I’d be lying if I said fall quarter of my freshman year of college was perfect. I’d also be lying if I said I stand by every decision I made back in those first few strange, exciting weeks of independence. But if there is one thing I did right in the beginning of my career at Northwestern University, it was deciding to audition for college a cappella.

In many ways, choosing to try out was a no-brainer -- I sang all through high school, and basically my whole life before that. The natural transition from chorus and school musicals seemed to be to a cappella. But, in those first weeks where it seemed like everyone was trying to forge a “new college identity” (a completely irrational idea, I might add), I almost let a stupid, unjustified fear of becoming pigeonholed keep me from one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Let me tell you what college a cappella isn’t -- it’s not an “empty extracurricular;” it’s not a distraction, or a waste of time. Contrary to what I thought when I auditioned, it’s not just somewhere I go to sing, it’s also not "Pitch Perfect," but that’s another story.

It’s cheesy, but a cappella is my family. They’re the people that are always there; they’re the ones who know me best; they’re people I can count on for advice, or support, or just a laugh. They’re some of the weirdest, funniest, most wonderful people I’ve ever met and have given me so much more than I ever expected them to. We were brought together to make music, sure, but that was just the beginning; I auditioned to sing, but was unexpectedly handed some of my closest friends.

Without my a cappella group, I wouldn’t have half of what I have at college today. Not only did the group lead me to join other activities on campus, they gave me a support system that helped me through the (unfortunately, inevitable) worst parts of freshman year. It’s safe to say that without them I would be a much sadder, more confused and less complete person.

I know these types of heartfelt open letters have been written a million times about a million different activities. I know that the things I write won’t ever make every person who reads it understand just how important a cappella is to me. Still, I had to write it, because even though I can’t change the less-than-great things I did fall quarter of my freshman year, I can be thankful that something I did do was drag my apprehensive butt to a cappella auditions.

I love you SigO!