Our Stories - Thomas Browne

I was a very good high school student who always achieved outstanding results, so naturally I continued my studies into higher education. I wanted to study math and science so I joined a 2-year preparatory school that enabled me to enroll in an engineering university. Applying to these schools is extremely competitive in France and it is very difficult to get admitted. I decided to go to one of the best prep schools to increase my chances, mainly because I was told I was talented enough to aim for the top. Eventually, I got accepted into one of the most famous and difficult universities. I was happy at the beginning, but I ended up despising it. I had to dedicate all of my time to studies and could not do anything else. My studies were not very enjoyable and most importantly, I missed my biggest passion – music.

Before I graduated from high school, I had started my own band and wrote songs. Suddenly I ended up having no time for it. Besides, I was constantly told by teachers to give up on the band, grow up, and focus on my studies. At the end of the year, the school reviews the performance of students and forces many of them to leave based on that. Despite my creative and artistic tendencies, they believed in my skills and gave me the honor of moving on to the second year. Though I was expected to thankfully accept their offer, I surprised everyone in my world and said: “Thank you, but no thank you. I simply missed music too much and I want to dedicate all my time to it now.”

That was the best decision I could have made. I got back to my band and spent the three most amazing years of my life. My days were all about composing, rehearsing, writing lyrics, playing concerts, and recording music. It felt like with my studies, I had been put on a one-way path since the beginning. Whereas in music I could be myself, choose my own direction, and take full responsibility for it. If a song was working well, I could take credit for that. If a concert didn’t end up so great, I was the one to blame. That taught me a lot.

As the years went on I met this fantastic girl, who later became my wife and the mother of our new-born. This was when I felt it was time to get back on track. I had explored what I wanted to in music and began picturing a future that music couldn’t provide us. I decided to go back to university to study math and ultimately got a Ph.D. It was fantastic to know that I was there every single day because I really wanted to be, and not because someone else told me to. This makes a all the difference.

- Thomas Browne