the stories of a los angeles violinist

advice to my freshman self

Added on by Jordan Martone.

school has started for the majority of schools by now. oh, early mornings! oh, essays! oh, how i'm never going to miss those! (except the early mornings part. i'm currently editing this at 6:12am before i go teach my 0-period strings class. ugh...) it got me thinking about how i'm a year out of college already. college flew by a lot quicker than i ever thought possible. and now i've sent one of my violin students off to study at the same university and in the same program that i was in. this week at our last lesson, she asked me for college advice for freshmen. and i thought to myself, "what advice would i give?" i don't think i had the most perfect college experience, nor am i  a model student by any means. so what advice can i give?

my college experience started wonderfully. i had an amazing group of friends in the "music dorms" that would study together and take classes together and even eat together. i felt successful in my violin lessons with my private teacher and i was handling all of my classes just fine. the trouble for me came when a lousy friend woke up one morning and decided to not be my friend anymore, and take my whole world down with him. long story short, i walked into every class with eyes on my back and bullying in my day-to-day school life with this person. it tore me down more than i like to admit, and it really made me question what i'm doing with my life. "do i want to play violin anymore? am i even good at this instrument? will i ever be successful?"

i'm so lucky that i had joe at the time, because he helped keep the walls in my mind from caving in. i was struggling with personal demons stemming from this betrayal and i was becoming a very scared and paranoid person. i had to decide for myself what hard work, dedication, and success was going to look like. and it was not going to involve any turds affecting me. (turd is my new favorite word for jerks. it just rolls off the tongue easily... turd...tuuuuurd.)

the best advice i can give an incoming freshman is that at some point in your life, you're going to question what you're even doing here. your life decisions are going to come down to what you believe in, not what your parents, friends, or teachers think. does this make me happy? am i doing what i love? and you're going to have to fight for it. 

simply put, your passion in life is always worth fighting for even when turds get in the way. remain steady in your pursuits, because hardships happen to everyone, but success comes when you dig your heels in and do it.