Double-Majoring in Blair
The start of my college experience was far from glamorous. I was enrolled in 16 hours but had class for twice that amount of time. Being a part of a campus that felt off the beaten path and practicing hours a day isolated me and skewed The Commons experience I hoped I would have. I rarely had time to study in my common room with hallmates because practice rooms were sometimes only available late at night, leaving me feeling like I had limited opportunities to connect with others on my floor. While I should have put two and two together prior to pulling up to Hank Ingram house, nothing would prepare me for the busy schedule and difficulty finding balance in my daily life.
Music is such an essential part of who I am, but international work is what I ultimately want to pursue. As a result, one of my primary concerns when applying and auditioning for colleges was whether I could double major. Most faculty laughed about the possibility, but Vanderbilt encouraged it. Blair students declare second majors in anything from HOD to Physics, creating an atmosphere full of artistic, high-achieving individuals focused on a variety of studies in addition to music. That being said, the requirements for both of my majors are overwhelming and I am often discouraged that the possibility of double majoring in Blair was so heavily publicized despite its significant challenges. Regardless, the demanding practice schedule and coursework combined with the location of Blair can very secluding and defined my first few semesters at Vanderbilt.
My first year was especially tiring because I felt ignored and undervalued by the campus. It was not until my sophomore year when I finally began to become involved in VUcept and other organizations on campus that fulfilled my desire to be change agent within my community. As I surrounded myself with likeminded people, I gained a sense of belonging and started to discover real balance between all of my interests. In the midst of rehearsals, classes, and individual hours of practice, I finally identified my priorities in order to devote time to people, activities, and classes I loved.
I think it is often easy to lose a sense of this balance that is crucial for all students. Particularly at a top 15 institution where pressures to be successful, happy, and social are high, it is important to prioritize the things that help students’ mental health. While that may be easier said than done and I still forget myself during particularly strenuous weeks, a healthy mind is of utmost importance; it should be your first priority because embracing your happy self is the key to a successful life.