It’s hard to believe I’m already done the second year of my university degree. Heck, it’s hard to believe that it’s nearly June!
Looking back on the past year, I can see that I have grown immensely in many ways. I feel like first year was for dipping my feet and testing the waters and trying to get comfortable in a totally new environment, whereas this year has been about exploring and expanding in my now-familiar community in Vancouver.
I have become a much better harpist and musician this year; pieces that would have given me headaches trying to learn before I can pick up in a few weeks! I learned a lot about how to practice properly and how not to become sabotaged by stage fright. I successfully played an opera (and the maestro said we were the best student harpists he’d ever worked with!) and greatly improved my ensemble playing skills. I was also able to join the Gamelan Ensemble and experience the music of another country while learning from of the best gamelan players in the world.
Academically, I learned a lot about the various subjects I studied and kept my grades high, and also about myself. For example, I realized that I absolutely detest writing papers. I would rather go learn Wagner’s Magic Fire Music with a bazillion pedal changes than write another paper! I rejoice at the fact that I don’t actually have to write any more for the rest of the degree! (This is also a reason why I feel that pursuing a Masters degree might not be for me…)
This year I also gained a lot of responsibility and maturity while living on my own. I can buy my own groceries, cook, clean, pay my hydro bill, set up home internet, and unclog the toilet all on my own, while also balancing school and my social life! I’m quite proud of myself for this, actually. I really enjoyed having that kind of control over my daily life, and it feels a bit weird being at home where most of that control is in my parents’ hands. Not bad, exactly, just kind of strange.
The friends I made in first year became even closer friends this year. It was slightly more effort to see each other since I had to hop on a bus to see most of them instead of walking down the hall, but we made it work. My friends and I also started playing Dungeons and Dragons in second term (because yes, we are nerds, although I prefer the term “awesome”) and it was a blast – it’s like playing pretend for grownups and it meant that we got together regularly to hang out!
One of the best things I did for myself this year was take Mindfulness classes through counselling services in Brock Hall. It helped me a lot in how I deal with stressful situations (no more meltdowns!) and has actually improved my general outlook in my day-to-day life.
In terms of involvement, I feel like I slacked a little. I was part of the Knitting and Sewing Club and I also joined the Yoga Club (which has helped my fitness in no small way), I took part in some promotional photo shoots, and attend the Student Leadership Conference, but I feel like I could have done more. I didn’t feel quite as connected, so next year I plan to try to find another involvement activity that will make me feel more of a part of the UBC community.
Overall, this year was amazing. It passed in a blur that simultaneously felt like an incredibly long time and just a few weeks. It was not without challenges, but when we are challenged is when we grow the most and realize how strong we actually are. This year was rewarding and special, and I can’t believe I only get two more of them.
2 Responses to Second Year in Review
Hello Samantha! I’ve been reading your blog lately and I just want to say that you inspire me so much. I read your posts about feeling nervous, making mistakes, and about anxiety and I feel I can relate. I’m in band and orchestra as well. I’m looking to go to UBC for music in the future too.
I have a two questions, if you dont mind. :( What are the classes at UBC like? And are you likely to be in the same classes with the same group of students throughout the year?
And did you find the environment to be encouraging? I’ve only been learning my instrument for two years… and I’m afraid I won’t be accepted by other students. In my band, I try my best but I always feel others don’t want me there because I’m not as talented them.
Sorry if the questions seem.. childish. I know I want to experience music, but at the same time, I’m afraid.
Hey, you don’t sound childish at all. It’s totally natural to feel nervous. To answer your questions, the classes were definitely more involved than in high school, but I found that if you put in the required work then doing well is very attainable. In the faculty of music, you’ll be with mostly the same students in most of your classes, except for electives (classes outside the school of music). You’ll definitely start recognizing faces quickly.
I also believe that the atmosphere at UBC is very encouraging; it definitely sounds much less competitive than other schools I’ve heard about. My teacher (and most other teachers I’ve heard other students talking about) are very supportive of their students and want you to succeed, and are there to help you improve your skills. If you work hard it will definitely show. Sometimes when I would play in ensembles, I would feel inferior, but it was all in my head. I realized after a while that no one was out to get me, and that we are all students here to learn and that everyone makes mistakes. Practice good rehearsal etiquette (show up on time with your part prepared, listen, and fix mistakes when they happen so they don’t happen the next time) and everyone will be very happy to have you in their ensemble.
If you’re still feeling anxious, you can leave another comment using your real email address (I don’t know if the one you used this time is your real one) and I can shoot you an email and we can talk over the summer. :) Hope this helps!