I put off schoolwork to see the band All Time Low late last month, and it was 110 per cent worth it. Not only did All Time Low play a killer set, I even bumped into Jack Barakat, the lead guitarist, in the parking lot … and I have the selfie to prove it
I met him briefly two years ago when I interviewed lead singer Alex Gaskarth and drummer Rian Dawson before their show in Hong Kong. Barakat didn't stick around for the interview because he wanted to go back to the dressing room to nap.
Going to see the concert was an important break for me. Even though I am enjoying senior year, the stress is starting to get to me, and I'm feeling burnt out.
It's becoming harder and harder to concentrate, because I feel like I'm always floating from one thing to another without actually completing anything - for example, the day after the concert, I had to hand in a five-page paper which I had barely started on.
Despite that, the thought of skipping out on seeing my favourite band play in town never crossed my mind at all. I spent far too many years in secondary school praying for bands to come to Hong Kong to ever miss a show now that I'm in Seattle.
Part of the reason why I chose to study at the University of Washington was because of the music scene - I knew bands I love would often make a stop in Seattle. UW has killer academics, but life outside the classroom is important, too.
These days it seems everyone is talking about practising mindfulness and being present in the moment. Usually I find it hard to do so, but that night was the exception. I was truly worry-free. There's something very healing and energising about immersing yourself fully in the music; singing, headbanging and jumping to songs you've listened to for so many years (eight to be precise).
It was the fourth time I'd seen All Time Low play, and I hope there will be many more shows to come. The concert has done wonders for my state of mind, and I feel a lot better about tackling my schoolwork.
If you are preparing to go off to university, it's important to have things to look forward to, and don't cancel those plans when things get busy.