Hope: a sneak-peek into my anticipated future

by kattiewampus

I’m not really the sort of person who likes to publicly share about things before they are certainties, so I’ll admit that I have some mixed feelings about this post. But my excitement is winning out over the caution of knowing that my plans could change, that there are no guarantees this new direction will actually pan out for me.

For those of you who have been with me from the beginning of this blog, you already know that the question of grad school has been a recurring theme for me. I’ve been chasing the idea of grad school for awhile now, without really getting anywhere because I could not find the program that was “just right.”

Until a few weeks ago, that is.

In one of my random moments of browsing grad programs for music on the interwebs, I found THIS. And as I scrolled through the list, I found a program that I had never heard of before, except in my dreams of “If I could design the perfect graduate program for myself, this would be it.”

Music and Human Learning.

It’s not Musicology. It’s not Music Education. It’s not Music History & Literature. It’s not Music Theory. It’s not Music Therapy.



In all of my searching for the “perfect” program, I have never come across one that seemed like such a good fit, that elicited such a strong response of interest and enthusiasm in me.

The Master of Music in Music and Human Learning has two different track options and I’m trying to decide which one is the “better fit” for my academic style. There is the 36 hour one, which means taking more classes, or the 30 hour one, which means writing a thesis. I want to take more classes AND write a thesis!

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The proof of how confident I feel about this being the next step is two-fold: 1) the idea of relocating to Austin, Texas for a few years strangely does not bother me and actually sounds really exciting (if you have ever heard me talk about my attachment to California, then you will immediately understand the significance of this statement), 2) for the past three days, I’ve been reading the graduate handbook for the Butler School of Music. I’m currently on page 45 (“Master’s Recitals, Theses, and Reports”) out of 94 pages. Just call me Hermione Granger! But seriously, I’m a nerd but I’m not nerdy enough to read through an entire graduate handbook for a program unless I’m legitimately interested, beyond just a casual in-passing curiosity. I’m hooked (UNINTENTIONAL PUN! MORE PROOF!). Perhaps a third reason I could mention is that I now have no interest in applying anywhere else. Before, I had a few schools in mind but no strong leaning one way or another, and the draw for several of the schools was the prestige of the school itself, rather than true interest in their specific program. But with the Music and Human Learning program at UT Austin, I feel like I don’t even have any say in the matter. There is just a really strong sense that this is what I’m supposed to do next.

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The graduate handbook

I’m figuring out my game plan now. The idea is to apply for Fall 2015 admission. This is going to be the summer of the GRE, with the goal of taking it early in the fall so I can submit my scores before the December 1 application deadline. In the next few weeks, I’m going to start contacting some of my undergrad music instructors for letters of recommendation (hopefully they’ll remember me well enough to write a letter of recommendation!) Starting now, I have a little bit less than a year and a half to prepare for the music history and music theory diagnostic exams, which are part of the entrance requirements if I am accepted. I wonder if my community college would let me audit some of their music history and music theory classes to help the review process?

Side tangent: can someone please offer some clarity regarding the following picture?

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What kind of pronoun is “ze”? I’m really confused about this.

I feel excited, inspired, motivated, ready to do this. Before, when I would consider grad school, it was “Well, maybe this… maybe that… oops, the application deadline is three weeks away.” But this time around, I feel like I discovered this program at just the right time to start working toward it. In contrast to the previous dilemma of wondering what the rest of my life is supposed to look like, I feel like I have a goal to work toward now, even if it’s just for the next few years. It often seems like God reveals his plans for us in stages, and it feels like he is showing me the steps toward the next stage of my life. I could be wrong. I’m very conscious of the old adage, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans for the future,” or however it goes. But I also believe that God wants us to actively pursue the passions and gifts that he has given us, and he will open or close doors accordingly. When I think about pursuing this program, I feel excited about it, but I feel something even stronger and more significant than just excitement: I feel hope.


Hook ’em, Horns!