Three years ago I gave up my birth name (Hannah Starr) for a name which identified me as the forever teammate, best friend, and other half of my now-husband, Ryan Avery. I adopted his last name (which was a huge sacrifice considering I had the last name “Starr”) and with it, a new sense of pride and satisfaction. I had finally done it! After years of pursuing a Godly relationship and months of strenuous wedding planning, I was finally an Avery, and my name was all the proof I needed.
One week ago I adopted a few more letters to my name. Six and a half years of hard work, sleepless nights, calloused fingers, espresso shots, hour-long commutes, Jimmy John’s unwiches (#6, no cheese, no mayo, light Jimmy mustard, add sprouts, onions, peppers, and pickles), tens of thousands of dollars of debt, dozens of discouraging and awkward sessions, one college graduation, and many moments of learning later, I finally passed the board certification test!
I am now Hannah Avery, MT-BC (Music Therapist – Board Certified).
The days sure are long, but the years go by in the blink of an eye! For years I have looked forward to the day when my journey as a student would be complete. In elementary school, I looked forward to fifth grade graduation and being able to have my very own locker with a combination lock in the middle school. In middle school, I looked forward to being able to take advanced classes alongside the mythical seniors and march in the world-famous Western High School Marching Band. In high school, I looked forward to devoting my future studies to something I felt passionate about. In college, I looked forward to qualifying for an internship and finding the perfect place to learn to be a music therapist. In internship at HGMTS, I looked forward to completing all of my degree requirements needed to graduate, pass the board certification, and get a job. Now…I don’t have to have the next step planned out.
I have finally reached the giant cliff of uncertainty called “adulthood”. Although I am immensely intimidated by the ambiguity of adulthood (especially under the circumstances enforced upon us by COVID-19), I am equally eager to, for the first time in my life, let go of any expectations I may feel obligated to create for myself. Instead, I hope to savor the season that I am in, and to celebrate the accomplishments I have worked so hard to achieve. I have been blessed to be given a job at HGMTS, and this is my new sole occupational priority. I am no longer eager to jump to the next chapter of my life, but rather, I will dedicate myself to becoming the best employee and music therapist I can be.
I will relish this brief bliss of academic completion as I settle into the process of further molding my professional persona under the guidance of Jaime and the HGMTS team. As I reflect upon the many sequential steps and small decisions in my life that led me here, I can’t help but think about all of the loving and inspiring people who walked alongside me in this journey.
I would like to take a moment to publicly thank every single person who helped to nudge me towards where I have ended up today. My husband, who leads me back to God everyday, and provides the support and backbone I need to trust the Lord’s provision over my life. My parents, a counselor and a teacher consultant for children with autism, who showed me the beauty in serving people as a full-time job. My many music instructors, who taught me the value of music as a form of personal expression. Every client I worked with during practicum and internship, who selflessly gave of their time and energy and trusted me, a student in need of learning experiences, to provide meaningful therapeutic services to the best of my ability. And lastly, to Jaime, for choosing me to be her first ever intern. This, among all accomplishments, may be the one I am most proud of. No matter where life takes me, I will always proudly claim to have been the first intern (of many more to come, I am sure) at Harmony Garden Music Therapy Services.