I was suffering through college and I was miserable.
Up until that point I was one of the smart kids. If there was an award to be won, I got it. Getting into college was easy, but picking a major was terrifying. I liked broad subjects but never one or two things specifically. So when I had to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, I chose Business thinking it would be broad enough to hold me over. Except my college didn’t offer a Business degree, so I took Economics, knowing I would have to suffer through four years to get to where I wanted. Grin and bear it, I told myself.
Well it was horrible. My third year in and I was sitting in a class of 400 listening to my professor talk about advanced applications for macro economics and I couldn’t make myself give a shit. Mid lecture I got up and walked out. Mentally, I quit.
My friends suffered through their schooling and became doctors and lawyers. A lot of their parents wanted them to be doctors and lawyers so they gritted their teeth and put in the time. Today, I think most of them hate being doctors and lawyers.
I wandered the campus and ended up at my college’s public access TV station. It was liberating. They called it a ‘collective’ but it was really five or six nerds playing underground music videos over the air from the school basement. I was in heaven.
By the end of the year I was running that station. We grew to almost 50 people and I learned to get friendly with the school administrators who let us film the seasonal concerts. In short, I was running the station like a business and in a year we were one of the largest and most successful in the country. I changed my major to Communications and Film and filled my extra hours with fun bullshit classes like astrology and philosophy. I felt worldly. I was loving life!
You know what I remember from three years of Economics? This:
But what I remember about that last year at college were my school concerts and gazing at the stars and my art class and lugging cameras around the university and making a case to the school board about why our organization deserved a 1500% increase in school funds.
I think that last year was one of the best in my whole life. It was one of the first times I was doing things because I enjoyed them, not because they were expected of me or because I thought society would require them for me to get a job. And now as I work with artists, I find myself having to bite my tongue sometimes. I catch myself wanting to say “You can’t do things that way. Put in your time and do things THIS way, THIS is how the music industry works, just suffer through this part of your career and it will lead to financial and creative freedom.”
And then I think back to what I learned in school and I realize I have it all wrong.