William Loves Music

by: Hoda Joudi Haghighi

Several months had passed since William moved into our dormitory, and his reserved and quiet personality had resulted in few conversations. He usually did not appear alone in gatherings and always had his other Taiwanese friend by his side. Then one day, I saw him standing over a bird, trying to help the dying bird, and even after the bird’s death, he sat by the lifeless body for an hour, saying to himself, “It’s sad.” The bird’s struggle to escape the pain had distressed William, and he didn’t know how to help the poor creature. In the end, seeing his efforts in vain, tears welled up in his eyes.  

After that day’s incident, I talked to him more and realized that behind the calm and composed facade lived a compassionate person. William was a exchange student from Taiwan studying mechanical engineering, who had a great interest in music. However, he believed that artists in Taiwan could not have a very comfortable life, and despite his inclination, he was studying a field that had a good job market in Taiwan. Therefore, alongside his studies

A person playing piano.

The talent search poster that was put up on the wall of our faculty caught my attention. Students with artistic talent were invited to participate in the inter-university student art competitions. I took a photo of the poster and showed it to William. At first, he wanted to dismiss it immediately, but after thinking for a while, he thought it might be a good opportunity. 

He continued to practice diligently every day, and despite competing with music students, he managed to impress the jury with his golden fingers and secured a place on the university’s competition team.  

On the day of their group’s concert performance, he invited all his friends to come to Shryock Auditorium to cheer for their group. He wore a white satin suit fastened at the collar with a golden bow tie, and his suit was meticulously and carefully ironed. He held his instrument firmly and was fully prepared for the competition.  

The SIU band sat in tidy rows beside their instruments, eyes fixed on the notes, tension palpable as they held their breath, waiting for their turn. William, though pale and visibly anxious, played his instrument with unwavering calm, flawlessly executing each note. As the beautiful piece filled the air, the audience fell into a hushed reverence, quietly savoring the live music performance.  

Cameras captured the joyful expressions and unforgettable moments, preserving memories of William’s inaugural professional performance. It served as a pivotal realization for him, affirming that with dedication and determination, he could carve out a path to success and renown in the realm of music. 

William’s return to Taiwan was marked by a renewed sense of dedication, devoid of compromise, and brimming with confidence. His social media posts depicted his unwavering pursuit of his musical dream, showcasing his passion and determination to succeed. 

Are you an international students interested in SIU? Apply here.

Disclaimer: the above story is fiction.

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