Leaving the Nest by Stephanie Schoppe, Graduating Senior

Stephanie Schoppe, Communication Studies major, will graduate from TCNJ at the end of this Fall semester. We thank Stephanie for sharing advice, her experiences, and her study abroad trip to South Africa with us! Please read her farewell post for The School of the Arts & Communication blog. Congratulations to Stephanie and all TCNJ students graduating this December!

“Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” This is a quote that my generation is very familiar with. It invokes a feeling that, even when you leave a place that holds so many memories for you, when you come back it feels like you never left. Leaving that place may be a little bit scary, of course. But while you’re gone, it’ll be there, filled with people ready to hug you and say, “Welcome back.”

This feeling is all too real for me at the moment. This is my final semester as a TCNJ student. I didn’t feel the despair and dread that comes with the registration period. I won’t be here to experience coming back from winter break in January and catching up on how everyone’s break was. Next semester someone else will be living in my room at my house. These things and more, whether I like it or not, are happening, and they’re happening faster than I really want them too.

I’m currently in the process of applying to grad schools. Whenever I work on my applications, I’m taken back to four years ago when I was applying to undergrad schools. The process was so exciting then. “I get to go to college and meet people from all over the state and I get to experience the typical college life and I’ll be away from my parents and it’ll be great!” And it was. It absolutely was. Fast-forward to today, and I still feel that way about applying to grad schools. Only now it’s a teensy bit bittersweet.

These four and a half years, I’ve done things I never thought I’d get to do. I got to act in plays. I got to sit front row to see some of my favorite comedians perform. I got to study in another country not once but twice; I’m going to London in January, which I’ve neglected to mention in my posts until now (sorry). I got to sing with people from Japan. I made a difference in the world just by baking really cool-looking cupcakes. And I got to witness the initial outrage over our now beloved, shiny, and colorful balls.

Do I have advice for my friends who are graduating in May? I do. Don’t worry about it. I have to tell myself that at least once every single day. The more you panic about getting a good grade on the GREs or the LSATs or getting a job right out of school, the more you’ll stress and burn yourself out, and trust me, you don’t want to do that. Don’t overstress yourself so much that you forget to enjoy your final semester as a TCNJ Lion. Go to the C-Store, buy a lot of ice cream, and watch a bad movie with your friends. Listen to your iPod and take a walk by the lakes. Then go sit by the lakes and just be in that moment. Do something as simple as taking a nice, two-hour nap one day. You’ve worked so hard the last four years, and you deserve to enjoy every moment before you leave here.

To the freshmen coming up on completing their first semester of college, you don’t need to have anything figured out now. I’ve heard some of my friends who are freshmen worry about graduating in four years and about what they want to do with your life. It’s okay to not have that figured out now. If you worry about what’s after college, you won’t enjoy what’s going on in college now. Explore a little. Join a club you’d never think to join. Take classes in a variety of departments if you can. Don’t spend all your time worrying about what to do after graduation. You’ve got four years to do that. Also, not graduating on time isn’t as bad as it sounds. Speaking from personal experience, it’s really, totally fine.

To conclude my final blog post as a TCNJ student, TCNJ has been my second home for 4 1/2 years. It feels weird to leave; you’re not supposed to leave your home, right? Some of my best friends are here, and will still be here when I leave. I’m not ready to leave now, and I probably won’t be ready to leave in December. But I know if I need to, I can always come back to TCNJ, where there will be students and professors here ready to welcome me home.


End of Year Wrap Up by Andrew Unger

Music major Andrew Unger reflects back on the Spring 2013 semester’s music performances and concerts in his end of the year wrap up. Thank you for following the TCNJ School of the Arts & Communication blog! Congratulations to all graduating seniors and we hope you all have a great and safe summer break! More student blog posts to come this Fall 2013!

What an exhausting, valuable, and fun academic year it’s been. I’m writing this blog post on the morning after performing with the TCNJ Wind Ensemble under Dr. David Vickerman in Shadows, a concert which marks the culmination of a year of very diverse and engaging concerts showcased by the Music Department. With only one concert left – Just Because! by the TCNJ Choirs – the entire student body can look back on a year of which it can be quite proud.

The TCNJ orchestra, choirs, and bands have all worked tirelessly to enrich the campus community with music in whatever way they can. To be a part of this process has been extremely fulfilling, and I’m already looking forward to two more seasons of incredible concerts.

During the tumult of finals week and the conclusion of classes, it’s just as important to look back on these wonderful experiences as it is to study for said finals. As a student of the fine arts, end-of-semester performances are a channel for months of hard work to be converted into something extremely positive, and for that I am grateful. Thank you to the students and faculty of the music department for an awesome year, and I’m anticipating another great one very soon. After all, September is not so far away.

A farewell and reflection from Allison Gibbons, graduating Music major

Allison Gibbons, senior Music major, gives TCNJ her final farewell before graduation. See what Allison’s future plans are, as well as her meaningful advice as she reflects back on her experiences as an undergraduate student. It has certainly been a pleasure to feature Allison as a student blogger!!

Wow, what an incredible whirlwind of a semester it has been! Since writing my February blog post I have taught elementary and middle school music, auditioned at four graduate schools, earned my Kappa Delta Pi honor cord, interviewed for a teaching job, sung at Lincoln Center, performed in Lyric Theatre’s opera scenes program, sung in my final concert with the chorale, attended numerous recitals and ensemble performances, and turned twenty-two. As you may recall, I have become accustomed to living with a busy schedule (in fact, I would have it no other way), but this semester turned my life upside down. I am feeling exhausted, burnt out, ready to graduate, and ready for summer.

I came into this semester thinking that I would be attending graduate school next year pursuing a master’s degree in voice performance. I prepared as best I could for my auditions (see my February blog post), but it just wasn’t enough. Student teaching affected the way I was using my voice and the amount of practice time I had, and I got sick three times between the last week of January and the first week of March. None of my auditions went particularly badly, but none were the best singing I’ve done this year. The week of April first was a disheartening one as I was rejected from each and every school that I had auditioned for.

It happens to most people at some point, I suppose: you think you know exactly what your plan is and how your life will play out, but you get taken by surprise. What do you do? What is your next move? What is your Plan B?

No matter how hard it is to do, we need to cope with whatever bizarre circumstances life tosses our way. It can be stressful and upsetting, but it’s very important to be able to deal with these circumstances (and the emotions that may come with them) in a healthy way. Fortunately, I have a wonderful support system of friends, family, and even a few professors who helped me to make it through what would have been an otherwise extremely difficult time. I happen to be a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I am excited to take the next step in my journey; it just happens to be a different step than the one I had originally anticipated.

I am currently applying to quite a few teaching jobs, and I am hoping that I will find a position for the new school year this coming fall; In the meantime, I am looking forward to teaching at the performing and visual arts day camp at my high school this summer, which I attended not too many years ago. I know that wherever my life takes me after graduation, I plan to do what I have always done: work hard, do my best, and do whatever I do with passion, enthusiasm, and vigor.

My four years at TCNJ have taught me so much and have helped shape me into the person I am today, and I am so grateful for the experiences I have had and the relationships that have developed because four years ago I chose The College of New Jersey. I am proud of my achievements and how far I’ve come as a student, teacher, musician, and person. Farewell, TCNJ, and to everyone who helped make my undergraduate experience what it was: thank you!