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Music has been a part of my life since I was little. However, I did not realize that music really was my life until I was headed in a direction I never thought I would be. As a musician, I am often asked what my favorite song is or what has been my greatest inspiration. Any true music lover will tell you that it is impossible to choose just one song. My greatest inspiration came from a place many would not expect and led me to a path no one could predict...
Five Finger Death Punch is a popular band among metal heads and rock enthusiasts, such as myself. The band is well-known for their music videos, often showing support of the military. I personally have always enjoyed the fact that their videos match the lyrics.
Sophomore year of high school, my class did projects and research on our future jobs. I knew exactly what I was gonna do. I was gonna be a professional clarinetist! If that didn't work out I could always be a band director. At least that's what I thought.
My brother and I often connect through music. We both enjoy rock and tend to favor the same bands. I listened to FFDP at the time but did not keep up on their new releases like my brother did. One day, my brother ran into my room, excited about a new video. He sometimes excites easily so I thought nothing more but "oh cool." Then I watched the video. That's when my life changed.
"Wrong Side of Heaven" shows the effects of war on the soldiers fighting in them. More specifically, it explains the impact of post traumatic stress disorder and other issues impacting veterans, such as addiction and homelessness. The statistics given where astonishing. I couldn't believe that I never heard of PTSD or the amount of homeless veterans.
See the video here.
This sparked my interest in veteran lives after leaving the military. I did my own research and was astounded by what I found. About a quarter of homeless people are military veterans. These people were broken by the effects of war. Some lost their brothers in war, some lost their family after returning. Many suffer from PTSD or depression and turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. Many veterans just simply didn't know how to live life as a civilian.
Seeing these statistics and stories broke my heart; but it also introduced me to the field of mental health. I decided to take psychology in high school and fell in love. I knew that as much as I love music, I love helping people more. Classmates and teachers pointed out to me that I have a natural talent for psychology. People I barely know open up to me and I love listening to people and letting them talk. It didn't take long before I realized that I wanted to spend my life helping those who are most overlooked and so very deserving of the help few ever get. I may not save a life on a surgical table but if I can save one, just one, life from the despair that all too often leads to suicide, I will have done more than I ever could dream of.
I am now studying psychology at the University of North Dakota. As part of the Army ROTC program, I received a scholarship that is aiding me on my path to becoming a military psychologist. Never had I ever thought that I'd come this far or decide on this career. Never had I ever been this confident in any choice I've made.
Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. Change can come when you least expect it. Keep your mind open and your mind focused. Put your best effort forward and keep dreaming. You never know what life might bring.