Archive for the ‘About Me’ Category

Story Time

Three weeks ago, I (and a very kind soul) traveled from central Ohio to the Rockies. It was a little over a 20-hour drive, with the largest stretch of the trip going through Kansas. If you don’t know anything about driving through Kansas, it is one of the longest, most monotonous drives known to man. Probably. There is very little in the way of “civilization,” being mostly filled with grain, corn, and other agricultural endeavors.

No hard feelings, Kansas

At one point in the afternoon, we had been driving for about 8 hours, with 5 more to go, and were running low on fuel. Plus I had unfortunately consumed a little too much Cherry Coke Zero…so we decided it was time for a pit stop. There was just one problem with our plan – Kansas hates gas stations.

We got off at an exit that had a beat up, worn out “gas here” sign. After driving half a mile down the road, we found an equally as worn out station with three old-fashioned pumps. Unfortunately, as we pulled up, we discovered a “sorry, we’re closed” sign taped sketchily in the window.

Back on the highway, and a few bypassed exits later, we repeated this same decision, with eerily similar results. The whole thing left me wondering if Kansas had closed early.

Proving the durability of the human spirit (and because we didn’t really have a choice) we traveled on. Eventually finding exit that took us to a veritable oasis in the middle of the Kansas desert, including a gas station complete with working pumps and bathrooms.

Cheesy metaphor time.

There’s little more frustrating in life than making a decision and having it fail. Whether it’s because you can’t see the path ahead (like on a road trip), are given bad information (that stupid gas sign), or just make a poor judgment call (too much Cherry Coke Zero), it’s a very defeating experience. In the music industry, this is a reality for every band, manager, venue, booking agent, engineer, producer…you get the point.

It seems like it should be common sense: no one can see the future, therefore everyone can make mistakes. But it’s something almost everyone struggles with.

Huskies make everything better

Truth-telling time

Since I’m at a time in my (and most people’s) life when I’m diving into the “real” world for the first time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the decisions, opportunities, and denials that come along with it.

So my lesson to myself and everyone in my position: Just say screw it, the world will have to deal with me as I am. Fear can take a back burner.

 

Everyone could use a little more love, though especially Bostonians this week. So I wrote down some thoughts.

According to Google:

Love is “An intense feeling of deep affection.”

To love is to “Feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).”

Love is often boxed in, laid out with a specific set of rules and regulations, so that YOU WILL KNOW THEY LOVE YOU IF THEY DO THESE 5 THINGS (or 22 apparently). It’s segmented into actions and looks and words that ultimately prove nothing. Everybody expresses and experiences their feelings uniquely, and love is no different.

I spent a good part of my late high school and early college years trying to dissect love. I read stories, studies, and opinions on the subject – even tried experiencing it myself – and it always seemed to elude me. I think I’m starting to realize why.

I’m an extremely analytical person, sometimes to a fault. I research a subject, come up with a strategy, implement it, and analyze data. The unfortunate thing is that you can’t. Analyze. Love. You can’t make a points system with a checklist that will magically tell you when you know someone’s in love with you, or vice versa. One point for calling you back, 3 for flowers, 5 for remembering your favorite animal is the blue-footed booby. Of course, saying I love you would have to automatically reach the allotted number of points, but you’d have to deduct for unloving behaviors such as lying, forgetting your birthday, and not arguing fairly…

And then you’re this

Not only would that be exhausting, but it would be fruitless. Our perception is our reality – everyone feels and expresses their love differently. “Real love” is only definable by the individual experiencing it. The only distinction I’m willing to make is the love that encourages growth to both persons and the love that discourages it.

Love is not always patient, it is not always kind, and it certainly can show jealousy. The difference between Encouraging and Discouraging Love is that, with encouraging love, these instances are outweighed by times of patience, kindness, and understanding. When there is a fault in an Encouraging lover’s actions, the lover recognizes the pain they’ve caused and wishes desperately to remedy the situation. As my mother says, “it’s not hard to be kind to the one you love.” Love is one feeling of MANY that a person has in any given moment, it is not a trump card. Every feeling that contributes to a person’s decisions can be diluted or intensified by the other emotions. Love can be healthy with confidence and happiness, and it can be consuming and harmful with fear and anger.

“Love at first sight” may occur for certain people. Those who experience strong attraction as love may experience that feeling daily, while they’ll only consider it such if that love continues after conversing with and getting to know the person it is directed towards.
Let’s talk about “love at first sight.” When you say you love someone at first sight, it implies that the only tangible reality you have to go off of are their looks and the way they carry themselves. Everything else is your perception of who they could be based off of what little you know (and in this case, what you want them to be.)

Or maybe it’s just hormones

It is my belief and observation that those who claim to have experienced “love at first sight” are the ones who are willing to believe that the perception they have is actually reality. Maybe this person just happens to be very close to their first impression, or maybe they are so devoted to that perception that they can look past the discrepancies. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never experienced love at first sight.

That’s not to say that this love is “less real” than other types. Whenever I see “Real Love” in media, the implication is that it is everlasting and that if, one day, you no longer feel it, it never existed in the first place. A better definition is that you can feel love how you want and there is every possibility that those feelings will change. From moment to moment, neither you nor the person you love is the same, so how can your feelings permanently remain the same? In fact, even someone in love feels differently from day to day or hour to hour or moment to moment. That’s why it’s so much work and so imperfect. There is no control for love. There are no rules. There are individuals and basic societal guidelines that may work better for the majority of people, but could be catastrophic for others.

I am no expert on love…I haven’t done or felt it long enough to know everything about even my own experiences with it, but I have observed and analyzed and read other people’s observations and analyses. For me, love is admiration without idealization, it is compassion without pity, it is awareness that you are closer to someone than most (any) people ever will be, but that you will never know everything that person feels or thinks or does, and that’s okay.

Love is not perfect, but how could it be when neither lover is?

It’s late and I can’t sleep or really think logically, but I felt like I needed to say this.

Today was supposed to be a day of celebration and victory – the Boston Marathon is so close to the residents of Boston, whether they’re locals or college students, and it takes a special kind of fucked up to destroy it so thoroughly.

But there is so much good that we have to remember. Cry if you need to, for everyone affected, but try to remember that if you’re alive, then you have to try to take advantage of every moment. There is an abundance of blood donations, over 1200 people offering up places to stay, and of course the police, coast guard, and all the others who are protecting us, to remind us that terrorism will always fail to tear us apart. Let’s show them it will only bring us closer together.

I started running again very recently, and I intend on running tomorrow, and the next day, and every day I can for those who can’t.

This is for the city I love, which I will sadly be leaving very soon. Be safe.

Dear Spotify,

Lemme just get this out of the way right now so we can move on to what needs to be said: I love you. So very, very much. It’s a big step, I know, but hear me out.

A little less than two years ago I was stuck using iTunes, a service that I once used with amazement, but which was proving to have more and more pitfalls daily. Then I heard a rumor about a revolutionary start-up in Sweden – one that discarded the need to store mp3s and transfer them from device to device (which has caused me to lose not only my iTunes playlists, but entire chunks of my previous library,) and instead let them live in the cloud, jumping, nay sashaying, from laptop to iPhone to desktop with grace.

As you can imagine, my excitement could barely be contained when I heard they were planning to release in the U.S. in just a few months. My high expectations were well met. I was tempted into the free month of premium and was immediately hooked, taking Spotify with me wherever I went. iTunes is now as outdated to me as MySpace.

Me. Except I have contacts because I’m not hipster enough for glasses.

Now that my adoration has been establish, know that perfection is an elusive little shit, so there are a few things I’d like to request.

1. Automatically Updating Artist Playlists

I love the fact that I can make playlists that include anything I want. I also love that I can search any artist and find the entire catalog that’s currently on Spotify. You know what would be even better? Combining the two so that I can have a separate section of playlists that are for artists – playlists that automatically update when that artist releases a new song or album.

You got closer when you added the ability to “subscribe” to an artist…but it’s not quite enough to be notified of the artist’s activity, I want their songs to be in my library the day they’re released.

2. More Features in The Artist Profile

Discovering music is one of my favorite aspects of Spotify, whether that be through the radio or searching for a band whose catalog I really want to delve into. Being of the generation that demands immediate access to ALL of the knowledge, however, it irrationally irks me when I have to use multiple sources to learn about these bands. (I’m not proud of it, but that’s the world we live in. Or so I’ve heard)

So please please please provide a little more in depth bio/profile for each musician. Even just a link to their website or social media would satisfy my need to Google one less thing.

3. Start The Radio On The Selected Song

Spotify’s radio is like Pandora in that it never plays the song that it’s based off of first. I understand why Pandora has this inconvenient feature – they have a non-interactive license, so the listener can’t actually choose the songs they listen to. Spotify, however, is based on the very fact that the user CAN choose what to listen to, so I see no reason why the feature remains. Maybe there is a legitimate reason that I don’t see, but until someone proves to me it’s not possible, I will continue to preach from my soap box. Slash blog.

4. Etc.

  • Sort Playlists (alphabetically, by genre, most obscure indie name, etc)
  • Remove the requirement to choose whether I want to search a song, track, or album on mobile version. Sometimes I just don’t know.
  • Starting from a web browser, don’t ask for my login information if the application is already open. It confuses me.

All that being said, I believe in what you’re doing, forget the haters.


Fall in love for yourself: Download Spotify

Some Spotify news and opinion articles:

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2012/11/clearing-up-spotify-payment-confusion.html

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2013/03/spotify-eyes-video-streaming-unveils-first-ever-major-ad-campaign.html (please do this)

http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/12/spotify-6-million-paid-users/

I’m a month in to my last semester of college and all of my classes are beginning to feel more and more a hindrance to real life…Namely startup work, networking, job applications, and, most recently, graphic design.

Computer Meme

Me. 24/7.

I’ve found throughout college that, while classes can be useful, many of them condense knowledge that can be found with some creative Googling. I may be more proactive than some, but I’d still like to think I shouldn’t already know what I’m being forced to learn before I take the class. Therefore, life has become a waiting game. Waiting to to get out of class, waiting for positions to open up, waiting to hear back from the positions I’ve already applied for (the ones I found in between all the companies looking for programmers,) and waiting for the day when I don’t have that stressful but comforting title of “student” to fall back on.

Of course, waiting is a bit of a misnomer…

One Does Not Simply Meme

I’ve hardly had any time to myself since the beginning of the semester and everything I do is to try to actively gain experience, knowledge, and credibility. It’s fantastic, but there’s still an underlying feeling of it all just having to wait – and that when the wait is over, I still won’t be good enough.

Even so, I’m being patient – proactive but patient. Currently I have no idea where I’ll be living in the summer or the fall, but there are ideas floating around and opportunities to be grabbed. They create a template that I can work with and a plan to be looked at from all angles. If A happens, then my path is B. Fill in the blank. Planning for a few different options makes it easier to accept what I don’t know, which is so difficult for the human mind. For now though, it all comes down to waiting.

 

I should have been a computer programmer.

Recently, I was brought onto a startup company in the music tech world. Was that my plan? No. Do I know much about music tech? No. Am I excited and passionate about what we’re doing? Hell yes.

We’re both first-time entrepreneurs, upper semester music business students, and woefully uninformed on the specifics of running a company such as this. It’s not going to stop us though, because of a number of things that I know to be true of entrepreneurs.

1. Entrepreneurs Wear Mistakes and Failures Like A Badge

I was talking to a friend of mine about this the other day. We’ve been raised in a world where mistakes are seen as an embarrassment – something to shun and hide in the closet. Entrepreneurs, however, have a completely different mindset, one of pride. The most successful entrepreneurs will brag about their worst mistakes, their biggest failures, and think of them as a rite of passage – one step closer to the goal.

Even hopeful entrepreneurs know they don’t have it all figured out. My business partner and I know that we will be making all kinds of mistakes, but we look at every error as an opportunity rather than a setback. We’ve already learned so much in just two weeks and right now we’re soaking up all the knowledge we can get our hands on.

2. Entrepreneurs Don’t Listen To Naysayers

If someone has an entrepreneurial tendency, they come with a certain attitude of dismissal when it comes to naysayers. Don’t get me wrong, criticism is more than welcome – we rely on outside input and feedback to perfect the vision and product – it’s the critics who don’t even give us a second thought, saying “it will never work” or “you don’t know what it takes to run a company like that” (as if we’re going to let that stop us).

At this point, we’ve received a lot of feedback, most of it positive, a lot of it keeping us grounded in reality. Every day I’m having conversations with musicians, teachers, and entrepreneurs, all of which have given great input and are more than happy to give advice. Those are the people with the most value.

3. Entrepreneurs Are Passionate About Their Company

Another subject that came up the other day with my friend is the motivation behind starting a company. Entrepreneurs can’t be in it for the money. Mostly because it’s likely they won’t be making any for a long, long time, but also because a startup is more prone to failure if the people behind it are in it purely for profit. Passion for – and commitment to – the vision of their company should be the driving factor.

4. Entrepreneurs Are Kind of Crazy

It takes a certain level of insanity to be able to put up with the stress, work 24/7 (we’re working in our DREAMS), and ignore all the signs that say you’ll fail.

But it’s a great insanity. The feeling of bringing something into the world that wouldn’t be there without your hard work is exhilarating. The look you get when you tell people who “don’t get it” what your plans are is priceless. It’s a constant battle, but somehow it never feels like work.

It’s chaotic, methodical, educational, social, stressful, and the most fun I’ve had in my life all at once. I’m excited for every day, and determined to make something great.

If anyone is interested in learning more, sharing their experiences, or giving advice, please email me at musikleigh@gmail.com or leave your story in the comments.

Here are some great articles about entrepreneurship:

http://www.incomediary.com/6-traits-all-entrepreneurs-secretly-have-in-common

http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/17741/The-11-Harsh-Realities-Of-Being-An-Entrepreneur.aspx

http://ethansaustin.com/2013/01/24/six-stages-startup-lifecycle/

A couple weeks ago, I cut out gluten, dairy, certain fruits and vegetable, and all meat excluding chicken, turkey, and fish.

What led to this insanity? Well I didn’t get here of my own accord. My body’s an asshole.

My body would never go for this

Let me be clear, however. I don’t have any life threatening diseases – I can still live my life normally. I’ve just living the past 5 years or more not knowing if the next thing I eat will end in debilitating pain. It’s more than a little annoying.

About two years ago, I started to focus on figuring out why I was having this problem. I went to a couple different doctors, did all the online research I could stand, and spoke with my mom – who had a similar issue that were solved by having her gall bladder removed. After much deliberation, as well as failed fiber and pain medication regimens, I decided to get my gall bladder checked. 6 months and a (confirmed) useless ball of gall bladder later, I went into surgery to have it removed.

They might as well have removed my pinky toe for all the good it did.

A few different doctors and a lot of pain later, I decided to take on the Elimination Diet, which I’d been putting off for a while (mainly due to my insatiable love of bagels).

The basic idea of an elimination diet is to severely cut down on the types of food that you consume, then reintroduce them to test for reactions and sensitivities. The strictest diet I found would have been far too difficult to stick to, and I already know that I do not, in fact, react to some of the foods that are listed, so I came up with a personalized version. The foods I’m testing are:

Gluten

Dairy

Fats

Dark Meat

Several types of fruit (Apples, watermelon, grapes)

Several types of vegetable (carrots, broccoli)

I’m also going to test out beans, but I want to do that after I’ve added in a food or two, because they’re a great way for me to get protein without becoming bored of having chicken all day, e’ery day.

Currently, my diet consists of a lot of eggs, beans, chicken, hot sauce, bananas, smoothies, and oatmeal. The smoothies are great because they are so versatile, and it’s definitely a fun challenge coming up with different recipes with the foods I can eat and all the different spices and sauces available (guaranteed gluten-free, of course).

The most challenging aspect, however, is eating out. It’s amazing the number of restaurants that have gluten or dairy in nearly every meal. Our culture is kind of obsessed with bread and cheese. Unless I find a place that has a specifically Gluten-Free section or options, I’m stuck with a basic salad with (hopefully) grilled chicken. Yay.

ANYWAY. I’d like to use my experience to help others in similar situations. While there are a lot of helpful sites dealing with digestion/intestinal/anything-in-the-stomach-region pains, there can always be more. It’s a very individual problem, and the more experiences shared, the better.

Also, disclaimer: I’m not a professional. I’m not even working with a professional (been there, done that). All I know is how my body feels and reacts to what I put into it.

Signs you may have food sensitivities and/or IBS (you may not experience all symptoms all the time, but if a few occur regularly, it’s highly likely):

Stomach pain

Bloating

Constipation

Diarrhea

Nausea

There are also allergies to food, but those reactions tend to manifest like other types of allergies (rashes, difficulty breathing, etc.)

If you are experiencing any of these problems, first, go see a doctor. There may be something more serious than simple food sensitivities and it’s better to know sooner than later. Already did that? Well, then let me show you path that I took to finding what I can and cannot eat:

1. Keep A Food Diary

It’s a pain in the ass…but it really helps with understanding and seeing connections between symptoms and certain foods. For me, oil was the first to go as every time I ate a fried food or one full of oil, I would feel absolutely awful the next day. I would be in pain and still feel like I just ate that meal, even though I was hungry.

Excel is a great tool for this, as are numerous apps and websites created for this very purpose.

2. Up Your Water Intake

If you don’t already get enough water (I drink at LEAST the recommended amount for my body weight), CHANGE THAT RIGHT NOW (insert bitchslap here). If you do, awesome, I know what it’s like to feel like you pee way more than should be normal too.

Water can help with digestion and keeping everything working properly, so it’s pretty important.

3. Up Your Fiber Intake

This goes hand in hand with the water thing. IF you are not getting sufficient fiber (20-25 grams a day for women, 25-30 for men), and you decide to increase that amount WITHOUT sufficient hydration, you will pay. Severely. Also, up your intake slowly so your intestines can figure out exactly what’s going on.

4. Cut Out Sketchy Foods

Here’s where that food diary comes in handy. If you notice a pattern occurring, over the course of at least two weeks, with certain food items, try cutting them out for 2-3 weeks and see what happens. If that helps and you decide to add one or more of them back in, it should be even more obvious which ones are the culprits. Hopefully only a few foods will need to be removed and you can carry on without a care. If not…well it’s time to get real serious up in here.

5. The Last Ditch (Seriously, You Gotta Be Desperate To Do This)*

Here’s the hurdle that I just recently jumped. Cutting out HUGE food groups that make up large portions of the average diet. It took me quite a while to get here…I thought I could live with and manage the pain, but I was wrong. After my most recent break at home (which included the holiday eating fests), I just constantly wanted to curl up and ignore the world. I figured this called for a drastic measure.

And, after two weeks gluten and dairy (and a few others things) free, I’d say I was right. I no longer dread going to class after I eat for fear of having to stay in an upright position while my tummy attacks me, and I feel energized and noticeably not bloated at the beginning of each day. It’s a wonderful thing.

*If you want to do an Elimination Diet, here are some great links to get started. And please make sure you’re getting enough calories to remain a functioning member of society!

http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/allergies-elimination-diet – Describes the process of this diet

http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2010/01/elimination-and-detoxification-diet-its.html – Lists foods you CAN eat and has a number of great recipes

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-dietThis has the chart I based my diet off of (although I included a couple foods it excludes)

Now go get better and tell me how you did it!

I have made a decision. I’ve decided to come out to the world (meaning a very small portion of the Internet) as a feminist. It wasn’t an easy decision – there’s an egregious amount of venom towards the feminist community and I’ve always been the type to shy away from opposition and inflammatory stances.

But I don’t want to do that anymore.

I’ve read a lot of articles (This turns me into a GIANT SQUID OF ANGER), statuses (Labelled “Virgin Test”), comments, and memes that give me that burning feeling of injustice deep in my gut.

Buzz knows what I’m talking about

It comes from all sexes, genders, and ages…and it’s not a fun experience. I’m hoping this will ease the fire, if only briefly.

To mark this point in my journey, I’d like to first dispel some myths of feminism and what that term means. Too many people, male and female, have ill-conceived notions of what feminists stand for.

1. Feminists Hate (or dislike) Men

Hell no! We feel no differently about men than we do women (unless you’re talking about sexual feelings of a hetero woman, but that’s not the point). To a feminist, men and women are simply people, and deserve to be treated based on the way they act and who they are. Are you a man who finds kitchen jokes hilarious and thinks women should wear more clothing to avoid being assaulted? Yes, we hate you, but not because you’re a man. Because you’re an asshole.

2. Feminists Want To Flip Sexism

Maybe the fact that we are focused on women’s rights somehow makes the movement come across as fighting for women to be the dominating sex. That’s not what feminism is all about. Are civil rights activists trying to oppress those of us with pale ancestry? Not that I’m aware of, and it’s the same thing here. The sad thing is, women aren’t even a minority and yet we’re still treated as “other.” There’s something I’ll never understand.

I stumbled across this article recently, which uses the device of satire to get the point across that women (the most common victims of sexual abuse), are told by society that it’s our job to protect ourselves, and that men (as a section in society, not all of them) are told they “can’t help themselves” (which is also derogatory to men!). This article is NOT to be taken as a serious suggestion. Many times feminists “flip” the double standard to gain understanding and point out a ridiculous notion. We are not seriously trying to take away male freedoms.

3. Feminists Oppose Expressions of Femininity

Misguided feminists do, maybe. I was once a young tomboy who refused ANYTHING feminine. In high school I refused to carry a purse or wear the uniform skirt purely out of defiance of all things feminine. But that’s not helpful for anybody. There’s nothing WRONG with femininity, it’s an expression of personality and shouldn’t be limited. As Iggy Pop once said, “I’m not ashamed to dress ‘like a woman’ because I don’t think it’s shameful to be a woman.”

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to view femininity in a healthy way when society is constantly glorifying masculine traits and weakening feminine ones. That’s a little deeper than clothing, but is a subject for another day.

4. Feminists Find Chivalry Offensive

The only thing that would be offensive about chivalry is if the “chivalrous” person believed women to be incapable of certain things. Otherwise, it’s just common courtesy. Hell, I’m chivalrous all the time. If I’m the first person to the door, I’m gonna hold it open for the next person, because that’s the awesome thing to do. If someone weaker than me (a young child…maybe) is carrying a heavy bag, I’ll take it from them to make their lives easier. It’s just nice.

Now that you know what feminists aren’t, here’s what a feminist should be:

1. Feminists Want Men and Women (and anywhere in between) To Be Treated Equally

Fuck gender norms and fuck stereotypes. We want a world where a guy can wear a skirt and a girl can shave her head without mocking, without hate. Where women make equal pay and a stay-at-home dad is as common as the reverse. Personally, I don’t want to have to try twice as hard (at least) to be taken seriously.

2. Feminists Encourage Personal Expression of Any Kind

Do you like societal norms for your gender? It’s totally your choice! I won’t judge you. There are no boxes and you can pick and choose whatever sparks your interest. I like wearing Chucks with a sundress. Unconventional? Sure, but I don’t care. And neither should you. Wear whatever you damn well please.

3. Feminists Want To Eliminate The Gap Between Genders

This all kind of ties in together, but we want treatment to be equal between genders. By the way, this doesn’t just mean we want women to get better treatment. There are a handful of times where men get the short end of the stick and it needs to be talked about. Custody laws are a great example of times when men get shafted. Sadly, most women are fighting other battles, but I will discuss these issues on this site.

4. Feminists Appreciate Polite Gestures

Just like anyone, we want to be treated like a person. We don’t need to be coddled, but if you are the type of person that opens doors and helps out whenever possible, well that’s wonderful. The world needs more people like you.

 

I hope this post, at the very least, gets people thinking about how they react to feminists and to women in their lives. It can be difficult to realize the seemingly small, daily injustices against women and femininity, and even harder to put it to words. My only hope is I will be eloquent enough to get my point across on such a complex, mired-in-hate issue.

This week I will be reading syllabi and finding my classes for the last time. My final schedule is set and I’m ready to graduate in May. And I couldn’t be more excited. Really.

Although there is this nagging fear

It’s more than just graduating though. I’ve graduated from things before…middle school, high school, like most people. This is the first time that, when I look at the last day of classes, there is an abyss that is called “The Future.” It’s almost like a cliff waiting for me – I’ve lived for as long as I can remember with the same basic schedule of school, break, school, break, etc. with some extra activities thrown in, but that consistency is going right out the window about mid-May.

It’s bizarre thinking about that change, which I’m sure will feel completely normal after less than a year. I can do anything with my time after I graduate (as of now I have no commitments) and yet I can’t. I have to make the decision to do one thing while deciding to not do the numerous other options that are just as viable. So this semester I’m attempting to find a method to cope with that weighty decision. Here are my thoughts:

1. Decide Short Term

Figuring out the present is always a good idea (duh). What many people don’t get is that you have to choose to do something now to get momentum and be inspired by your progress. By making decisions for tomorrow, next week, and a month from now, you’re setting small goals that you can look forward to.

Currently, I’m planning a ski trip for this weekend, focusing on my classes for this week, and hunting for a part-time job. Oh and I plan out and look forward to a delicious dinner every night 😉

I’ve also decided to take my health into my own hands and do an Elimination Diet, which I’ll get into more in another post as it takes some explaining…

2. Think Long Term

Physically taking the leap and doing something is a great way to get started, but there should always be a bigger plan in place if you want to accomplish your goals – whatever they happen to be. Want to work in the music industry? Go get an internship, you crazy sonuva bitch (because really, you have to be crazy to be in this industry…). Want to be in a financially viable band? Start rehearsing and studying how to actually make it profitable.

I have a few goals for myself as of right now. This summer I am going to take a road trip (hence the part-time job), after summer I will find a job working for a venue in New York or Boston, and eventually I will start my own venue, which I’ve already begun planning. I definitely know this is a lofty goal, but I’ve always been taught that you can’t succeed unless you try…so dammit I’m going to try.

3. Don’t Freak Out (Find People To Help)

There’s not much that’s less helpful than being paralyzed by fear, anxiety, or indecision.  Focus on figuring one thing out at a time instead of peering into the vast chasm of empty space that is your future. Baby steps, my friends, baby steps.

Also, find a handful (or more if you’re an extrovert) of people to be there when you need a friend, a few people who know what you’re going through to be mentor figures, and a vast network of people who can potentially give you advice or opportunities. Focus on meeting friends and get a good foundation, then branch out from there.

I’ve never been one to have a huge group of friends. I generally end up with one to three people I regularly hang out with or talk to and a slightly larger group of people (that are probably friends with my close friends), who I hang out with on occasion. I am totally fine with this. Find what makes you feel most comfortable and do that.

4. Make Decisions For You

I’m just guessing here, but I’d say most people think they do this (myself included). I’ve discovered in my time as a music business student that most people are doing a LOT. Organizing concerts, fundraisers, tech startups, etc. It can be intimidating and frustrating, because really, being surrounded by so much success can seem to diminish the successes in your life if you aren’t careful. I find myself wanting to take on more and more projects, even if they are not directly to the benefit of my end goal. Not such logical decision-making…

Solution? Block everyone and everything out for a while (done). Spend some time figuring out what really interests you (done). Consider every opportunity available to you and evaluate how helpful it will be to reaching your goal (in progress…).

Now be happy for all the other successes around you (and that you’re in such a positive atmosphere) and keep on chugging toward your goal, distractions be damned.

5. Know There’s Always Another Option

In my college career, I have at least dabbled in all the different paths in the music industry. From songwriting, to management, to social media marketing, to music journalism – everything except law basically. Each time I take on a new endeavor I find a new love. It’s always refreshing and I feel motivated all over again. Will I have to pick something to stick with for a while after graduation? Yes. But I know that, if worse comes to worst, I’m not being forced to stay in that field. I’m free to seek out other opportunities or create my own and that in itself can be a freeing feeling.

If you do decide your chosen path isn’t turning out as wonderfully as you imagined, make sure to bow out respectfully and with your reputation in tact. There’s no worse a feeling than forcing yourself to carry on without inspiration and failing your employer and co-workers.

As for me, I will likely always be doing a little bit of a lot of things, and that’s perfectly fine in this industry. In fact, nowadays it’s almost required.

It’s difficult to say exactly where I’ll be and what my life will look like by the fall of this year, but hopefully I can look into that chasm and find my way across.