Two years ago around this time, I thought I was going to attend a four-year conservatory for musical theatre.
Boy was I wrong.
If someone had told me that I would be attending one of the top 10 schools of journalism in the country, I would have laughed in their face. I always had a love for the creative things in life, and for the most part, I always envisioned my career surrounding that. I could never picture myself being like all of my classmates, being pumped out of the machine of college admissions only to spend the rest of my life in a cubicle crunching numbers.
Over the summer I read a book, recommended by one of the professors I met at Colonial Inauguration (GW's version of freshman orientation). It's called Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz. Throughout the book, Deresiewicz discusses the corrupt system that young adults are forced to enter immediately after high school. Not only do guidance counselors put pressure on students to follow a "reliable career path" like being a doctor or lawyer, but the same pressure exists among peers. If I had a penny for every ivy-league-admit at my high school who talked about their "pre-med" track before even getting to college, I'd be a millionaire.
Also in the book, Deresiewicz talks about how to escape this process that quite literally treats students like numbers. He emphasizes creativity and the importance of having hobbies in college. Not only does this make you unique and fulfilled as a human being, but also probably more employable.
So, yes, music did not work out for me professionally. But that doesn't mean I can't keep it as a passion. Within the first week of college, I auditioned for every a cappella group and honestly did not think much of it. I didn't think I'd get into any and didn't care that much because freshman year was already a huge adjustment.
That night, I heard knocking at my dorm room door just after midnight. Slightly annoyed, I opened the door and to my surprise, a huge group of girls started singing to me a welcome song, holding a sign that said, "Welcome to the Sirens Izzy!" I just about died right then and there. We woke up everyone in the hallway and I didn't even care. We all did a group hug and from that moment on, I knew these girls would be so special to me.
The GW Sirens are an all female a cappella group that emphasizes values of feminism and overall support for every woman. Having performed on the Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and MILCK for the original #icantkeepquiet project, I am truly honored to be part of such an amazing group. We sing songs by Janelle Monáe, SZA, Travis Scott, Beyonce, and HAIM— just to name a few.
I seriously have never laughed harder than with this group of girls. They are always there for me whenever I need them, for any reason whatsoever. They are the most caring, understanding, beautiful, and downright hilarious people I've ever met. Each member is majoring in something different— from cognitive neuroscience to human services.
So, thank you GW Sirens for welcoming me with open arms and believing in me. Thank you for teaching me to hold standards— for myself and everyone who comes into my life. Thank you for validating my thoughts. Thank you for teaching me not to be ashamed of who I am.