The responsibility of finding your own “American Dream” is pushed on us early in life. Society forces us to have everything figured out by the time we’re 18. We have to go to college. We have to somehow know what we want to do with the rest of our lives. And we have to be successful.
Going to College Solves Everything…. Right?
Fully aware of this pressure, I set my sights on Belmont, beginning at age 16. For three years, I worked my butt off with Belmont as the end goal – somehow thinking that by stepping foot on the campus, I’d suddenly have all the answers, and I would live “happily ever after”.
Yes, that was naive.
After one year in Nashville attending Belmont, I wanted to give up.
I wanted to pack it up, go to UVA, get a nursing degree, and live a life I could predict. I’d realized the music business wasn’t for me. My classmates seemed to have confidence pouring out of them. They were all somehow going to change the music business world – and I believed they all would. As for myself… not at all.
But, leaving Nashville after only a year seemed like a cop-out. I had made some good friends that I didn’t want to leave, plus, as crazy as this sounds, I landed my dream job on campus as a tour guide. I began to realize that just as it had taken awhile to get my “college life” started, it was also going to take time to cultivate my “real” life, my “post-college” life. And so, I decided to stick around Nashville a little longer.
I still stuck with finishing the music business degree (it was a BBA, after all). I even had two internships on Music Row, but it only reaffirmed my gut feeling that the music business wasn’t for me. Granted, they were probably two of the suckiest internships available, but networking wasn’t one of my skills at the time, and I needed whatever I could get!
I sat in a cubicle doing data entry, entering dozens of newly written songs into the database. It was miserable. Working just 10 hours a week felt like an eternity. I took numerous trips to the water cooler and coffee machine to try to kill time. I felt like my soul was seeping out of my pores with every minute that dragged on. I felt out of place. I even turned down the only redeeming thing that ever came out of that internship — an invitation to a Carrie Underwood #1 party!
Wait, TV? In Nashville? You mean, people get paid to do that?
Even though I could’ve cared less for my internships, it was my boss at my first internship that first mentioned video production. He was one of those guys who talks your ear off about his achievements; how he was hanging out backstage with so-and-so at that awesome concert – but he’s been working in the business for over 25 years, so he’s earned the right, I suppose. Anyway, on one particular day, he was sitting behind his desk, beaming proudly as usual. He caught my eye and pointed at the television on the wall, which was airing a Craig Morgan music video on GAC. “See that? I was on that set. Now THAT was a fun day.”
For once, he had impressed me.
And I realized I wanted to be on that set. Somebody had to do it and make money for it. Why couldn’t it be me?