Friday, December 13, 2013

New Feature: The College Experience

>>  A few of us here at The Music Obsession covered the CMJ Music Marathon for the first time this year.  It was amazing and insane and wonderful all at the same time.  We were surrounded by people with similar interests and pursuits, interesting panels, showcases, and more.  It was wild.  I attended some engaging panels, two of which being Journalism in the New Media World and The New Curators.  In these panels, industry professionals gave their thoughts on the changes they've seen through social media and the increasing popularity of blogs and bloggers.  There were moments in both panels that touched upon the same point or two - the digital age has made it SO easy for anyone to get involved.  In that spirit, it's important that if you have passion, you SHOULD get involved, and the sooner the better.  Some panelists stated that getting an education was important, but starting to create a foundation for your resume / career / life as soon as possible is key since there are now so many opportunities for others to do so.  In order to get involved in the music industry, you have to make a point to get yourself involved.

>> This really resonated with me.  I took it as an affirmation of my decision to take my uncle's advice and start this blog in 2008, when I was 15.  Looking back, I would have been hopeless without this outlet of mine.  I'm currently in my third year at NYU, and I couldn't be happier.  But I've always found it funny that "we" are "told" to go to college so that we can get a job, but in order to actually get a job, we need experience, and in order to gain experience, we need to get a job or an internship.  It's a weird circle that is somehow supposed to lead to happiness.  So here I am, a junior in an amazing university based in the heart of New York City, and I'm thrilled. Really, I am.  But at the same time I've been curious about what led other people to come here, or to pursue their dreams of being involved in the music industry somehow.  Initially I never expected my blog to go anywhere, but it did, and it made me realize that this is what I've always wanted.  So, for those who are aware of the pressures and competition of the schooling atmosphere, what fuels their decisions?  I'm almost constantly overwhelmed in the best ways between school work, shows, interviews, exams, setting up interviews or acoustic sessions, projects, editing videos, assigning show coverage or reviews, and the like.  It's insane!  So, based on my own struggle to keep my head above water and the particular panels I happened to attend at CMJ while I may or may not have been skipping class, it hit me - This is the new college experience.

>> I'm certainly not alone in the struggle to balance homework and getting to class on time with event coverage, interviews, reviews, internships, and more.  In the spirit of shamelessly promoting my friends and others in the same boat, this new feature was born.  The College Experience is my way of discussing the pros and cons of taking steps to have a career while still being a student, or how the desire to be involved with the music industry interfered with the pursuit of a degree.  I'll be asking a selection of folks the same basic questions, such as their school, their role in the industry, their struggles, and their goals.  I'll also ask about each person's individual projects, whether they are photographers, musicians, aspiring publicists, writers, promoters, and the like. I think it'll be interesting to see how each of us deals with the difficulties of balancing  and prioritizing the various obstacles we face as students with big ambitions.

>> Before I start posting the interviews, I want to kick this off by showing a college experience that Sheila and I had this week - finals week.  It was more brutal than we had expected, and one paper in particular was causing us anguish.  Sheila should be a professional playlist / mixtape creator, and proof of that is the finals playlist she put together for us to power through that troublesome paper.  It started out as an hour and a half in length, but it gradually expanded to the glorious 44 track list that is is now.  The last three tracks are key: "We Did It" from Dora the Explorer, "In The End" by Linkin Park, and "Nookie" by Limp Bizkit.  In essence, once we finished our papers, we got to celebrate with the following: We did it! And in the end, we did it all for the nookie.  The playlist seems strange, containing songs from High School Musical, Nickelback, and Backstreet Boys among others, but it got us through the paper better than anything else could have.  So, here's to the power of music.  
Here's to the college experience.

- Kate Russell

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