Moving Across the Country for NESA

By Jane Kamata

Abigail Wilkerson stands in front of the Main Building.

Abigail Wilkerson, a freshman Instrumental Music major, moved from a small-city in Virginia to pursue her passion, playing the cello. Through hardships and struggles, she has brought her music, talent, and personality to NESA, where she has found a new life, while still looking back at her East Coast past.

She has always been interested in attending a performing arts school and feels a strong passion for her four-stringed companion.

“It makes me happy, and music makes other people happy and sometimes you just listen to a song, and it’s not even just joy that you feel, it can evoke a lot of different emotions,” she said. “I like being able to create that.”

Her journey to join NESA began before the end of eighth grade when she visited her dad in San Antonio, overheard her family talking about NESA, and fell in love with the opportunity to pursue her dream.

When she decided to make the move, it was a big transition.

“It was hard. I came from a small city there, so there wasn't as much. I guess it was more sheltered,” she said. “So I came here, and it was just very chaotic, hectic for me until I finally got used to it.”

Having lived in San Antonio for almost a year, she has discovered a different side to herself.

“I feel a lot more confident, socially, than I did in Virginia,” she said. “Now I can make or start a conversation with someone I don't know.”

Since her transition here, she has grown to enjoy San Antonio, though she does have some critiques.

“There's better opportunities here, lots of stuff to do. Less trees than there were in Virginia, less nature I guess, but what can you expect?” she said. “The people here are nice, everyone’s usually pretty friendly.”

As far as NESA goes, she was not expecting the reality of the Instrumental Music major.

“It’s very fast paced. Not in a bad way, it’s just fasted paced, and [Mr. Mark Twehues] expects a lot from you, and we're being held accountable,” she explained. “I know if I don’t do something, it’s my fault, and then I take the time to get it done. If I do something good, I know because I took time to practice and get it done.”

But every now and then, she still misses her home.

“I do miss Virginia. I miss the quiet there,” she said. “I get homesick a lot, it hits me at random times, but then I think about all the opportunities that I'm getting here and the good stuff about San Antonio.”

And though she lives in Texas permanently, she often goes back to Virginia to visit friends and family.

“It's not like I don't ever go back. I visit during summers, holidays, that kind of thing. I'm going up there for Christmas actually.”

Music brought her to NESA, and it will stick with her as she navigates through a big-city life in San Antonio. Wilkerson may have left Virginia behind, but she will never forget her roots as she moves forward in life.


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