Columns / Discourse / April 7, 2011

Girl Meets World: Thoughts from a graduating senior

If Knox let you declare more than two minors, I would be two credits away from having four. While graduating with minors in Gender and Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Music and Philosophy, if I’ve earned them, doesn’t sound unreasonable to me, technicalities forced me to make a decision earlier this year. Having already completed my Gender and Women’s Studies minor, I could: take Philosophy 101 to finish a minor in Philosophy, take Black Studies 101 to finish a minor in Black Studies or tackle Music Theory I and II to finish the Music minor. As is usual for my personality, I dove in.

Not to belittle the difficulty of Philosophy or Black Studies, but I would like to see a Physics major identify what type of chordal suspension Celine Dion uses in “My Heart Will Go On” and what chord progression makes that Smashmouth song we all remember the words to 10 years later so damn catchy. The decision to sign up for Music Theory has brought me the gift of two terms of a five-day-a-week class, in addition to weekly meetings with the T.A. and my one-on-one tutor, bless their hearts. I sit in this class of less than ten students, all of whom are currently in audition-necessary ensembles at the college, and try to giggle at the appropriate moments when nerdy music jokes are made that are way over my head. (All of my corny Freudian psychology jokes are useless on the second floor of CFA.)

In all honesty, I haven’t been able to bring myself to continue the voice lessons I’ve taken at Knox ever since my fall term freshman year since my voice teacher passed away this past summer. Mark was someone who had unconditional faith in me, and truly made me comfortable to be myself while pushing me to be the best I could be musically. Without someone to talk to about the cobblestone streets in downtown Vienna, I haven’t been too willing to open up my voice, an art so personal, to someone else. One of the two most influential mentors I had in high school was my choir teacher. Mike Rugen made us write out 100 things we wanted to do in our lives before they were over, as a written assignment for our freshman girls’ chorus class with him. I spent four years collecting as many life lessons from him as I could, and ten days in Europe exploring Mozart’s apartment in Vienna and singing in the Duomo in Milan appreciating how lenient he was with my rule-bending.

I have learned too much from the people who have shared music with me to not show some gratitude and respect, and I’m never one to take the easy way out. I am two whole terms over in credits needed; I didn’t even need to be on campus this past winter term in order to graduate on time. I don’t need a second minor and everyone keeps telling me I’m never going to use my minors in real life, and no one is ever going to care or ask what I minored in anyway. I disagree. Anytime someone asks for an example of a time when I had to persevere, when I really worked toward a personal goal, I am going to tell them about 6/4 chords. Upon graduating, I will hopefully understand some nerdy music jokes about Stravinsky and will definitely be certain that sometimes doing something just for yourself is a lot more worthwhile and rewarding than anything that will actually make it on to my resume.

Arianna Timko

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