Student Stories – Kevin Tillman

Student Stories – Kevin Tillman


Music is a way of expressing oneself, sharing ideas, it can be a way of changing minds, changing hearts. I came to UNC with that idea. My name is Kevin Tillman. I’m a part-time student at UNC Chapel Hill, and I’m a major in German and music. Not having the formal music education for me limits the way I can write. Being able to have a structured education makes it clearer, makes it cleaner and being surrounded by other people who really want to learn is contagious. It really is. What I learned from the students who are just fresh out of high school, these are such new times. We didn’t have the conversations on race and gender when I was 18, 19. They make me want to be engaged. I mean it’s changed my life. The Friday’s Center has played a major role in all of this. I mean I couldn’t have done it without the Friday Center. Because of my age the Friday Center kind of acted as the program to get me back into college. The relationship I’ve had with Melissa, my advisor, she understands that I have a life outside of campus. I have other obligations. I have my partner. I have a house that I’ve got to deal with. I’ve got bills to pay. We plan around that and we talk about it. It was important to know that there was somebody behind me to kind of direct me And say, “have you ever thought of checking this out? Did you know this program existed?” With my music degree, it would be easier for me to get like a leadership position. It also helps to get commissions. I think the proudest I’ve been so far is Phi Beta Kappa. I had no idea that I might be eligible. I’m a part-time student. But it turns out, hey, you can be a part-time student to do this. You know, I’m just really happy to be here and have gotten to where I am. I told my partner this this morning, I’m not the one that succeeded at this. I’m not alone. Everybody, my partner, and the Friday Center. The professors who knew what my challenges were. The professors who didn’t, but then I asked for help, the TA’s, everybody. One does not succeed on their own. Especially in a university. You have all these people, you have a small city here, and it takes a village.

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