Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Diane Timmerman


The movement from adolescence to adulthood has often been identified by certain rites of passage across cultures. These rites are ceremonious, ritualistic events such as a bar/bat mitzvah, marriage, and graduation, They indicate a transition from one stage of life to another and sometimes contain difficult obstacles and challenges that assist in the maturation process. College provides contemporary American students with a modern rite of passage; it is a time of transition between youth and the "real world" of adulthood. At its core, the purpose of going to college is to become educated, so that by the time one leaves, one has the tools to respond to the world intelligently and usefully (it is more than just being able to secure a job after graduation). While academies are essential to college, there are experiences that young people may encounter which supplement academic education and deal more with worldly education. These experiences lead into a more productive and whole adult life. College, therefore, serves as a modern rite of passage by providing the obstacles necessary for an emerging adult to mature, and these experiences promote a positive path forward into adulthood. My thesis can be more clearly understood through the performance of "The Story of Us", I a self-composed song cycle that shows, through its music and lyrics, examples of such obstacles and how they relate to the context of the college experience as a whole. A DVD and a CD recording of the performance, as well as a full score of the song cycle, is included with this thesis,