COLUMN: A letter to the Fine Arts students


Killeen Reidy, Columnist

Hi, my name is Killeen Reidy, and I used to be a music performance major.  

Here’s a little more background. It was winter of senior year during high school, and I had been learning percussion for seven years. I had no idea what to do after high school, but I loved music so I figured I should keep pursuing it. I felt like I’d put so much of my time and missed out on so much for it, that what else could I do? I mean, if I truly loved it and had the opportunity to, I should make it my career right? Everyone talks about how if you can, you should try making money doing what you love, so I tried. 

I had a long lists of reasons that made me excited about being a music major at EIU: I had been going to the summer music camp, I knew some of the professors and always loved working with them, I was going to get to play music with other people after months without, etc.  

The excitement lasted for a little over halfway into the semester and then I encountered what every college student has—burnout. If you somehow haven’t experienced it, let me tell you it’s not fun. Looking back that was probably the beginning of the end.  

Now it’s second semester and as hard as I try to combat it, burnout comes back quicker than it did previously. It was like once it had gotten a bite of me it wouldn’t leave me alone. That’s when I noticed I was starting to dread playing music, and that scared me. Now I had experienced this in small dosages when anxiety about a performance got to me, but it would usually be wiped away with the thrill of performing. Not this time though, that thrill seemed to have disappeared. I was Sisyphus and the want seemed like the endless amount of practicing was the rock I was struggling to push up hill.  

To sum it up, I got scared of losing something that had been apart of me for so long (my love of music), had a couple of perfectionist meltdowns and suddenly I was an English major.  

Now I’m not saying every EIU fine arts student should just quit and become English majors. What I am saying is that not being a music major doesn’t mean I don’t still love music. Whenever I’m free you’ll see me first in line to cheer on my former peers. I’m also still a musician. Getting an A or a C in music theory doesn’t mean you aren’t a musician. Failing a painting class doesn’t make you less of an artist. You are what makes the art, not the other way around. You don’t need a fancy degree to be able to say you’re a musician or artist. The only real requirement? To make art. So make art—whether it’s with a degree or not.

Killeen Reidy is a junior English major. They can be reached at [email protected] or at 581-2812.