Grad School

Moving to Rochester & Our decision to go to Eastman

Hi Everyone!

By now many of you have seen that Seth and I will be moving up to Rochester in May for Seth to attend the Eastman School of Music! Making this decision was very difficult, and it certainly did not come lightly. At the beginning of April, we were patiently waiting to hear if Seth had been admitted into Eastman. We had already heard back from some great music schools, but Eastman was the school that we were most excited about.

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Since the beginning of this process, Eastman was the ‘Hail Mary’ school, and something that Seth always dreamt about but never thought would be possible. Seth was invited in January for an interview & a piano audition (which is a big deal in itself, as Eastman only invites ten percent of its applicants to interview on campus), along with a tour of the campus and the opportunity to sit down with current grad students to talk about the program that he would be entering. The interview went well, but Seth said the piano audition did not go as well as he had hoped. He had practiced for 4 – 6 hours a day for several weeks. My heart broke. I cried after he got out of the audition because deep down inside I knew what had happened. *I know, super dramatic.*

After leaving Eastman that day, we knew that we probably wouldn’t be back. Eastman is one of the most competitive schools in the world to get into and we knew that anything less than perfection would be an instant disqualification. A few weeks later, Seth received an email saying that they wanted him to interview for a music theory position. Again, Seth thought it didn’t go very well…

Fast forward to the beginning of April: we still had not heard from Eastman. Knowing the deadline for accepting or declining graduate schools was coming very soon, we knew that it could come down to a last minute decision. One evening Seth received an email from Eastman. We both gasped and knew that this specific email could determine our decision as to where to go next.

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We were very excited to find out that Seth did indeed get into Eastman with a nice tuition remission scholarship and a stipend; however, the weight of the decision immediately increased because we had to decide either to accept a wonderful offer from another University that would allow Seth to get two Masters degrees completely free along with a teaching assistantship or go to Eastman and cost us a lot of money, but have a world class education that could set him up to enter into a competitive doctoral program upon graduating.

The next two weeks all we could think about was this decision. We were constantly weighing the pros and cons of the two offers.  In good ‘ol blog fashion, I’ve included our list for you:

Other University

Pros: Zero debt, getting paid to go to school, teaching experience, nice area, closer to Oklahoma, amazing apartment

Cons: Move away from my endocrinologist  whom I love, expensive move, not know anyone there, start a new life again

Eastman:

Pros: One of the most prestigious music schools in the world, easy move to Rochester, still have our friends that we made in Houghton, set Seth up for doctoral work

Cons: Further away from home, we would have to take out some student loans

The biggest thing for Seth and I about going to Eastman was going to be the cost. We paid off all of our student loans from OBU within a year of graduation, and knew that it would take a lot of hard work and commitment to take on more loans. After guidance from a few of Seth’s mentors, he sent Eastman the offer from the other school, knowing that if they really wanted Seth, Eastman would give him more money. Another week passed and we had no word from Eastman. Honestly, we were a little scared that we had lost our chance.

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Last Wednesday, Seth and I were in Rochester waiting for my Dad to arrive at the airport when Seth received an email from Eastman saying that because another student declined their offer they were able to give him more money! At that moment, I think we both knew the decision we were going to make. We called both of our mom’s looking for advice and wisdom. Both of them mentioned that if we make the right decision, God and the Holy Spirit will give us peace afterwords.

Thursday morning we both woke up and God gave us a huge peace about Eastman (1 day before the deadline to commit or decline a school). Since moving to Upstate New York, the Holy Spirit has been working in both of us. If there is anything you get out of this blog post it is this: When we are close to God and trying to follow His plan for our life it is the easiest to hear Him. The concept is very childlike, but He blesses you so much. Since the start of this process in December we have felt fear, frustration, anxiety, and confusion, but we have always known that His plan would prevail regardless of us not knowing what that specific plan might be. Time and Time again we thought that Eastman was not the place, or that Seth has lost his chance, but He showed us numerous times looking back at the last few months that he is in control.

I am so proud that Seth will be going to Eastman in the Fall, but I am more proud of us as a married couple that we fervently listened to God and continued to have faith that God was going to show us His path for our life.

We love you guys!

 

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