Smart College Visit features real life student stories, of choice, hard decisions, taking chances, and becoming the best versions of who they are. In this article, Brazilian student Nicole Marchetti Benedito talks about her decision to follow a more artistic, study path, studying music instead of medicine.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” “A doctor!” my friend said, then Mrs. Elza turned around and asked me: “What about you, Nicole?” I said, “A singer.” I will never forget that look of fear and disappointment coming from Mrs. Elza, the school bus driver. She was so surprised with my choice, and I was just as surprised with her reaction. That day I learned that in our world, if you do not choose to be “a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer” you will not be able to make it, or you will be poor asking for food in the streets.
Since I was a little kid, I was always passionate about music. I remember listening to my dad singing and thinking how much I wanted to be like him. I wanted to sing, and I did. Since I was three years old, I have been singing. Although, just like any other kid, I would go to school, and in school I was always encouraged to be more involved with science than with any type of art. Art was just the “fun” class, and I was not encouraged to take it seriously.
Even though art was not a priority in the school, it was a priority in my life. I remember coming home and asking my parents to take me to piano lessons. When I ten years old, I began to study piano. At eleven, I decided to start choir, which was one of the extra activities that my school offered. I always loved singing, but I never realized how major that was in my life, once I got into choir. I was asked to sing many solos, and I spent seven years singing in my school choir.
When I was 13 I thought that I wanted to do medicine. I went through a very hard life-threatening surgery, and after spending all that time in the hospital, I noticed the routine of a doctor, and I realized that I would love to do that. I felt like I could be really good at it. At that moment, I convinced myself that I could be a doctor. However music was still there, and meanwhile I was singing in choir, and creating music, being exposed to the artistic life.
An Important Opinion
One day, I was practicing one of my solos for an event. We were practicing with the band who was going to play for us in a big event in São Paulo. The bass player, Swami, who is a very prestigious musician in Brazil, and also my friend, who I met in choir, walked up to me and told me, “Nicole, I think you are doing the wrong thing going to medical school. You have a very unique voice, you should do music.” I will never forget his words. I looked at him, and I had no response. The problem was that inside me I knew he was right, and he was not the first person who had told me that.
But I then kept with my first decision, medical school. I graduated from high school, and decided to study in the U.S.A. I was only able to attend college in the U.S. because I got a scholarship for music, so again, music was opening doors for me.
During my first semester studying pre-medicine I realized that I was unhappy, and that I was not following what I was I called to do. I fought the thought of “you are not following your passion.” I fought for three years. However through these three years, I had people asking me why was I not studying music?
Then, in the summer of my Junior year, one month away for the fall semester to start, and for me to become a senior, I went to take the MCAT, so I could finish my applications to medical school. That was the end. I walked to take that test, and I felt the worst feeling in my life, a feeling of failure, of heaviness in my heart. It felt like I was not doing the right thing. I took the test, went home, and that night I had decided: I am not going to do medicine anymore.
That day was one of the happiest of my life. In secret I started to look for music schools, and I started my applications. Honestly, I was so scared of what society would say, and how I would be judged. After a lot of praying, I let go of the idea of “what other people would think,” and I finally made it public: I told my parents, who were very supportive, and I told my friends who were surprised.
In November of 2018 I finished my application to Berklee College of Music. The day after finishing my application I received my audition date. It felt right, like “yes, you are doing the right thing.” I auditioned for Berklee, back in February, and now in March, I have found out that I got in to this school. Berklee College of Music, the most prestigious contemporary music school for vocal performances, accepted me.
I look back, and I see where I started, and the obstacles, but I do not regret anything. I just hate that it took forever for me to let my passion flow.
In conclusion, dear readers, follow your dreams, follow your passion. Even if means going against the whole world, die for what you believe and love.
Nicole Marchetti Benedito is originally from São Paulo, Brazil. She will graduate from Bluefield College, Bluefield, Virginia, in May 2019, and start her second undergraduate degree in music at Berklee College in Fall 2019.