At first glance, Molly D’Agostino, a senior Interdisciplinary Studies major focusing on pre-law, resembles your typical college student. But when she’s not in the classroom, she’s performing around the country with her band, Pacinello. Her hard-working attitude and the flexibility of the IDS program make it possible for Molly to combine her pursuit of her academic goals with her love for music.
Tell us a little about your band, what type of music you play, how it got started etc.
Music has been a huge part of my life since before I can remember. I played school instruments in grade school and I picked up the guitar when I was around 13 years old. From there, I started my first backyard band (Pacinello) and that band went on to be, in 2013, ranked by The Grammys as one of the Top 15 Upcoming Acts in the world. From there, I went on to work with many great acts and musicians who guided me in my path to where I am today. This include: Satchel (Steel Panther), The All-American Rejects, Chris Caffery (Savatage), Pop Evil, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and more. I am very thankful for my career, so far, in music.
Why did you decide to study Interdisciplinary Studies at SUNY Poly?
I intend to go on to graduate school to study law. The Interdisciplinary Studies program at SUNY Poly encompasses all my needs and I was able to design a program to not only fit my schedule but directly fit my interests and requirements to continue my education and plan for my future. Also, the staff is superior to other faculty I had met with when choosing a school. My advisors really took extra initiative to make sure my needs were met and my professors are truly exemplary.
Interdisciplinary Studies allows for individual study, what is the focus of your studies?
The focus of my studies is pre-law. I’ve taken classes in culture, history, and writing to give me a full span of experience in areas that will give me a strong foundation to be able to continue into a law program.
How do you balance your coursework and being on the road with your band?
Balance is an interesting word; and one that I didn’t know the true meaning of until I started college while professionally pursuing music! I was fortunate to have a band that really only played Wednesdays through Sundays and I was able to have on-campus classes, if available, on Mondays and Wednesdays. I had to set specific time slots where I would do my online work and specific time to do my on-campus homework. Once you get in a swing of a schedule, it becomes less of a test of procrastination and more of a habit of ease and I actually learned to enjoy it. I am also very grateful for wonderfully flexible professors who were very understanding and helpful with my busy schedule. I am very proud to say I haven’t missed an assignment or exam to date!
Do you take most of your classes online or in class? If online, can you describe what it is like taking online classes?
A majority of my classes are online but I was able to take on-campus classes as well (with a lot of tight travel arrangements and flexible professors). With online classes, you have to be disciplined to turn in your work and you have to be responsible for engaging in the material and assuring that you really know what is being taught because in an online class, there are no professors using Socratic Method (randomly calling on people to keep everyone on their toes), to be sure, you’re prepared and know the material! I am not going to lie, I’m a procrastinator at heart and I have still been able to keep great academic standing in my online classes; not to say they are easy but they are very doable and the environment is much more relaxed. I can dictate the class time without even getting out of bed (which for me, sometimes can be the most difficult struggle of the morning). I definitely recommend online classes.
What are your career goals?
Although music is my dream right now, it is a tiring, ever changing, and sometimes purely exhausting profession. I aspire to practice law and study contracts so hopefully someday I can help other musicians make responsible decisions when getting into the music industry. SUNY Poly, although not really known for its pre-law students, has been an incredible start for me and I am so happy I chose to attend school here. The education I have received has been supreme and I often find myself comparing myself to friends in similar places in their educational careers with the same goals as me. I feel much more prepared and excited about not only my education but also my future. I’m excited to see what comes next and I am more than ready to rock!