posted in School on Jul 29, 2007

One and a half years in the making, I finally stopped being a lazy-ass and finished up my undergraduate degree. For those of you who don’t know the story, I’ll recount the events that led up to all of this:

In the fall of 2005 it became desperately clear that I would soon be needing to finish up the last and final requirement for my degree. For us Music Business types, the last thing required is a short and sweet recital showing off our musical prowess. The last credit hour I would have to complete came from this recital and so I enrolled in giving it for the spring of 2006. Now, one would think that I would be smart enough to simply do the damned thing during the time that I was supposed to. I found it a better idea, however, to be an idiot.

Instead of doing my recital during this time, I hunkered back into the corner and fought every opportunity to schedule the darned thing. Rainy day? Too hot? Have a cough? All of these were valid reasons to stay leagues away from the office in charge of handling matters pertaining to such things. These types of responses – in regards to me having to do something I don’t want to do – seem to be hard coded into my DNA. At no time in my life have I ever easily done something that I could potentially look silly doing or, gasp, fail at. Such a revelation probably comes to no surprise for some of you who know me well enough. If I can’t do something perfectly (on the first try no less), I piss it off and assume the end goal is unattainable. With this recital thing, it was a combination of that mentality and a simple fear of being on stage that I’ve had for many years now. You’d think that I could have a handle on such an anxiety (and, truth be told, now I have a pretty good control over it), but at the time it froze me into inaction, and seemingly nothing could goad me otherwise.

And so the spring semester of 2006 passed without much flourish. I told everyone that I’d do my recital soon after school was out, and I “graduated” like everyone else by walking across a stage and getting an empty, but cushy, folder with a fake diploma in it. Unlike everyone else, however, I would not fill that folder for another year and three months because my credit hours still resided at 126/127. During this time I also attained a job that would help me into the graduate program at the same college where I just “finished.” Since it was planned (but not written anywhere) that I do this recital during the summer, the school didn’t have any problem with enrolling me in the fall. Of course, as everyone knows, the recital didn’t happen, but I was still able to finish off a year of graduate school without much of a twitter from the offices where my graduate program was housed. That is, until about a month before May 2007.

I was called into one of the offices in my school, and I was promptly told that in order to enroll for the following year, I would have to finish up that final credit hour. Obviously I was incompetent for continuing on with graduate work because I had just passed a year’s worth of graduate classes and that one credit hour will change EVERYTHING. Sarcasm aside, I knew that it was in my best interest to finish up such things, and I tried to placate the situation by telling them that I’d have it done by the middle of June. It was possible. But, of course, it didn’t happen. The middle of June rolled by faster than a Pullman passenger car on route to Chicago from Alton, Illinois, and during this time I spent pretty much zero time practicing for the inevitable event, instead laboring away on anything and everything that could stymie my efforts to be down there in a practice room. Finally, however, I stopped being an idiot and started doing what I was supposed to do.

For the next month or so, I hit the practice rooms every day for at least an hour and worked up some pieces that I figured would be alright to play. And finally, today, July 29th 2007, I put on what could only be the smallest recital of the history of our school. Such a distinction elicits no emotion from me, as I’m finally done with my undergraduate degree and I don’t care, but it’s kind of interesting nonetheless. And hell, I can finally dig out my old, dusty diploma holder and put something in it. I rule. 127/127.