Now I finally have time to breathe. And blog.
I thought I would be burnt out. But strangely, I'm not.
Don't get me wrong- I'm glad to have a break from classes! Playing viola and practicing is still fun for me. I want to do as much as I can.
And lately, I've been reflecting on the last four years. Everybody says this, but I still can't believe how fast they went.
Even though the years went by quickly, freshman year seems like it was forever ago.
Roommates at the first Shepherd Symphony Concert
This was the year it snowed in Houston. On the last day of classes. Best day ever!
Travel to LA with my quartet
The Pacific Ocean
Freshman year was the year of figuring out what was going on. And, though I didn't know it at the time, making friendships that would last and grow.
"Natalie, are there supposed to be flames coming out of the oven?"- during a baking adventure gone a bit awry
This is what Shepherd looked like pre-Skyspace. I miss this, I'm not going to lie.
Sophomore year. I learned a lot. About people, about conflicts, about myself. At school, this was a brutal year. Three faculty/staff members passed away. At each of the memorial services, students and faculty played next to each other, and that's how the Shepherd Sinfonietta was born.
Also spent many happy evenings drinking sleepy-time tea, and watching these two crazy kitties.
After Mahler 3 (not sure who took this, but whoever you are, thank you!)
I went to Aspen after sophomore year, and it changed my life- and my playing. Came back for junior year, super excited for the next two years!
Junior year was really busy. It was the year of recitals, reunions, baking, new friends, and crazy weather!
Then senior year. Senior year has been nothing short of amazing, heartbreaking, stressful, exhilarating, beautiful.
I got to hear an unborn baby's heartbeat (not mine- my cousin's!!)
There were East Coast visits and visits to Chicago, concerts I'll never forget, and late night reading sessions.
I'm not sure words could adequately describe how much college has changed me, and for the better. I want to always grow- and going to Rice has showed me that I can. Always. Rice has opened me up, gently nudged (and sometimes forcefully dragged) me out of my comfort zone, but always with the promise of a solid support system behind me. Now I am bolder and more confident in my relationships, music-making, and my faith.
I can't wait to see what the next few years bring!