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Sydney Menees

The Rest of My Life

November 18, 2009 at 9:13 PM

 I’ve reached the final stretch of the first semester of sophomore year in college.  Here at Bard, this is a critical time because we are supposed to moderate into our major.  When I was stressing about what to major in last year, people I spoke with who didn’t go to Bard didn’t understand why it was such a big deal.  “I changed my major seven times!” They would say.  Not so here.  When one declares a major as a freshman, it is simply an “intended” major.  When one moderates, it becomes her official major.  Moderating entails writing a paper responding to a prompt pertaining to one’s intended major and presenting it to a board of three professors.  Now you understand my dilemma.

When I first came to Bard, I had only ruled out one major: music.  This wasn’t because I was jaded or bitter, but simply because I view music as a hobby of mine, not something I want to pursue as a career.  Now, just to decide what I wanted to major in…  Freshman year, I took classes in the Political Science, Math, Biology, Writing, and Music departments trying to find something.  Sometime in the second semester, I decided I wanted to be a doctor.  Yes!  Career choice figured out!  Now what major?!  Some people think you need to be a Biology major to be a doctor, but to go to Medical School, one only needs to fulfill certain class requirements; the major does not matter.  The choice left up to me, I decided to major in my hobby: music.  I am pleased with my decision because I will be taking music classes every semester anyway and it has given me so much incentive to practice!  In order to moderate into music, I can either write a music history paper or give a recital that is at least a half hour.  I have also chosen to moderate first semester junior year instead of next semester.  I am relieved to have all this planned out (finally) and I am genuinely excited about all of it!  Now I just have to get perfect grades.  Ha.

From Michael Divino
Posted on November 18, 2009 at 11:51 PM

CONGRATULATIONS!  I will be in college soon as an (intended) music major (hopefully).

From Karen Allard
Posted on November 19, 2009 at 12:07 AM

 As a doctor, I can tell you that you definitely do not need to be a science major to apply to medical school.  You do have to do very well on your premed requirements - biology, general and organic chemistry, and physics in my day.  Medical schools want to see people with a demonstrated aptitude in science, obviously; however they also want well-rounded people who can relate to a broad segment of people.  You will have plenty of science education in medical school and beyond - now is a great time to explore your other interests and loves.  I wish I had spent more time in college studying the things I liked in addition to science.  I didn't have a chance to even read about history, art, etc until I finished 12 years of training (college, med school, and residency).  I've been done with my training for about 10 years and now I've been exploring other interests, like taking up the violin.  Good luck!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on November 19, 2009 at 12:59 AM

Cool, here you have big advantages if you have done sciences. They take just very  occasionnally someone from "arts" or social sciences.


From Joel Ang
Posted on November 19, 2009 at 3:58 AM

 As a physician, music and medicine are a great match. I faced a similar decision many years ago at Duke and am now in private practice in Washington DC. By day I'm a physician, by night a violinist. I think you can have the best of both worlds and there are many skills as a musician that I use daily as a physician and even vice versa. I am now the assistant concertmaster of an excellent community orchestra here and even travel around the world with the World Doctors Orchestra playing for charity. Check out and also a recent national article on me and music in Family Practice News and Internal Medicine News.

From Sydney Menees
Posted on November 19, 2009 at 6:08 AM

I'm very glad to be "meeting" doctors here on!  Thanks for the Doctor's Orchestra link - very cool.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on November 19, 2009 at 12:30 AM

Sydney, first, it's good to hear from you again.  Next, I've never heard of the system (moderation)  you described at the college level.  It reminds me of the program I was in when I was in grad school.  They had a form of torture known as "admission to candidacy," which determined whether or not you could continue for a PhD.  You had to write a fake grant proposal for a research project in an area in which you were not already doing research.  That proposal had better be good.  Several professors gatherd to ask you questions about your proposal and then in any other aspects of your field (mine was biochemistry).  It was hard to prepare for the oral test because you had to know everything about everything.  The profs knew that this would be one of the last times that they could interrogate you this way, so they did it wholeheartedly.  If you bring up the subject with anyone with a PhD who had a similar type of oral exam, you will touch old, deep pains.  I certainly wish you good luck in your moderations.

You made some good choices.  You'll go to med school, and I hope that works well for you.  In addition, with a music major, you'll have the time to pursue something you really love.  I hope your good choices turn into very good experiences for you.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on November 19, 2009 at 2:10 PM

Your decisions seems sound to me as a parent.  As others have pointed out, there is no reason you cannot get into med school with a music major so long as you have taken the pre-med courses.  Plus, you may not ever again have the opportunity to pursue your hobby in such a profound and broad way.  Good luck!

From Philanthi Koslowski
Posted on November 19, 2009 at 4:43 PM

OR you may decide to continue on in music. Never say never ;-)

Aaaahhhhh to be young again--if I only knew then what I know now.......

From E. Smith
Posted on November 19, 2009 at 5:08 PM

 Congratulations! I've always loved reading your blogs and I'm glad you are following your passion. My husband was a pre-med music major in college, too (he became a neurologist.) He never planned to go into music professionally but it's been a life-long love of his. (He's not a violinist-- he plays keyboards and his major was theory & composition.)

From Drew Lecher
Posted on November 20, 2009 at 5:17 AM

Wonderful blog, Sydney. I am going to forward the link to my studio.

All the best, D.

From Cara Garofalo
Posted on November 25, 2009 at 5:54 AM

I'm glad you chose music :) Best of luck to you!

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