From OC to Oxford – The Adventure of a Violinist

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For Senior ReBekah McDaniel, college held a lot of uncertainty. Naturally shy, Rebekah, from Lansing, knew she would have to work hard to overcome her inner self doubt to shine. With the numerous opportunities available to students and encouragement from faculty and staff, it didn’t take long for ReBekah, pictured below, to immerse herself in extracurricular activities, leaving the shy girl behind in exchange for a new, bold, confidence that ultimately led to an experience ReBekah never would have thought possible for her old self. Read ReBekah’s personal account below.

Traveling to Washington D.C. for a week-long ILT trip helped me prepare to travel to study abroad at Oxford University. I was anxious about going, but I vowed to make the most out of my college experience and snag every opportunity that was offered to me. As I approached my first plane, the Air Canada logo beckoning me, I tried to swallow the big lump of fear that built up in my throat. Thoughts of being away from my parents, from my safety net, from familiar surroundings filled my head. I was about to embark on an adventure that I never would have went on my freshman year. After desperately gripping onto the arm rests and trying to prevent my ears from popping, we finally dived to the ground. After thanking God we made it safely, we wove through the maze of security and terminals to see the beautifully lush and green scenery of England. Rolling my luggage onto a red double-decker bus to our quaint flat, I could not believe I was in England. Dr. Davis and her daughter, Anna, helped us get accustomed to traveling through Oxford, and without their help to navigate through the subway system in London, I am pretty sure we would have gotten lost. We spent time hiking through the London Tower, snapping pictures on the London Eye and shopping at high end stores, but when I stepped out of the subway and saw Big Ben towering over me, my jaw dropped. To make the moment even more perfect, the clock let out a gong to signal the arrival of a new hour. Words cannot express how I felt seeing a beautifully crafted building, a trademark of England, in person.

I went to Oxford to study violin technique, and since I am a business major, I took European and British business culture. Even though the culture course was fascinating and opened my eyes to a variety of cultures, I realized that the violin is my true passion. My teacher played beautifully and the emotion that poured out of her violin inspired me. She taught me exercises that helped me improve, and after I got back home, I was inspired to audition for a company. I am very grateful they liked me and offered me a contract. Now I can perform across the Midwest and pass on my passion for music to the students I can teach.

The four weeks we spent in England were filled with experiences I spend every day reminiscing. I could spend hours telling you and writing page after page describing everything I saw and did. For the first time, I felt like an adult. For the first time, I was responsible for cooking and buying my own food and transportation. I was independent and built up the courage to go exploring on my own. Me, the formerly shy girl that was always holed up in her room, horrified at the thought of public speaking, was strolling down the streets of another country alone. Freshman year, people thought I was too quiet to go far away from my parents or even make it through college. I proved them wrong. Not only am I making it, I made it in England. Going to Olivet College has opened a lot of doors for me, provided me with amazing opportunities and changed how I look at myself. I realized that the world is a huge place and I want to explore as much as I can, taking my violin with me.

ReBekah plans to pursue a career in music upon her graduation in May 2017. She has been recruited by a music company as a violin instructor and a nationally performing violinist. She is excited to tap into her marketing background to help showcase her talents.

Learn more about Olivet College’s undergraduate programs, including marketing and music.




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