Why I Quit College

I understand the “About” section of the blog tells you a little bit about why I quit college, but there’s more to it than just me realizing my passion.  Yes, I quit because I never wanted to go in the first place, but, didn’t I enjoy it?  I’m not saying I didn’t, it really is–or rather, was–a lot of fun.  I could see myself being an engineer, or an assistant…as a hobby.  Maybe once or twice a week, just helping out.  But I could not see myself getting up in the morning, and doing this as a job.

The music industry as we know it is going downhill.  If there is one thing I have learned in the past two years, it is this fact.  I just recently had a class where the instructor named off a list of jobs in the music industry.  After he finished, he said, “If you want to be any of these things, you better start learning the line ‘would you like fries with that?”‘  Ok, that may not have been a direct quote, but believe me, it’s direct enough.  I got pretty mad because for eleven weeks, this is what I heard.  Every class.  So I went home, got on Facebook, and sent a message to my favorite song mixer (thank goodness I was friends with him).  And you know what?  He responded.  My message to him was a lengthy one, but it basically asked, “Is the music industry as hard to thrive in as he says?”  His response: Pretty much.  J.R. McNeely, who mixes about 98% of Christian music, just lost his studio.  He has been in the music industry for four years, his name is on 9/10 CDs you pick up (if they’re Christian CDs), and he had to lose something he built from the ground up.

Would you like to know something?  “Record budgets have been cut down to less than a 1/4 of what they once were.”  “Because?”  Because no one buys music like they used to.  Anything you want, it’s free.  And since it’s all free, fewer records sold equals less money to make records.  And people like J.R. lose.  And yet, we win because I didn’t have to buy those five albums we just illegally downloaded.  That’s right, go get more free music.  Soon, everyone will be out of a job, and there will be no more music for us to download.  Ok, alright, that’s a little exaggerated, but I’m sure you get my point.

Another thing is, when you enroll into the Art Institute for audio production, you automatically get a microphone and ProTools.  If you have no idea what this means, I’ll tell you: home studio.  Those two items are pretty much all you need to make someone pay you money to record their stuff.  “A big expensive studio can’t compete when near professional recordings can be made on a computer in a spare bedroom.”  True that, J.R.  My friend is a prime example.  She has a studio in her room.  I can pay her however much–much less than a big studio–and I can have a demo right now… Or, whenever she’s done mixing it.  Oh yea, I don’t have to get a mixer to do that, because you learn that too in school.

On a side note: I got to meet J.R.  He actually remembered me too.

Everyone in that class heard the same thing I did.  So, why aren’t they quitting?  Well, I know one person isn’t because their parents are paying for college, and they told him he can’t.  He too doesn’t even like recording anything.  But as for everyone else?  Probably because they know they want to succeed.  I, on the other hand, know I can’t.  Why?  Like I said, I can’t see myself doing this as a job.  I don’t have the desire to succeed in this industry.  It is fun, but for a short time.

J.R. told me something that not everyone gets to hear.  Yes, my instructor has been in the industry for 40-50 years, and he’s telling everyone to quit, but he is also telling everyone how successful he is.  I, on the other hand, know someone who has been hurt by the field he loves.  This is what he told me:   “I’m not saying that it is impossible to make a living in music, just that with the way things are, your chances went from one in a thousand, to one in five hundred thousand.”

If you were told that, but you still loved and had a passion for whatever field you were going into, would you not care about statistics and still try?  Would it not matter to you, as long as you get to do something?  See, when he told me this, I wanted out faster than I had for the past two years.  I believe this is what jump started my feelings even more.  I didn’t want to try, I didn’t want to do something.  I wanted to know that I was going to be ok if I failed.  And I wasn’t.  I wasn’t ok.

Why Now?

Well, a couple of reasons.  One, I found my passion over summer break.  I was really tired, but when I began to write, I felt rejuvenated.  That, and when I hate writing, I love it at the same time (read my “About” section for the bigger story).  But, there is one more reason why I chose now.

I went into my first class and the instructor, Mr. You’ll–Fail–I’ll–Succeed, said that we were to come in with a session the next week, or our grade will drop to 50%.  50% is an F, and I don’t have a session.  Not one.  Both of my hard drives have failed me, and even if I did have a session, I believe not one of them met his requirements.  I decided that I was not going to start off the quarter with an F.  And it was going to stay that way, because there was no way I could get my hard drives to come back to life (I had tried before, but no, they’re 24 feet under the ground, as opposed to the normal 6 feet).

If I’m going to fail at writing, I’m ok with that.  Because you know what?  I still get to write.  And that’s what I love doing.  I want to try.  I want to do something.  Even if nothing works out, everything will work out, because I will be doing the one thing I love.  And to me, that in itself, is success.

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