Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How Unexpected Classes Change Your Life

Today I registered for my sophomore year classes and changed my advisor.  These weren't the classes I thought I would take when I came to Reed; they weren't the classes I thought I would take in January.  I was a history-literature prospective major when I entered Reed; I flirted with French and English and Comp Lit (well, General Lit, which is as close as Reed comes).
I suppose I can blame (or thank) my friend Esther for what happened next, for taking me with her to go talk to the incredible Virginia Hancock about signing up for a JS Bach class.  And that class - that intimidating 300-level music class that I was barely qualified for (the prerequisite was sophomore standing) - changed the way I thought about college.
I love my other classes.  I love humanities and French and sometimes I even love bio.  But I am impatient for Tuesdays and Thursdays for the rest of the week.  Even today, I can't wait for one-ten to roll around so I can climb the stairs to the third floor of Eliot and talk about the B Minor Mass.  I love Ginny's teaching, I love the conversations we have, I love that my homework is listening to music and writing about it.
I have always loved music, but somehow in college that love got a little more serious.  I listened to a recording of Shostakovich's Eighth String Quartet with a friend and fell head-over-heels for 20th century composers.  I sat down at the piano on school breaks and late at night in Prexy and labored over Chopin and scales.  I went to every symphony concert I could.
So now I may be a prospective music major.  Maybe English still; I don't know for sure.  What I do know is that all of my classes for next year are classes I can't wait to go to - classes that will have me dancing out of them for joy, classes that require one to go see "Don Giovanni" and read about the history of Argentine Tango.
So, um, thank you, Esther.
And to those of you who are going to be in college next year for the first time - take classes that you don't expect.  It's exhilarating and you may find the thing you love best.

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