Echoes swimming in the dawn light “work to do” and last nights conversations swim through my waking dreams only a week left to ….” “warn him to finish making…” “too bad we couldn’t find a…” “…write an email and let them know…” Last night we collected raw material for the construction of Las Vegas.

“Beep beep. Beep beep”

The red light digital alarm clock signals the end of the morning haze. Construction of Las Vegas?! Indeed, at Jacobs we do get a bit ambitious sometimes…The radio jingles: “Der beste Mix für Niedersachsen!”

I shake my head clear of imminent to-do lists and stumble out off to class, a final attempt to stimulate my jammed mind. The class is on human empathy, universal marker of morality. A missed appointment or two and a bill to be sorted, and at 4pm it is time for another nap. For an hour and a half my heart beats in my sleep, and when I awake the to-do lists are back.

Why is that? Because this is the last year of my Jacobs life. The last black-tie party. The last countdown to Christmas, and the last Krupp room I’ll occupy. At 6.30 my roommate knocks on my door and we head to the annual performance of Piano to Forte.
Piano To Forte

As the moderators said, its hard to describe the event because its different every year. A collage of college talent from the realm of classical solos to Jazzy hits and grooving Mzuka, and a string of songs you’ve never heard before. The grins on stage, the cheers off, and your skin will begin to quiver with the magic of live music vibrating across the cinema hall, a mere fraction of the excitement of the performers themselves.

The worn and fretting faces of Jacobs students light up as they sit back or scoot like me, to the edge of their seats. We are waiting for a reminder all over again, of “Why Jacobs?” We are looking to the performers to be reminded of why we we’re working so hard, why everything we do here is meaningful. We look to be inspired. And every performance is after all, an affirmation of the creative spirit lurking below the surface of every student’s mind, and revealed most delightfully in events such as this one.

The applause of our guests from Bremen, Hamburg (and Alumni from across Europe), is a praise that warms us all: it is applause to our colleagues, and by extension, the Jacobs spirit itself. The realization of weeks of practice is a reminder. What am I practicing for? What is all my daily efforts of organization and conversation and collaboration striving for?

The sheer volume of simultaneous learning that goes on, on campus, in clubs, classes, people, projects… can become a haze. My alumni friends reminisce about this very same intensity.

“I miss this man!  I get 4 emails a day! What about the constant updates? The flood of responsibilities! The excitement!”

The labor of consolidating our knowledge leads to an awesome career, and a value-packed lifetime. This is just the incubation period.

Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up again to a “have-to-do hangover” and I will stare at my orange curtain overwhelmed in the drama and details of grades and applications and websites and research, until I realize it’s a brand new day.

This is the incubation period, until every detail we students handle on a daily basis add up to a clear vision of what we can contribute. A college degree. A new movement. A passion for technology. A perspective on the globalized world. We are a competitive and highly intelligent group. But our success is not a solo performance. It is the collective achievement of every Piano to Forte, every graduate’s first job and every academic publication.

Thank you to every Piano to Forte performer who dedicated weeks of practice towards this show, and gave us a tangible memento of what Jacobs calls success. And thanks to all the people who G.I.V.E back to this community and inspire all the mornings I get up re-energized with a clear mind and a vision of what success means to me.  Cheers!

Incubation period. n. In biology, the incubation period is the time needed for any particular process of development to take place. For example, the length of time for turtle eggs to hatch is the incubation period. (MedicineNet, Inc. 2012)

Check out: The Mzuka Choir Youtube ChannelThe Music Club

MedicineNet, Inc. (2012, June 14). Incubation period. Retrieved November 8, 2014.

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