo. I am eternally grateful.
  3. Laundry. I will never fully understand how there are always dirty clothes that need to be washed. 
  4. Fitting in? What even is fitting in? Who am I supposed to fit in with? The other composers? The pianists? Whatever context I find myself in, I’ve noticed that I’m usually extremely aware of the other “hats” I like to wear. Imagine if my left arm is classical piano and my right arm is clarinet. When I’m hanging out with my brilliant clarinetist roommate, I feel like my right arm fits perfectly into our conversations and friendship. But my left arm feels huge, like it keeps running into things. But then when I’m with the pianists, I feel the exact same thing. So what do I do? At Interlochen, I was lucky enough to find people just like me (except completely more amazing), and I wish I could say I was becoming 100% comfortable with all my metaphorical physical deformities in college. But to be completely honest, I struggle with fitting in every single day. I know it’ll get better, but it has definitely been a big learning point.
  5. Rochester. It’s cold, somewhat sketchy, but at least we have good coffee shops.
  6. New experiences. At last week’s choir concert, I had a friend approach me and tell me I “looked like I LOVE to sing.” This particular pal knows me mostly in a social context, outside of my composition or piano or anything, so I was completely shocked by his comment. I responded after hesitating with something along the lines of, “I just love music,” which is 100% true. I got similar comments after people saw me play piano in The Last Five Years on the University of Rochester’s River Campus, and I think the combination of all these new performing opportunities with the constant immersion in musics that are unfamiliar to me have taught me that I absolutely love music. Bottom line. It’s taught me about my musical preferences, my tendencies, and my approach to music, but ultimately, it’s taught me that I am so incredibly lucky to live in a world in which we can make sounds and it means something to people. Have a wonderful day :)
ThoughtsReagan Casteel