After the Bubble bursts: the journey of a thousand miles begins with…

Heidi L. Lukas ’92

Much has been written on the concept of journey – its metaphorical value in recounting one’s life has probably surpassed cliché status by now, but I still can’t resist its pull as I reflect on my profession within the context of my years at Lawrence.
For the past 14 years, I have worked in administration for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As director of operations, I have had the opportunity to travel with the Orchestra on over 25 tours across four continents.
Business travel in any field is not the glamorous endeavor that many people would think. Flying has become increasingly challenging, especially with more than a hundred people in your party, and needing to be alert for a production meeting directly after a 14-hour flight to Tokyo is truly painful.
While there is not much time for exploration in any given city, I do have a benefit that most business travelers do not: I have the privilege of hearing a truly exceptional orchestra perform in many of the world’s greatest concert halls. These moments of musical bliss are the culmination of countless hours of behind-the-scenes work planning the logistics of these tours.
The tours for me are about details – travel arrangements, contracts, visas, etc. At first, I was convinced that if I planned everything meticulously, there would be no room for error on the trip itself.
But then, after a series of mishaps – one of the most interesting involved our instrument trucks being stuck behind a mountain – I realized that most often, my job is about problem-solving.
It may be difficult to see the connection between studying counter-point and moving 20 tons of cargo across Asia, but they both involve a complex puzzle that is at the same time frustrating and rewarding.
Studying at Lawrence offered me its own kind of journey. When I entered the conservatory, I realized quickly that I carried with me a pretty narrow vision of the world. I was amazed to feel my eyes opening almost immediately with each new academic, musical and personal experience.
While it’s impossible to know exactly which of Lawrence’s experiences will benefit you the most after graduation, I do believe that the sum of its various parts offers personal growth that is crucial to success in any endeavor.
The things I learned and the people I met while at Lawrence are gifts that have become a fundamental part of the person I am today. The greatest of these was meeting my husband and making some of the best friends I will ever have. And gifts like these become even more beautiful with your eyes wide open.