Oberlin Blogs


October 7, 2015

Rory O'Donoghue ’19

My roommate and I are collectively taking 52 credits this semester (!!) and before we both collapse in pathetic splats of exhaustion from this seemingly insurmountable number, let me elaborate: we're both double degrees, the dire severity of this introduction is perhaps slightly exaggerated, and we've both very much got this.

First of all, being a double degree is super neat — I get to study music intensely but also vacate that realm in favor of entirely unrelated college courses every day. Squee! Being a double degree means different things to different students, and personal ideas of double degree identities seem to evolve accordingly as students get older. Some students approach the program with a focus in the conservatory and continued interest in taking college classes, while some are primarily invested in the college but want to continue refining their musical sides. As of right now, I find myself falling somewhere in between — I want to make a career out of music, but I also know that a rich spectrum of classes makes me happier. For me, the double degree program works as a mediator that ensures balance.

Here's my semester:

  • Music Theory III
  • Aural Skills III
  • Introduction to Western Music History
  • Intermediate Chinese
  • Principles of Economics
  • Private Clarinet Lessons
  • Chamber Orchestra/Sinfonietta

Here's my roommate! This picture is from last Thanksgiving break, when we were creeping around NYC.

Their name is Elly, and they play trumpet. We're very close and apparently very good at coming off as siblings. Here's their semester:

  • Existentialism in European History
  • Intro to the Advanced Study of Literature
  • Music Theory III
  • Aural Skills III
  • Trumpet Ensemble
  • Oberlin Orchestra
  • Introduction to Western Music History

All of this means we have busy days full of haphazardly running between classes and brewing more coffee. Here's a breakdown of my typical Monday in snazzy bullet-point format, for anyone curious as to how I block my time.

  • 7:00am: Wake up.
  • 7:45am: Actually wake up, after having casually snoozed through 15 alarms.
  • 8:00am: Toodle over to the con to warm up and bask in the radiance of long tones in the morning.
  • 9:00am: Music History, where my professor somehow manages to zazz up Bach's daily life in order to appeal to the incredibly interested 9:00am college student mind.
  • 10:00am: Music Theory, where we pick apart why music sounds good.
  • 11:00am: Chinese, involving a paradigmatic shift from musical language to foreign language.
  • 12:20pm: *CO-OP LUNCH* where fresh hot food is brought from the kitchen with love.
  • 1:00pm: Practice clarinet! Practice some more. Take a break and think about practice. Watch some videos of other people practicing.
  • Whenever fatigue sets in: Go outside and find some friends stretched out on the grass and sunbathe.
  • 3:30pm: Economics, where I dabble in something I know nothing about.
  • 4:20pm: Get that hour or so of practice in before dinner! You know your lips WANT IT.
  • 6:20pm: Co-op dinner! Where sometimes I need to discuss our current food policy to fulfill my current duties as food buyer.
  • 7:00pm: Practice.
  • 7:30-9:30pm: Orchestraaaa.
  • 10:00pm: I should probably practice, but I know that this will probably devolve into staring at myself in the practice room mirror and imagining specifics of my next piercing (sort of a joke).
  • 10:45pm: In order to redeem yourself for having done that for 45 minutes, do some solid work on reed making and maintenance, because tomorrow's orchestra rehearsal will thank you for it.
  • When I'm done: Then practice.
  • 11:45pm: Crash down in one of three favorite study locations:
    1. The dead quiet 3rd floor of Mudd for serious business.
    2. The squashy couch in my room for lighter fare, which is frequently dangerous in terms of maintaining consciousness.
    3. Sprawled out on any number of floors for forced concentration.
  • ?: Fall asleep? Or maybe settle down and listen to the Berlin Philharmonic? Pleasure read? Coerce your boyfriend into playing Scrabble? Late night Scrabble generally wins out.

Repeat! With sufficient quantities of coffee and tea!

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