The Keys to Tranquillity: How One Student Found Peace in Music

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Dennis Ningthoujam plays his keyboard in his dorm room.

By Muhammad Hashid Jaffar,

Dennis Ningthoujam had long grappled with anxiety, a constant companion that left him feeling overwhelmed and filled with dread as if anticipating something bad was about to happen.

He entered his college with no prior experience of being in a foreign country. With the demands of his hectic academic load along with adjusting to a new environment, he felt himself drowning in anxiousness. 

“I remember walking into my dorm for the first time. I was really excited because of how big and beautiful the campus was. The following day, I walked to my classes for the first time, and I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming feeling that made me want to run back to my dorm. I couldn’t help but feel immensely intimidated at the sight of so many unfamiliar buildings and people,” he recalled. 

Dennis’ anxiety seemed to get worse as time went by. He did not anticipate his anxiety to be this bad. It was becoming quite difficult for him to complete basic assignments or even socialize with his dormmates. 

One day, while Dennis was strolling through campus, still familiarizing himself with the place and people, he found himself in the Arts Building. As he walked by each classroom, peering through each window, he found a piano. He entered the room and suddenly realized he was not surrounded by unfamiliarity anymore.

He was so overwhelmed by anxiousness that he had almost forgotten about his passion for music. He sat down and started playing the piano.

“Throughout that whole duration of playing the piano that day, not a single negative thought came across my mind. It was as if I had finally escaped that drowning feeling, even if only it was temporary,” said Dennis.

His feelings of anxiousness were now overcome with memories of joy. With each key being pressed, he felt as if he were not far away from home anymore. 

After much contemplating, he started to look for a place where he could buy a keyboard. He knew it would be expensive and it would leave a dent in his monthly allowance, but he had missed that feeling of joy so much that he decided to get it. 

Soon after, he got himself a keyboard so that he could play at his leisure when he was back in his dorm.

Suddenly, Dennis did not feel so much as he did before. That feeling of anxiety was no longer his companion. Instead, he carried on the joy of music. 

Dennis said, “To me, it was really funny to find familiarity in an inanimate object like a piano. I had missed playing the instrument for so long. On top of that, my anxiety overshadowed every other emotion I had, including my passion for music. It felt like a huge relief to rekindle my passion, but at the same time I also felt silly because I never thought the answer to my problem would be such a simple solution.”

He has also decided to join the music club and maybe in the future, he might choose to take a minor as well. 

Dennis’ journey has not been without difficulties, but his tale serves as an example of how one can find peace and joy in many simple parts of life. 

Finding support can be challenging if you or a loved one is dealing with anxiety or other mental health issues. Sometimes, pursuing what makes one happy can be good enough to overcome a lot of issues and increase feelings of enjoyment. Dennis’ experience of overcoming anxiety is a testimonial to how one should not forget their real passion and offers hope to those who may be going through a similar ordeal.