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September 22, 2007

There's a big deadline on Monday. Some stuff has to be decided upon and done by Monday. So, not being the slacker schlub I was at half my current age, I thought about it way ahead of time, slept on it, then got the paperwork together and took care of the whole thing on Friday afternoon. Some people won't understand and will disagree with my decision but I'm OK with that because it's the right thing to do. I feel a lot better.

Look at me being all responsible. I made a careful decision and did the paperwork well in advance of the deadline. Won't my folks be proud?

Well, not necessarily. I withdrew from SFSU. Dropped out, ya might say. So, maybe not so proud. But, I maintain that it was the right decision.

I took the Spring semester off to work on my startup, and I made a lot of progress. But taking a (non-Summer) semester off means that I had to take at least one credit this semester in order to remain a current student. I tried, but the way the major works, you have to take certain courses in a certain order, and my attempts to minimize the time demands I had to fulfill failed. I was suddenly stuck taking three classes, which added up to something like 20-30 hours of class time, travel time, and preparation per week (assuming I wanted to maintain my A average). I tried to squeeze that into about 12 hours last week, and it utterly sucked. I was not at all prepared. And bear in mind, that doesn't mean I'd quietly turn in a paper late or something; that means performing badly in front of others who were prepared, and an instructor. Whee!

Considering that I need to be pouring huge amounts of time and effort into my startup company (which has been basically stalled since mid-August due to school, out-of-town guests, a few days of working part-time as a recording studio engineer/producer as a favor for a friend, and various other things that I allowed to eat up my time), this is very bad. You don't get an startup company off the ground working every now and then. 80+ hours a week is more typical, and that is no guarantee of success. But 5-10 hours a week is pretty much a guarantee of failure.

Also, since 2002 my musical knowledge has improved tremendously, and the general cluelessness I felt back then is gone. Back then, I couldn't even articulate what it was that I felt I needed to know, so I chose to let someone else impose structure on my education, and tell me what a proper musical education included. So far, so good. But now I'm in a band (with other opportunities waiting for me to have more time), I have a backlog of musical ideas and ungerminated musical fragments waiting to be developed now that I know something about composition, and school is in the way of what I want to do. This is a common refrain (pun intended) among working musicians: "I went to [some music school] for a year and a half and dropped out to work, and I'm still making music full time 20 years later." I took college-level music classes to solve a problem, not to obtain a degree; that problem is solved now, and the new problem is that I need more time to dedicate to creating and performing music. Critters on Parade, which I think is pretty good, was something I wrote in a day and never intend to perform. But I have opportunities to perform now, and I have access to some very capable musicians. I want to spend time writing and performing music that I like. I have more to learn, of course, and SFSU can teach me a lot of it, but I need to take control of my musical development again.

So, I'm very relieved, because my highest priorities in life right now are getting a lot more of my time and attention. I hope others can understand that dropping out of SFSU is not a defeat for me, but a milestone (I got what I needed to get, and it's time to move on). It's also a sign that I'm taking bold steps to achieve my goals, even if they are somewhat uncomfortable steps to take, and not necessarily following the path that others expected me to take.