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How Condoleezza Rice Found Her True Calling

Condoleezza Rice, the former diplomat and Secretary of State, was a sophomore in college majoring in piano performance, working toward a professional musical career. That summer, she went to study and perform at the Aspen Musical Festival, a prestigious and competitively sought honor.

While there, she came into contact with, as she put it, “11-year-olds who could play from sight what had taken me all year to learn.” She knew that she could not compete with people of such innate talent. She knew she would never be the best, and that meant this wasn't the path she wanted to pursue.

At the start of her junior year, she changed her major from music to international relations. And the rest is history.

Rice earned graduate degrees in political science from Notre Dame and would go on to become an expert on the Soviet Union and eventually foreign policy. She served as the National Security advisor and then US Secretary of State, as the first woman of color to do so.

Her life, and the future lives of countless others, was changed that fateful day when 19-year-old “Condi” decided she would not be a pianist. She didn't waste time staring at a door that was closing, but instead, while the opportunity was still ripe, pushed a new one open.

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