School starts tomorrow and it's hard to believe that it's been 12 months since I was the new first year who had no idea what I was in for. Well I did have an idea. Just not an accurate one. Going up to campus today to practice and prepare for exams and auditions that happen the first week of school, I was surprised at how much I noticed all the "newbies" who are wandering about campus with their group leaders or with their faces glued to a map looking a little lost and overwhelmed. I started thinking about my last 12 months here in Vancouver and my time spent at UBC and I found myself wondering, do any of these kids know what they are in for? How many will stay, how many will leave. How many will disappear into the libraries never to been seen again and how many will disappear into the parties. How many will master the balance between socializing and studying. What group did I fit into? Did I fit into any of those groups?
I came to UBC completely sure of how I was going to manage and pretty much sure and focused that it was going to be like highschool, just that it would be harder and it would all mostly focus on things related to music. I would be the odd one out again and I would just do my own thing and not really care about what went on around me and just be a "good" student by attending classes......or at least doing the work. Or doing other work. Either in class or in a practice room so it didn't seem like I was a slacker just skipping out (even if that's really what i was doing...).
I was not prepared at all for the amount of warmth and welcome I received in my first year. I never thought I could grow to trust people so quickly or to not feel like every step I took at school was like walking egg shells, trying to not break them with my weight. I feel comfortable in my environment. I feel challenged. I feel motivated (most of the time......). I feel excited to be learning. Each day is a new adventure. I learn a bit more about myself and the people around me. It's an interesting journey that can throw you a curve ball at any moment, sometimes with disasterous results and sometimes you hit a home run. I often found myself taking a leap of faith and jumping blindly with two feet in front of me. It's a scary feeling and you always hope for the best, no matter what.
So, after a year of new experiences, new people, new achievements, new foods, a new sense of self, I wonder what the first years this year will experience and how they will change over the course of the year. Are they going to hit a home run at the end of it all or will they strike out ?
Revisit Violinist.com editor Laurie Niles' coverage from Canada of the 2013 Montreal International Musical Competition, including her interview with gold medalist Marc Bouchkov.
Kelsey Zachary is from Vancouver, Canada. Biography
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