It’s about time you grew up.

I’ve heard this phrase a lot recently.

At the end of spring semester last school year, I had just finished taking a lot of gen-ed courses, as I was beginning to feel like majoring in music really wasn’t for me. I then decided to go into political science as a precursor to law, which is still my plan. However, when I told people about this, the above phrase was more often than not the reaction I got.

I understand where they’re coming from with this, but the way I see it, it’s really my life to live. If I decided that what I wanted to do for the rest of my life was play my violin, maybe in the New York Philharmonic, what right do they have to judge me based on that? It’s not a maturity thing, it’s a matter of a life decision. There shouldn’t be this reaction of “oh, it’s about time you woke up and went for a REAL degree”, and that’s kind of frustrating.

Maybe it’s because I built up a lot of expectations in high school. I was definitely one of the smartest students in my graduating class, National Merit Scholar, competed nationally in academic competitions, stuff like that, and I think that my teachers really expected great things, like a science degree or something. Sure, a choice of a music major might cause a few raised eyebrows, but it’s not like this was a phase or something. I had played violin for over a decade when I graduated high school, and I didn’t really have a fleshed-out plan for where I wanted to go after college, so I figured why not pick something I’m good at? Sure, it’s not something I really have a passion for, but it’s better than gen-eds for two years. At least there’s some direction.

The way I look at it, going into music was one of the more mature decisions I’ve made. Maybe it wasn’t where I really wanted to be, but it gave my college career some direction, and that was important. To belittle that, especially since music is still something I really do love, really belittles me as an adult. Sure, maybe changing majors does show that I’ve changed as a person, but is that maturity or just simply a refocus of where I want to be?

Sometimes, it seems like it’s just about success. Part of the problem people have with majoring in music is that it’s very limited as far as careers. There’s not a lot you can do to get a well-paying job in the field, at least not without a performance degree or a music education degree. Generalized music study doesn’t really go far. Compare this to law school, where you’re getting recruited the minute you start your last year of study. There’s definitely some kind of dichotomy here, no doubt about it.

The issue I have is that it seems like people are equating success with maturity. “Oh, AJ’s going into music? Well, what’s he planning to do with the rest of his life? He needs to grow up and move on to something where he can make some money.” I thought about that when I went into music. I knew going in that there were very limited career opportunities, and I didn’t have a problem with that. Yet, now that I’m on a path that will likely lead to a fairly well-paying job and probably a career, people are acting like I just didn’t have a clue when I started college. It’s a little frustrating.

Anyway, enough on this rant. There’s not a lot happening in my life right now – I’ve had a summer job, 40 hours a week indoors in the air conditioning, which is nice – and gearing up to head back to college in a couple weeks. Hopefully will have more to say then.

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