So many goals, so little time.

Published September 3, 2014 by Soprano, Megan

I honestly am still in shock that it’s September AGAIN. Only seems like yesterday I was going off to my first teaching day in Central NL and here we are ready for day two. September has also reminded me that I have SO much I want to accomplish this year.

This fall I have decided to take a Music History course from Athabasca University. Honestly, I was getting bored and losing a bit of my musical knowledge that you had when you’re immersed in it 24/7 in college. Also, my mark in uni sucked big time so I’m hoping to up that.

So in other news…I got a phone call last Thursday with TWO job offers. Yup. TWO. I had about two seconds of excitement until I realized where they were: Bay d’Espoir and Harbour Breton (google map them). I had to turn them down. I know you’re saying I’m crazy BUT they are two and two and a half hours away. I cannot ditch ten studio students. I cannot give up opera lessons in Corner Brook. And I definitely cannot commute daily. So unfortunately I had to politely decline. 

However, I applied to three substitute lists (two of which I did not expect to get approved for) and I was approved! That means I will probably get some extra calls that I didn’t get last year only being on one.

As you can see, the title of my blog is “So many goals, so little time”. Well, here are a summary of my goals I would like to complete by this time next year…

1. Audition and get accepted to do a summer program (ANYWHERE).
2. Get at least an A- on my Music History course.
3. Have 10-15 private students.
4. Have a successful MS Society benefit recital.
5. Be granted grad school auditions to the schools I apply for.

A lot of goals, but definitely do-able. 

Or at least I’m gonna try really hard!

Dyslexia 101.

Published May 12, 2014 by Soprano, Megan

I am different. Very funny. I know what you’re all thinking. I’m not different as in “strange” (although some would dispute that!), but I am different than most and always have been. I was the kid who listened to classical music as a child and bought shoes for their comfort, not looks. I’m also a firm believer in “it’s meant to be”. Our lives are already mapped out by God and He has a plan for our lives right down to the smallest detail.

During your last two years of secondary education everyone goes through “what to I want to be when I grow up?” phases. For me the answer was clear: get a nursing degree and then try to get into Med school. CLEARLY I have taken a completely different path! However, it was not because I wanted to (at first)…

I don’t share the fact that I have a learning disability to everyone – or at first I didn’t. I’ve since learned that it’s who I am and I need to embrace that I’m “different”. It hasn’t been an easy road, though. A Dyslexic’s (shortened LD – Learning Disabled) life is complicated for a long time, but then you learn new ways to “learn”. My dyslexia manifests itself in mainly word-blindness, memory and reading comprehension. Oddly, I am an excellent speller and can memorize opera pieces fairly easily. A reader for written tests, a note-taker, and extra time were common accommodations provided to me throughout university.

A little background on my beginning at College/University. I tried two times to get in to Nursing School and was unsuccessful at both. I completed a semester of the Programmer Analyst Diploma program at CNA, but then switched to CUTY (College-University Transfer Year). When I didn’t get in to Nursing after that first year I left to go to MUN to do some general courses in Chemistry and Biology. While there, I also joined the MUN Festival Choir and had some lessons with a MUN Voice Faculty member.

Let’s backtrack a little bit to January 2002. This was my first hint that I had a “problem”. I had been working at Dominion for only three months at that point. I had checked through a cheque from a lady and mixed up the numbers resulting in giving her too much money. Luckily she came back with the money (only in NL!), but I had a nervous pit in my stomach that something was terribly wrong. I mentioned the word Dyslexia to my workmates and my Mother who all just told me to be more careful…

Now, let’s forward to October 2002. I was now a student at MUN and having trouble with ALL of my courses: Biology, Chemistry, History, and Anthropology. All I did was study. Honestly. I lived at the library, I went to extra help sessions for Chem and Bio, but I bombed all tests and exams. You get to a point where you feel embarrassed and feel like the stupidest person alive. There were very low points for me.

Dr. John FitzGerald. This is who I credit with “saving my (academic) life”. He was my fabulous History professor at MUN and HE noticed something was wrong and got the ball rolling with the whole LD situation. I went to visit a psychologist at MUN and then on to testing at an outside private practice. A week and 19-page report later I received my Dyslexia diagnosis.

December 2002. The day I received the diagnosis I initially thought: “Ok. Well then. That’s that. At least I know.” and that was it. I didn’t take time to actually process what it meant and how it was going to change my life until years later. Looking back I think it was just a lot of information to take in and I honestly had no clue what it all meant.

During the testing of a LD, you are put through aptitude tests, personality tests, memory tests and other psychological tests. The report they give you helps you learn A LOT about yourself. For instance, I have superior creative writing skills and poor short-term memory skills. And surprising to a lot of people, most dyslexics are above average intelligence (don’t know if that applies to me. haha).

Post-Diagnosis. The hardest part to get over was the stigma I felt went with being LD. I was ashamed to tell anyone for fear they may treat me differently or think I was “stupid”. I have quickly learned that in most cases people are very understanding and you are not treated differently. Of course, there are exceptions to that.

After I was diagnosed I felt I need to move back home and truly figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I was strongly advised by the psychologists who did my testing to pursue a career in the arts. My dream of being a nurse was now over and I mourned that for a little, but soon began to realize I was being called to music.

I received a lot of great support from my post-secondary schools since this diagnosis. However, I have to credit Acadia University as being the most effective for me. There was always someone to talk to and always accommodations available to me. My GPA jumped from a 1.75 at CNA/MUN to a 3.3 in my first year at Acadia. All of my profs were supportive and helped in any way they could. This allowed me to take on a full course load (though it was previously recommended I take a lighter one) and graduate on time.

I credit a childhood friend with the career path I chose today. In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to go and study music, but I kept telling myself it was a silly and unrealistic dream. It wasn’t until he said “Megan, you will never be happy unless you study music” that I believed my NEW dream could become a reality. And it did.

My advice. Never judge a book by its cover. Dyslexics are smart people. We really are. We just learn differently and some times take a little bit longer to grasp a concept. But when we do, look out!

I now make it a point to tell my students and fellow teachers I am LD. Not to make excuses, but rather to show them that it doesn’t matter what problems you have, you can get through them with hard work. Most are amazed and once a student said “But Miss, how can you be a teacher and you have a learning disability?”, to which I replied “You can be anything if you work hard enough”.

I don’t look at my disability as a hindrance anymore but rather part of my character. For years leading up to my diagnosis I had all but given up on reading for pleasure, but now I am a bookworm once again thanks to re-learning my approach to reading. Does dyslexia still cause me a headache or two? YES. Everyday. You just learn to cope with it and learn a different approach and you try until you get it.

I wouldn’t change a thing about the path life has taken me on. There is never a time that I wish I had gone to nursing school. I am proud of my musical abilities and achievements thus far and believe this was the path that had been laid out for me before I was born.

I took the road less travelled, the hard way, the uphill climb…but after all, that’s me in a nutshell, right?

30.

Published July 7, 2013 by Soprano, Megan

So here we are. Almost a full year since I wrote an entry. Shocking, I know. Honestly, I’ve been busy I know what you’re thinking-excuses, excuses-but honestly I have been REALLY busy. Where to begin…

Well I can’t promise this entry will be a happy one, because the truth is I’m going through a confusing and tough time in my life. Almost four weeks ago I turned 30 which was extremely difficult for me to “swallow”. I know people say that’s still “young”, etc. but to me it isn’t. I’m 30 and what do I have to show for it? Sure I’ve gotten two degrees and my teaching certificate, but I have no husband, no permanent job, and no house (I live with my parents again-more on that later!). The majority of my friends are all married with children or at least have a long-term partner. Me. Nothing. Zilch. Nadda.

The only thing I can honestly say I am proud of is the fact that I acquired 20 private music students all on my own and I found out that I absolutely LOVE teaching privately. From the first day it started I was never nervous and I felt like I knew what I was doing. Of course, all of that is gone with the ground-breaking decision I had to make this spring.

Long-story-short, I went to an education fair at MUN (you may have seen me partially on NTV news! lol) and scored an interview with Nova Central School District. I had NO intentions of leaving St. John’s (even though my heart had been tugging at me lately) so I went to it to see what they had to offer. It turned out it was more than the ONE day of subbing I had received here. They had no subs in central NL so I made the decision to move home and back in to my parents house – AT 30. After just moving in to a brand new apartment I was giving that all up to go live with Mom and Dad again. I feel I have no choice at this point…what’s to lose, really?

I guess I should also fill you in on the fact that I left my workplace of Dominion after over 11 years of service back in February. That was another hard decisions-it seems like 2013 is the year of hard decisions for me!-but one that was necessary. Now I am a strong-willed and tough-skinned person, but this was bordering on torture to go to work every day. I was being harrassed by a manager there (no, I’m not saying names) and after months of mistreatment I finally broke. I had began to develop some depression and anxiety issues and my physical health was being compromised. I gave my two-weeks’ notice and I was outa there! Honestly, it’s been the best decision. I was able to get my unemployment and truly I have never felt better mentally or physically.

So now that I’m back in Grand Falls-Windsor I’ve began to remember all of the little things that annoy me about this town. One of them being the politics surrounding the music community. I’m not going to get in to specifics right now, but let’s just say I’ve already had enough of people bowing down to one (unworthy) person. Give someone else a chance. Let someone else shine for a change. This is a whole other topic for another day!

So you might ask, where does that leave my own music career and education? Truly I have no idea. I gave up studying with Dr. Leibel when I moved back home and will hopefully begin studying with someone in Corner Brook, but honestly I am scared. I am 30 years old now and I had hoped to be done graduate school by 30. Now who knows if I’ll ever get in? It’s so frustrating and hard when you want something so badly, but do not have the resources or mentors to aide you. Have I given up? In my heart, no. In my mind, kind of-kind of not. I guess I feel a little hopeless and confused. I know if I don’t pursue my dream I will regret it and on the other hand I feel like I’m so deep in the hole that I’ll never find a way out. I just pray to God for guidance and open doors. I think I deserve a break. I’ve been dealt so many blows I at least deserve that.

As for the rest of my life I don’t know what’s gonna happen. Will I get a job? Will I be good at classroom teaching? Will I get students? Will I find love? Will I ever get to pursue my dream? Will someone ever steer me out of this mess?

I
don’t
know.

A time of new beginnings and fresh starts.

Published July 18, 2012 by Soprano, Megan

I know, I know. I ALWAYS say I’m going to keep this updated and here we are again, almost a year has passed. This time I PROMISE to at least TRY (haha) and keep this up.

A lot has happened since last year. Some good, some bad…

BAD First.

1. Hope you don’t mind hearing about this sort of thing…but after battling with some digestive issues (Ewwww!) for the past five years I finally have answers to what my “problem” is. I have something called a Spastic Colon and Acid Reflux. Yes. It’s as bad as it sounds, I assure you. It is also looking like I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but I still have to undergo a few more tests to make sure it is not Celiac Disease or Chrons/Colitis. Since I have been following a gluten-free diet, cutting back on dairy and taking two prescription drugs for the bowel spasms and acid reflux, I’ve been so SO much better. It also helped going to see a Gastrointerologist and actually talk about problems that people don’t like to talk about.

 

2. After working so incredibly hard over the past year, I was once again rejected from MUN. I felt I did an excellent audition and I could not have asked for better from myself. However, the audition was not the problem this time as much as the entrance exams. I guess I had spent so much time worrying about the practical side that I forgot to review theory and history. Have I given up? HA! NO! I will try, try and try until I get in. I’ve also decided to apply to other schools in a couple of years: University of Western Ontario, University of Regina and University of Manitoba to name a few. I had wanted to do the MUN program because they offer Performance AND Pedagogy, but we will have to see what happens. It looks like I will be heading back to MUN for one class a semester starting in January to upgrade my marks in Theory and History.

3. I got the terrible news in June that my lovely voice teacher would be leaving St. John’s to move to Ontario. While I was happy for her and her husband, I was also very sad. I have been studying with her for over two years now and this left me with the panicked question of What do I do now?!. After asking around and contacting a mentor of mine, let’s just say something is in the works and leave it at that. ;)

4. Also in June, my father (who recently graduated from UNB with a Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety), accepted a job with a company named Emera Utilities as a Health and Safety Officer in Goobies, NL. My Dad is already retired at an early age from CBC Radio, but he wanted to pay off some debt and retire comfortably. So now my parents are moving from Grand Falls-Windsor to Clarenville in August and my mother can now retire. I have mixed feelings about this…GFW is my hometown, I grew up there. When they move to Clarenville, sure my parents will be there, but it is not my “home”. It causes a weird array of emotions…

Now on to the GOOD.

1. After another successful “A Night For Them” concert, I was able to raise over $800 with more donations still coming in. It was an amazing night. Even though my parents will no longer be living in GFW, Aimee and I have still decided to hold this annual event until we feel it is no longer gaining anything. So, win win!

2. I launched my website for my Voice and Piano studio starting in September 2012. I primarily will offer travelling lessons which enable students to learn at their own home. This is a huge help to busy moms and dads who find it difficult to drop their child off to a lesson and pick them up. Also, it gives me an opportunity to better learn how to drive around St. John’s (I am TERRIBLE with directions!). I am so incredibly excited for this change in my life. I feel it will give me excellent experience and will help make my CV more competitive when I apply to graduate schools again.

3. I am due to receive my Newfoundland and Labrador Teaching Certificate any day now (finally!) so I will be on the substitute teaching list for the Fall and hopefully pick up some teaching days. Again, excellent on my resume!

4. Believe it or not, I have not been off this island in over three years AND I have not been on a vacation (meaning down south) since I was 11 years old. SO…Mom, sister and me will be travelling to Florida either in September or October! YAYYYYY!!! I am over the moon about this! I’ve been in school for over 10 years and I NEED a vacation before I go insane.

My GOALS for this year.

1. To get enough private students and teaching days to be able to quit my current grocery store job.

2. To get a private voice teacher for myself who will push me to achieve my best.

3. To find more opportunities for me to perform and share my talents.

4. To maintain my health.

5. To be the best singer I can be and to learn from my mistakes.

6. To network and meet new people with similar interests (perhaps a “boy”?)

7. To live life every day for ME and live it to the fullest!

Aria, aria…where for art thou aria?

Published September 27, 2011 by Soprano, Megan

I’ve been trying to regularly update this, but of course life gets in the way of that. Things have been busy at work and I am now teaching two private piano students on Wednesday evening. I had been hoping to get some voice students, but work has been proving to be too busy. However, the money earned from teaching two students covers the cost of my personal voice lessons so it all comes out in the wash really.

I am also getting back in to the practicing routine I have taken a  suggestion that Dr. Leibel made in our meeting, and started practicing two or three times a day at 15-20 minutes each time. I find this to be a lot more productive. I don’t know why it never dawned on me before! I also have acquired a roommate (my cousin) and rather than drive him insane with my practice times I decided to move my piano in to my room so I could have some privacy and he was free to do whatever he wants in the living room.

The theory and history books are also dusted off. I didn’t get to review them as thoroughly before my last entrance exams and given that I finished both of those courses in my third year (2006-2007) of my undergrad, I figured I’d get started on that. I don’t have any “courses” to study for or an internship and lesson plans to do so I have more time to devote to them this year. March comes quickly…

My lessons seem to be going well. I’m in the process of finding a new Recit/Aria for my audition so that has been a challenge thus far. I decided I wanted all new repertoire this time and it has proved to be a great decision.

Here is what I am working on…

  • “Oh! Quand je dors” – Liszt
  • “Sweet Chance That Led My Steps Abroad” – Michael Head
  • “Der Nussbaum” – Schumann
  • “Quia Respexit” – Bach
  • “Caminante son tus huellas” – Raminsh
  • Need an aria! Eeeeeek!

New beginnings and milestones.

Published September 6, 2011 by Soprano, Megan

September to me is more of a time for beginnings than January. Even with January being the “New Year”, September has always been the new school year. And it’s hard to believe that seven years ago I began making my way down the long path of my music career. I remember being absolutely terrified as I began my undergrad degree at Acadia and having to leave my family, province and then-boyfriend was both equally terrifying and traumatic to me. BUT. I did it. And I am a better person because of it.

Then three falls ago in 2008, I began what would be my hardest and most challenging year of my whole entire life. Even though my music therapy internship was nothing near what I had hoped it would be, again, I am a better person because of it. Because of that horrible year, I discovered what I was truly meant to do – educate.

Two years ago I set out on yet another new path – my degree in education. This time I had nothing but excitement and wide-eyed wonder for what was ion store for me. Little did I know this would prove to be a harder two-year degree than my four-year undergrad. The twists and turns in this path had me dealing with major health issues, work drama, MEN (and all that comes with them!), and really doing some soul-searching.

This September has also brought about a new path…my final test this past Friday has led me to complete my BMusEd (finally!) and taught me that things that LOOK easy are not always as easy as they seem. Also that sometimes you really have to get “down and dirty” to accomplish what you want in life. However, I am not a quitter so although I am not always prepared for that curve ball life throws me, I can pick up the pieces and carry on. This makes me an even better person.

I have nothing but a good feeling for what’s in store for me this “new year”. Two degrees behind me and pressing forward to get that third one under my belt. Looking and chasing after love. Living and learning life’s many lessons. Keeping my eye on the prize and daring to dream the impossible.

So here I am. It’s September again. The road is ahead of me. It’s crisp. It’s clean. I’m ready for all of those twists and turns. Ready and waiting…

 

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
Booker T. Washington

Missing you is easy. Forgetting you is next to impossible.

Published August 2, 2011 by Soprano, Megan

Given my recent health scare, I have pretty much decided sharing feelings is the way to go. Balling up things never helps yourself, or anyone around you for that matter. It only makes you stress over the little things…

Have you ever had someone walk in to your life, who you absolutely adore, only to have them walk back out again just as quickly? Welcome to a little piece of my hell. Of course I will not name names, but this person will know. I just don’t think they know just how much this has affected me and how much I don’t want it to anymore.

It’s been ten months since we have seen or contacted each other, but the hurt still stings like a fresh wound. I foolishly thought not having him in my life would make things better and less complicated so I pushed him away. It’s just what I do. I get close to someone, become friends and then “bam!” I push them away. Clearly not one of my finer traits. I thought the “missing you” would lesson over the year, but truthfully it has just gotten worse.

So how do you tell someone you miss them when they won’t even talk to you? I guess you just don’t. You just have to live with the regret and find some way to cope with it. Live with the what if’s, could have’s, and might-have-been’s. I wish I could do things all over again, and that might seem cliche, but I would have done things very differently. I saw a beautiful friendship developing and was blinded by other things that never should have factored in.

But that’s the beauty of life-or so people say-making mistakes and learning from them. I don’t expect or ask for a second chance, but I just wish this disappointing feeling that I bear 24/7 would diminish even the slightest.

I miss you…more than you care and more than you probably care to know…

“I want to talk to you, but I don’t know what to say. I am afraid you don’t want me to say anything. So I don’t. But inside of me there are words waiting to come out. And tell you how I feel-like how I miss you. And how I need you in my life. And especially how much I want you in my life. But those words may forever stay in my heart-locked inside.”
– Author Unknown

 

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