My Journey Draft 3

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I remember my first studio ever built for me. The glass window that was ever so clear; the brand new piano placed in the middle of the room, the peculiar microphone that I had never seen before, and my producers smiling face giving me that thumbs up he always gave me. I remember that big room they took me to on something and Broadway when I was sixteen. “You have a 65 percent chance of making it in this business at this very moment,” said a short man in a grey suit. I remember thinking the number 65 percent, and telling myself that I was more than half way there. I was also more than half way through high school, and more than half way to twenty years old with no plans for a future other than being famous. Growing up, music and writing were always a huge part of my life.
At fifteen years old, I was given my first opportunity at a serious music career; a record deal. What fifteen year old is granted a record deal? Well, I was the lucky one. From my first studio in New Jersey, to my next studio in Manhattan, to that beautiful last studio built for me in Armonk, NY, with the big glass windows and that new piano placed in the middle of the room. From albums, to photo shoots, to a song on iTunes, I was living the dream right? Or was I? Wrong. Seven hours in a studio with no breaks and no social life just wasn’t cutting it for me. I started questioning myself. Is this really what I want? Am I really cut out for this? According to my producer, I could have made it if I just lost some weight, exercised some more, changed my name, dressed a little more maturely, and practiced every night and on weekends. Did I mention I was 110 pounds at fifteen and sixteen? Did they want me to dress in the four inch yellow wedges they bought for me on the weekends and change my name to my birthday month? Practice for two hours the night before my final? The average person might call this ridiculous. I call it the music business.
I lost my record deal at age seventeen. Two years attached to a label and a lifetime of hope fell apart in one day. At this point in my life, I realized I needed some sort of a plan. Although I was beginning college and my grades were just average, I knew that with a little extra effort, I could pull my grades up from being just average to average, and well, to my surprise, I found that I am an A student, oh and a teacher. How does someone go from a recording artist to a teacher?
It all happened overnight. No, but really, it did happen all overnight. I was celebrating my twenty-second birthday in Las Vegas that weekend when I got a call from my mother on the morning of my birthday. “You have an interview Monday morning when you get back from Vegas.” How could I have an interview when I didn’t even apply to a job? My plan was to go to graduate school, work part time at the job I had been working at, and apply to jobs the next year. To my surprise, my mother’s boss was hiring and looking for a preschool three year old teacher. Did I mention this was all the week before school began? Well, happy birthday to me. I got back that Monday morning, went to that interview, and went from Stephanee the pop R&B recording artist to Ms. D the preschool teacher.
This preschool teacher that only saw a future in music also made the CUNY Lehman College Literacy Program that year. It was not all sunshine and roses working as a teacher and being in grad school, but I knew I was blessed having a job straight out of college. It was a real shock to those who knew me to see the singer they grew up with become a teacher and go to graduate school. At this point in my life, I told myself that music would just be something I did on the side. It was not until two months into my teaching career that I realized my talents could be used for other purposes. It all started when I was teaching the days of the week and the ABCS. I began singing to the students, and not just singing, but writing songs to help them memorize days and letters. It was at this point that I realized the same creativity that allowed me to be a great songwriter could be used to be creative in a classroom and spark the desire to help others learn. I have learned to use singing songs to help make lessons more interesting and to help get points across. I make up and write songs for the students to help them learn about different topics and to help them understand something. This is also what led me to where I am today; a graduate student in the Lehman College Literacy Graduate Program. Throughout my journey and this program, I have learned many things about myself that I never knew were possible. I learned that I could achieve any goal I set my mind to, and that sometimes, one journey leads directly into another. We just have to be open to where the road takes us.