Keep work and life separate before “life’s work” becomes “a life of work”

By Cory A. ThompsonAssistant Arts & Features Editorcoryetc@gmail.com

Students at UNC Asheville must consider their future when choosing to study their passions.

Students need to understand the best place to chase their dreams is outside the classroom. Let college be a grounding force – a place to receive a diverse education beneficial in becoming a productive citizen. Today’s person needs a job.

An environment where parents give students complete freedom about what to study poses the question: How many of our music majors want to be rock stars?

Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of wonderful careers for music majors, but students need to realistic. Students must differentiate which of their goals are worth investing their college education on and which aspirations should be pursued on their own time.

A college education is supposed to be a springboard to adulthood, but springboards don’t bounce when bogged down with the weight of childhood dreams.

“Sometimes I see my fellow music students falling into the trap of taking themselves way too seriously on stage,” said Joe Dowdy, a junior studying jazz music.  “When a person is on stage playing music and obviously not having fun, they judge themselves too critically and communicate their negativity to the audience.”

Are these students taking themselves too seriously or are they taking their grades too seriously?

Separate hobby from academia and keep for a little piece of passion that doesn’t need to be under the florescent lights of the schoolhouse. Should the professors’ grading hammer down on our emotional outlet?  Dowdy said the professors must grade, but grading doesn’t always lend itself to expression.

“Grades are there for a reason, but they are there for a strictly objective reason,” Dowdy said. “People need to learn to separate objective criticism and their emotional selves.”

Students need to learn a marketable trade and explore other depths on their own time. Why ruin the magic of self-discovery?

Senior Brittany Jackson, a mass communication student, said her studies changed the way she views movies.

“I see the technical aspects when I watch movies now,” Jackson said. “I can’t just lose myself in a movie anymore.”

Jackson said she still wants to watch movies. As exists with true passion, she can’t get enough of film, but her taste has become quite specific.

“I’m definitely a little bit snobby about the movies I watch now,” Jackson said. “I don’t have as much respect for mindless flicks.”

For people who love movies because of how pleasant they are to watch at the end of a long day, film study can be a bit of a bummer. For people who want to jam a little bit at the end of a night, music courses destroy the groove.

“At one point I couldn’t sleep in my bed,” Dowdy said. “I spent so much time holed up in frustration practicing saxophone in my room that it became hard to sleep in my bed.”

Jackson Scott, who studied new media before dropping out to jumpstart a career in entertainment, said success in the entertainment industry requires focus.

“There’s only so far in a big entertainment industry you can go in school,” Scott said. “If you purely work on what you’re trying to do and work on that as much as you can then you’re going to stick out.”

After leaving school, Scott earned national attention on music blog Pitchfork and signed with Fat Possum Records. Scott said even though school for him served as a place to be while he worked on his music, he still chose to take classes in a marketable degree.

“I never wanted to take music classes because I didn’t want to make it something I didn’t have fun with,” Scott said. “Something like design or new media I could learn in a classroom.”

Even successful rock musicians start with backup plans.