This is my answer. I was very excited about graduate school. I was even planning on saving for an A Clarinet and getting in connection with the professors. It seemed like everything I ever wanted.
But I notice something: I am getting tired and burnt out. I love school, but the idea of having to take more classes and having to write a thesis is really gross to me. I am tired of it. Not that I'm lazy, but I'm just tired. I wasn't going to be 100% into it.
I was freaking out. I wanted to perform. It was all I wanted. And I noticed something: I would have a hard time getting hired after my grad degree. I would truly be a "starving artist." And something didn't settle right with me after I left. I was extremely impressed with University of Oregon's music department and their programs, but I had a strange nudge that was doubtful. Something wasn't right.
I began to think of no solutions. I wanted to perform.
I wasn't entirely sure when it hit me. I knew it was another choice in case grad school didn't work out. Veterans day came and went, and I started to develop my doubts about graduate school. I got a lot of mixed feedback about joining the military band, but I felt strangely pulled to it. I decided to talk to my uncle Karl, who is in active duty in the navy. He had told me to audition before joining the branch. Or any branch for that matter. It was on my mind consistently. After a couple of days, I went to go talk to Pat about my career choices and he randomly handed me this brochure about the marine band. I was extremely surprised, and took it without question. It was all strangely eerie to me, though.
Another day later, I went to listen to the navy band on youtube and I clicked on Maslanka's fourth symphony and it was SPECTACULAR. Now, this really captured me when I started learning the music. And I felt like time had frozen, and I had an epiphany. Maybe I was suppose to be part of this kind of band? The idea put my worry at ease and I took note of it: I was suppose to be in a military band. It was what I wanted. Paid full time to be part of a military branch and play music? I wanted it.
The branch I chose, after much consideration and talking to recruiters is the Marines. I went to call the local recruiter in Beaverton, and he was kind and took out time and effort to talk with me for a couple of hours. (I'm well away that that is their job--to convince) He and I talked about service and being a marine along with being a musician.
I knew it was what I wanted. I passed the first set of questions and assessment. I also found out I am twenty pounds over the mark to be sent to basic training in, but the recruiter offered to train me and help me keep my diet in tact (said to cut down on sugars). I wanted to be in this band. I still do. The passing score in playing is a 2.7, and if I pass, I'm guaranteed a spot in one of the marine bands. 3.0, I would get to choose where I was based and which band I played with. On top of this all is the idea of serving. I want to make a big difference, and I know it's what I want. I plan on leaving in June.
I will be a Marine.
And I will remain a musician.