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‘I haven’t had to meet completely new people since kindergarten’: First-year music education student prepares for a new chapter

Natalie Czarnik does it all. From music to theater to taking too many credits, the Illinois-native is ready for her Miami career to start.
Natalie Czarnik does it all. From music to theater to taking too many credits, the Illinois-native is ready for her Miami career to start.

Natalie Czarnik is an achiever. She plays instruments, acts in theater, takes more classes than most first-years and joins organizations before her college experience even starts.

When it comes to Miami University, the outgoing, always-smiling incoming first-year student still worries about socializing on campus.

“I am a little worried about meeting people,” Czarnik said. “Since I’ve never moved, I haven’t had to meet completely new people since kindergarten.”

Czarnik, 18, is from Deer Park, Illinois, less than an hour northwest of Chicago. She was born and raised in Deer Park and hasn’t had the opportunity to live somewhere else until now.

She’s already making the most of it, even if she can’t quite meet people yet.

Czarnik is registered for 18 credits for her first semester — more than most students take at any point in their college career — and has joined the marching band. She made this headway all while finishing high school, auditioning for the music program at Miami and acting in the play “Big Fish” back home.

“She’s probably one of the most hardworking people I know,” Katherine Czarnik, her sister, said. “She just never stops doing the things she loves.”

According to Katherine Czarnik, her sister is dedicated, involved, impressive and always looking out for her friends and family.

The people in Natalie Czarnik’s life have always been important to her.

Czarnik didn’t know until last year that she wanted to study music education. She learned from her experience running a choir class — oh yeah, she also does choir — that she would love to teach in the future.

Now, all her classes for this fall are for music education, she’s joined a living learning community devoted to education students, and she’s already found clubs, like Stage Left, that she might want to join when she gets here.

Czarnik knew she wanted to stay in the Midwest for college because she wouldn’t be too far from home. Miami might be a little distant for her taste, but it gave her the opportunity to study what she loves and experience an exciting, new thing.

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“Being five hours away from home was definitely not expected,” Czarnik said. “It’s something I’ve thought about a bit as something I’m a little worried about.”

Her sister, however, isn’t so worried. Growing up sharing a room, Katherine Czarnik knows just how extroverted and passionate the first-year can be. She knows Natalie Czarnik cares about her friends and that finding a life at Miami won’t be a problem.

“Knowing how she was in middle school and high school, I think she’ll really try and latch onto people and find people to make friends with right away, which will be huge,” Czarnik’s sister said. “I don’t really think she’ll have any problems with that.”

Despite being worried about moving two states away and about struggling to make friends, Czarnik is looking forward to a new chapter in her life.

“I’m really excited to study more things that I’m interested in,” Czarnik said. “I’m excited to meet new people.”