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College Students Hang On To Music Despite Challenges

With end of year exams less than a month away, university students involved in music try to maintain a balance between their interests and their studies. Both students involved in on campus ensembles such as the University Symphony or Chapel choir as well as students with music projects on the side opt to remain involved though time is a more prized commodity.

This is no small task however. At UP, where there is a norm of taking upwards of 15 credit hours, it is tough to find time for anything other than attending classes and studying for those classes.

Junior biology major Fredeliz Misay is taking formidable courses such as behavioral neuroscience and cellular and molecular biology. In addition she is taking an upper-division theology course as well as physics, which she finds is a different type of science than what she is used to. Misay finds these 13 credits to be rigorous and difficult to handle in regards to workload and study time. She has found at times this semester that the work is overwhelming, especially as she’s taking physics which is something new to her. On top of academics, she is a part of the university’s Chapel choir and was a key figure in coordinating this year’s UP Lu’au.

Paradoxically, though these extracurricular activities add to her schedule, therefore taking away time from studies, she has found that rehearsals with the Chapel choir and many hours with Lu’au planning to be worth the added time crunch.

Misay puts much emphasis on her success in managing her schedule on prioritization. She approaches Chapel choir and other activities as secondary to the work that she needs to accomplish, yet uses music as an incentive to finish her work quickly and well to make time for those activities.

“It motivates me to keep pushing myself, to do my best in school.” Misay said.

To students who have schedules where music is a bigger presence, little is diminished. Double major Kevin Su is taking three political science courses and a metaphysics course. To surpass the 15 credit norm, Su takes three music classes as well.

“Unless you’re a music major, it’s not so bad.” Su said about his schedule.

Su views his Chapel choir, University Symphony, and private violin lesson classes as an escape from everyday life. It is not a burden on his schedule though he spends upwards of five hours in these classes not including the time he puts in to practicing.

Music is a constant companion for musician and bandleader Tim Reed, though the time that it requires of him varies. Reed is primarily an aviation mechanic and multicultural studies major at two university campuses and an independent musician secondly. Apart from the 27 hours spent between the Multnomah University and PCC rock Creek campuses, Reed volunteers weekly as a pianist at a local Vancouver hospital.

He finds that work with his band Tim Reed and Friends and other private engagements put the most strain on his time. Although these engagements are fairly spaced out due to the rigor of his academics, he is forced to approach his music more seriously. However most of the stress in gigging comes from scheduling efforts and promotional work rather than musical preparation.

“I schedule myself concerts to motivate myself to practice in the middle of all my studies… I play whenever I have a spare moment or a gig coming up and motivated by fear.” Reed said about his outlook on musical schedule.

Like Misay, Reed emphasizes doing what must be done academically and uses music as a way to relieve the stress that studies cause.

Reed could not imagine life without music as its benefits extend beyond stress relief. Reed feels that music exercises the other part of his brain as his academics are mainly analytical.

“It’s nice to have this anti-analytical side to me called music that I can resort to.“ Reed said.

Truly, success in college takes enormous amounts of hard work and time. It may seem that this lifestyle of classes and homework leaves little else when fatigue is considered. Yet students seem to find time to pursue what they love. It is sometimes a struggle for students, but music is worth that struggle.


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