Finals—and Then Freedom | Student Blog

Friday, May 17, 2019
Mei Stone
Admissions Blog
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Mei and friends in front of a mountain. A speech bubble reads 'We did it!"

What a year it has been!

We’re in our last week of school, which means finals—and then freedom! I have had such an incredible year full of growth and opportunity, and I am so grateful for all of the invaluable lessons I’ve learned. I’ve spent some time reflecting on the progress I’ve made this year, so here’s how each month this year went:

I moved into a new apartment! Being in a different part of town encouraged me to get out into the city more, get more comfortable with exploring, and get annoyingly into interior design. (Never thought I’d become that person who notices cabinet knobs or throw pillows, but here I am.)


In October I got a leg injury that left me on crutches, and it was miserable. Life was frustratingly slow and exhausting, but having my thousand-mile-an-hour life screech to a halt taught me patience, and it gave me an entirely new appreciation for my health and strength. I was reminded that it’s okay to take things slowly and that my health should always be a priority.


... and as soon as I could walk again, I ran a marathon! So maybe it wasn’t the best idea after just recovering from an injury (and I absolutely will never take that risk again), but I was beyond overjoyed to accomplish a goal I had been working at for months. Having something to strive for outside of music was a fantastic way to exercise my self-discipline and boost my morale, but in flute playing it actually made me more focused and clearheaded as well as helped my breath control and posture. After successfully finishing it, I realized that I am capable of anything if I set my mind to it!


By the end of the semester, I felt that I had done enough growing up for a few months and was so ready to go home and be with family. As I get older (and my winter breaks seem to get shorter), I realize more and more how important my family is to me and how valuable the time I spend with them is. I was more than happy to spend the holiday season baking cookies with my little sister, going to Zumba classes with my mother, and watching movies with my father.


With the new year off to a freezing, busy, and already tiring start, I found myself absorbing and creating more art than I expected. I ended up taking an interesting liberal arts class that related New York history to artists' lives, which led to me learning more about the city I live in and taking advantage of the artistic opportunities it offers.


February was a stressful and long month, but I began to prioritize the people in my life who matter most and make more of an effort to show them I care. Even if it meant sending a quick “Hope you’re doing well!” text to an old friend, I tried to surround myself with the people I value most and be my best self for them, too.


In March I took the plunge and switched studios, a decision that took me months to come to terms with. It was a choice I felt was best for my education and my learning style, and while it was very difficult to make the switch, I’m so happy that I finally did. I am incredibly grateful for the years I studied with my previous teacher and I think they were essential for my growth, but I am also humbled and excited to start a new chapter.


My father came to visit me this month, something we had been planning since last semester. He got to see me play with the Juilliard Orchestra for the first time as well as in several other performances, and it truly meant the world to me that he was able to see what I’ve been up to the past three years. It just so happened that the few days he visited were some of my busiest performance days, so he got a chance to see my perform in a variety of settings, but we also carved out enough time to explore the city together!


I’m capping off a year of about 60 performances, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the countless opportunities I’ve been given this year. I have learned so many life lessons, from dealing with injuries to taking charge of my own education, and I think I have had the most productive year yet. Through all the challenges I’ve encountered, I have become a more confident, outgoing, mature, and enthusiastic person; every year I find myself growing into the person I want to be, and I’m excited for what my senior year has in store!