I sit here writing this after a long weekend of class, ironically listening to Paramore’s song “Pressure”, trying to wrap my brain around everything that has been going on in my life thus far. I’m about to graduate in two months, and the question that not only gets asked everyday, but haunts my dreams, is what do I want to do when I graduate.
Let’s back track six years ago to my first day at the University of Montana. I had declared a vocal performance major due to a scholarship I had received through the School of Music. Not necessarily knowing if I wanted to go the performance route, I knew I had to pursue something in music. About two years into the program I didn’t feel like performing opera was going to do it for me as a career. Don’t get me wrong, singing in different languages at ungodly high notes was rad, but if I wasn’t going to perform or teach what was I going to do.
I had heard some students talk about the Entertainment Management program through the School of Business, so with curiosity I took the Entertainment Management 101 class. Fast forward to today. Two months to graduation. And all because of that one class I will be graduating with a degree in Marketing, minor in Music, and certificate in Entertainment Management. Through the University of Montana I have been able to do marketing for huge tours, run VIP events, and learn from industry professionals. But I have also been to conferences, music festivals, and met people who have taught me more than I have learned just sitting in a classroom.
I have had numerous conversations with my peers, students of different majors, and people who have sat at my bar rail at Buffalo Wild Wings who have straight up laughed at the fact that I want to make music a career. I have been asked how would you make a living doing that? How will you ever have a family with a schedule like that? Why aren’t you wanting a career in something a little more practical, that has some job security?
After trying to explain my reasoning a million times, the only answer I have left, is it’s my passion, it’s what drives me, it’s what makes me a better person, and to be honest at times it’s what has kept me alive.
If you were to ask your favorite artist what made them want to be in music, someone promoting shows in your local area, someone who created a festival from the ground up, or a band who travels in a van touring around the country why they are pursing music, could probably give you a similar answer.
For some people they have found success in music not going to college, which is honestly so inspiring. College isn’t for everyone, and to be honest, that degree I am about to receive in two months is something that millions of people all over the world may have. It doesn’t make me better than anyone else, but it’s something I felt like I had to complete in order to start the next chapter in my life.
One thing I do know is what my passion is, and that’s music. Music has been what has brought me to school, and you bet your ass it’s what I will be doing the rest of my life. It has to be. Ever since I was little sitting in front of my parents stereo, doing some weird rendition of the chicken dance, music has been a part of me. It’s what I turn on when I wake up, and what I’m listening to when I go to sleep. For me a life or career without some facet of music isn’t a fulfilling life for me.
Below is one of my favorite lyrics that has always resonated with me, and is a constant reminder of why I do what I love, and fuck anyone who tells me different.
“Someday I hope to make it clear to you that success is not determined by leather bound books and ink on paper, but rather the passion that I have found out of heartbreak and anger. I know that happiness is stability, but stability is not a desk job. And I refuse to sacrifice my aspirations for an income and security.”
-“Nineteen” by Movements
Blog by: Chanelle Paakkonen
Photo by: Chanelle Paakkonen