As I sit here at my desk writing this, I can happily look back on my life thus far and recognize that I’ve been very blessed. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that my life is perfect. I write this as a poor college student in her senior year with no definite plans after graduation. But I also write this as a person filled with a passion. For me, being passionate about something means that I almost instinctively dedicate large amounts of time and energy to it; it becomes my obsession. My passion is music. As most of people probably know, the music industry is a tough one to crack into. But, I’ve learned that working hard enough to get my foot in the door got me the closest to landing a job in the music industry.

My love of music started when I was just a little girl who still rode in a car seat and wanted to be a Disney princess. I remember riding around in my mom’s mini-van as we both sang to Bush, No Doubt, The Black Crowes, etc. My dad was a major influence in middle and high school. He was the youth leader at my church and joined a music program that sent quarterly boxes of new CDS from various Christian artists. We would sample almost every CD and there was always a true jewel in the bunch. I couldn’t wait to tell friends about this new awesome band and checked tour dates daily for a chance to see the band live. That jewel became my obsession, my pride and joy, until the next box of CDs came.

This cycle continued into my senior year of high school and into college. Being a journalism major at UNC-Chapel Hill and possessing no musical talents of any sort, I quickly realized that if I wanted to remain connected to the music industry, I had to pursue artist management and publicity. At first, I was clueless about internships and important companies to pursue, but my passion for music made me naturally start working in the music industry on my own. I started as the music writer for UNC-CH’s campus fashion magazine. Through staying late after shows in the past, I made great connections with artists in various bands, all of which I loved. I quickly used these connections and interviewed the artists for my stories. For one particular story, I had to contact a band’s public relations company for a press kit and images. Rather than ending all communications with the public relations company after the magazine published the story, I stayed connected. It started with me sending updates about the magazine that published my story and ended with two internships in Franklin, Tennessee, right outside of Nashville. Staying in touch with the company by sending updates on the story I wrote, questions about the company’s other clients and general questions about the music industry got me the experience of a lifetime and chance to get my foot in the door of the music industry. I got to work with real clients in both artist publicity and management. I did everything from talking to the press about scheduling interviews with clients to booking flights and hotel rooms for clients on tour. It was a beautiful taste of the world in which I so badly want to be included.

It’s amazing how everything worked out from there. Once I got the ball rolling with the internship in Tennessee things just started to fall into place. I began booking bands for local shows in Chapel Hill and made an effort to stay in touch with each band I booked or met at other shows. My passion was so strong for music that my professors even picked up on it. One professor in particular is the sole reason that I have my current internship. Because my love of music was so obviously strong, when my professor saw an ad for an artist management company in need of volunteers for a concert, he sent it my way. I called the company to volunteer and before I knew it I was citing references and relevant experiences, and setting an interview date. A week later, I had an internship with another artist management company. I’m still with the company today and have even discussed job possibilities with the company after graduation. I know that I wouldn’t be able to say that if it weren’t for my passion.

The economy and job market may be terrible right now, but I can’t let that keep me from pursuing what I love. Passion is a powerful emotion and if applied in the right ways, it can easily be the driving force that lands someone the job of his or her dreams. I got my internships just by pursuing what I love the most on my own. Through that, the internships just fell into place. My education at UNC-CH has been extremely valuable, but just simply going to college wouldn’t have set me up to work in the music industry like my internships and pursuing my passion on my own did. If you are passionate about something, I strongly urge you to pursue it wholeheartedly. Is there a chance for failure? Yes. Is a job guaranteed? Of course not. But will you forever regret trading a chance to land your dream job with a boring nine-to-five job with a company you hate? A thousand times, yes.

Kelsie Murdock is a journalism major at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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