Higher Education

Series: Why I study music (short essay competition entry)



Growing Baby Bunny

27 Posts
Karma: +2/-0
I'm entering a competition in which I have to submit a 300-500 word essay/article about higher education  and my degree. Here's a paragraph from the brief to give you an idea of what we have to write about: "This isn’t about finding out boring stuff like describing a typical day at university, we want to hear inspiring thoughts from students about the joys of learning, about studying at degree level in a subject they are passionate about, and about how university can expand the mind and broaden your horizons."

The deadline in next Monday (July 29th) and the prizes are amazing so I would appreciate feedback on my essay in order to make it winning material!


Choosing what I wanted to do after leaving school was a challenge comparable to no other. As an aspiring musician, my final year was spent in a flurry of singing practice, performance and uncertainty. For my peers, the next step in their educational journey seemed obvious: those who wanted to heal the sick got ahead of the game and had their medicine applications in by October, those who wished to build bridges or create cosmetics devoted themselves to engineering. I, on the other hand, faced an internal battle over the complex Higher Education choices available to me: Should I apply to conservatoires? Take a year out? Apply to University to study something ‘safer’, bide my time for four years, then see how I felt about music afterwards? The options overwhelmed me. Initially, I decided to apply for languages at University, worried my ambition of becoming a professional singer was merely a pipe dream - worried I would never be good enough - but at the last minute, a wave of confidence surged through me. If I wanted to study music so much, what was stopping me from applying to study it at University?

Within my first week in music department of XXXXXXXX University, I knew I had made the right decision. A relatively small and buzzing department, it brims with a friendly atmosphere and supportive people – people whom I very quickly came to put my absolute faith in. A few months into First Year, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I still felt as if I “wasn’t good enough” and did not deserve to be studying alongside musicians of such high calibre. However, after months of counselling – available for free through the University – I realised that I didn’t have to be the ‘best’. From this epiphany, my self-esteem gradually rebuilt itself and I passed First Year with reassuring marks. I would confidently say that the best approach to Higher Education is not to put too much pressure on yourself and simply to take in all that you can. The lessons we learn about humanity are just as, if not more, important than what we learn in the lecture hall. Tests based on memorisation of facts do not even begin to compare with the tests of empathy and altruism which we will face for the rest of our lives – the main tests for which University life prepares us.

Nietzsche once wrote, “life without music would be a mistake”, and I have taken this to heart. Music has shattered me into a million pieces at times…but it has also given me the key to unlock the prison cell which, for the past year, my mind has been. Music is so much more than dots and lines on a page, and dead men in powdered wigs. Music is escapism. Music is communication. Music is how emotion is expressed when words fail.

I may sometimes want to give up on myself, but I will never give up on music.


I'm not really sure about the opening line, in particular. Thoughts?



Furry Young Bunny

843 Posts
Karma: +9/-0
Your work is great! Your first line is alright, you might want to actually make a comparison though because it might make it more interesting to read.

Also the last line is a bit depressing...you should never give up on yourself! :)



Marketing Team

6,253 Posts
Karma: +94/-1
Hey don't get down on yourself! Your work is really well written, and you're not the only one to go through feeling inadequate. Writers go through this sort of thing too. It's called feeling like a fraud and it affects all artists!

You should check out this article, maybe it will help you :). If not please let us know so we can try again ha ha.


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Christie (Christie) is a Musician who has made 27 posts since joining Creative Burrow on 12:03pm Mon, Jul 22, 2013. Christie was invited by No one.

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