In high school, I remember being at school six hours a day, possibly more depending on extracurricular activities, coming home to practice violin for three hours, then doing homework until midnight or 1 am. In college, I had fewer classes so I had less homework but more rehearsals. Still, it wasn’t uncommon for me to be working, rehearsing, or studying until very late at night. Somehow in the last few years, that work ethic has gone away.
This is my confession: I am a terrible graduate student. I get eight hours of sleep at night, I eat three meals a day, I actually clean my apartment, and I’ve just joined yoga class, which means that for two hours twice a week I will walk to the studio, take a class, and walk home. That’s four hours of potential studying gone, down the drain. I have no willpower. If my body says that it’s tired, I take a nap. If my body says it hurts, I stop playing the violin for awhile. I don’t drink coffee, because it makes me jittery and then I can’t sleep at night. I have friends, and I actually talk to them. I go to a school where people practice constantly, where they have the ability to wake up ridiculously early and stay up ridiculously late and function all day on coffee. I cannot do this. A professor told me that you either love music or you don’t. This means, that if you do not love music at seven in the morning on five hours of sleep, then you don’t love it at all. If you do not love music at midnight, you don’t love it.
So, I’m a terrible graduate student. I guess I don’t love music. Because the thing I care about the most is having a healthy, happy, well-balanced life. And you know what? I don’t feel the tiniest bit guilty about it.
I mean, honestly, what does it say about any of us, if we sacrifice our own health and well-being for any career? Does it really make us happier people? (If my classmates are any indication, the answer is no.) It certainly doesn’t make us healthier. I don’t believe that it makes me a better human being to ignore everyone else on the planet, starting with myself and my body.
When all is said and done, I’ll have the same master’s degree at the end of these two years that everyone else has. In music. Which I do love, even if I’m not willing to kill myself for it.