With a crazy amount of class credits, inconveniences in transportation, a constant worry about social integration at each school, and thoughts about the practical future, the Hopkins-Peabody dual degree has really got me thinking.

It seems that each of us (dual degree students) tends to gravitate towards a certain area of interest: academics or music. And while we carry these pursuits side by side, one of them seems to be of greater importance. For me, at this time and place, it’s the Hopkins side of things.

For me, this poses the question of:

Why am I pursuing a degree in music?

If I’m already pursuing another degree in something that seems more practical and enjoyable to me, what role does music have in my life? Why do I feel the need to get an official degree in saxophone performance when music is one of those things that anyone can just pick up? Besides, being in an acapella group seems like it would satiate my musical desires (and in truth, it does). So why try and pursue something I’m not as passionate about, especially if it detracts from the academic performance I want to achieve for future plans?

By no means do I have answers to any of these questions, but through talking with other dual degree students and musicians, I’ve gotten a better understanding of what it means to be where I currently am.

Like many others, I’ve been playing music from a really early age. For all of us, it seems to start unwillingly, but as we grow older, music becomes more than enjoyable. It becomes a(n) activity lifestyle we just can’t leave behind. Pursuing this bachelor’s degree doesn’t only mean that I get continuity with something that I love, it allows me to transcend and enrich an aspect of myself that I hold so very close.

While in the moment, practicing for hours on end for an upcoming lesson and doing tomorrow’s music theory homework are such daunting tasks, they’re helping me to become a better musician, and in turn, a better person. I’ve just been so worried about the practicality of what I’m doing here in college, and I’ve forgotten that a big part of why I’m doing music is for me.

If anything, I’m more than grateful to be where I currently am. At the beginning of the semester, I complained about how I wasn’t getting the typical college experience but it’s because I’m not that I’ve been able to find out of the box opportunities (such as research between music and neuroscience). My time here at Hopkins and Peabody has been humbling and enriching, and for what I want and plan to do, I wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else.