Even though I feel like I have been swimming through a sea of performances, lessons, exams, workdays, and papers for something a bit longer than four years, I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that I am (as of a week and a half ago) a college graduate. Graduating from college was always one of those larger-than-life, “That will never be me!” kinds of events. I was perfectly comfortable in my University environment and had never been a huge fan of change. Over the past year or so I had, apparently, been denying the fact that the idyllic days of my undergraduate career had been quickly approaching a halt.
Which is why, during the last months of this semester, I was neck-deep in a pool of reflection. During my last few days of college, I was acutely aware of all of the lasts I encountered. My last lesson with my oboe professor. My last performance in Hill Auditorium. My last class in Angell Hall. With every goodbye, remembrances of my many Michigan firsts crept into my consciousness. My first meeting with my oboe professor when, as a senior in high school, I auditioned for the School. My first performance in Hill Auditorium, where I was so nervous I thought that I might actually have to flee the stage in a fit of terror. My first class in Angell Hall Auditorium D, where I remember wondering whether or not my high school teachers had actually prepared me for college like they had said they were doing.
As much as I would like to think that the rewarding experiences that occurred between my firsts and lasts were the solely the result of my own determination, I can’t help but realize that a much bigger force was behind it all. The University of Michigan, steeped in a legacy of excellence, was the agent that created these experiences for me. Where else could I have found the perfect combination of artistic and academic distinction that I had always craved?
I think it is the huge experiences that we never saw coming (either due to the simple unpredictability of life or our own state of denial) that create such introspection and cause us to give back to a particular effort or institution. Whether it is a reflection of our own appreciation or our desire to ensure that others can have the same experiences, the indelible mark that they leave on our being cannot be ignored.
For the past year, I worked in development at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. This summer, I will continue my work in fundraising at one of the country’s premiere summer performing arts institutions. I look forward to connecting people who have had these larger-than-life experiences in the arts with this particular establishment!