To my music teacher

To my music teacher

You are so much more than a director

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I still remember the day that we first met. I knew next to nothing about my instrument, let alone music. The only thing that rang through my mind while I sat in the last chair in a room full of experienced musicians was, "I can't do this." I went home crying that day because I really wanted to learn about music, but felt like it was going to be impossible. My mom even came with me the next day to tell you that I couldn't do it- it just seemed impossible to the both of us. But then, you looked me in the eye and asked me to do one thing, "Please trust me. You can do this."


I spent two years under your direction. Every morning I came to school and the first thing I got to do was be in your class. I spent some of the best times of my life in that class. You taught me some of the greatest lessons I have come across, and the application of those lessons is something I do every day. Here are some of my favorite things you have taught me.


If you work hard, you will see progress

I never thought I would be able to play anything off of my D and A strings on that first day, let alone be able to sight read an entire piece and actually sound half decent. But, you worked with me, had a lot of patience with me, and encouraged me to keep going. After two years, I was able to sight read-the goal that I set for myself at the beginning of this whole experience.

The hard work you put into your craft carries over to other parts in your life

Because of the structure I had in practicing my music, I found myself gaining structure in other parts for my life. My grades were the best when they were in your class, my relationships were strong, and I began to come into my own under your supervision.

You can find spiritual growth anywhere

You took the time to foster my spiritual growth- the best thing a teacher has ever done for me. You were not shy about who you were, or to whom you belonged. You were unapologetic about your love for Jesus in a place that doesn't always accept him. This witness served as an inspiration to me then and still does to this day.

You do not have to fit the stereotype to be a success

You taught me that people will look past the person who is performing. You took the time to introduce us to awesome musicians who did not fit the mold, but captivated their audience because of their proficiency in their craft.

You taught me to trust and believe in myself

I never had someone call out my self doubts and cast them aside for me like you did. Whenever I said "I can't" you would show me how I could. There was never a time you were wrong either.

Balling on a budget is a real thing

The two trips that I took with our orchestra under your direction were extremely memorable. Not only did we do well as an orchestra, but we all had the times of our lives. The first trip I went on, I didn't have to worry about money. However, the next year, my parents were dealing with a job loss, and it was the first time I ever experienced not having the funds to participate in a school program. You showed me how to budget, save, fundraise, and scrimp to put myself on that bus up to New York. I can't express to you how important that experience was for me and how much it still impacts me to this day.

Always take care of yourself

You made an effort to show us how you were caring for yourself. How you were eating well, going to the gym, going to church, getting involved in your community, taking time with your husband and kids, AND pursuing your Masters degree. I have yet to see someone work to better themselves like you do.

Follow your dreams

You had me make a vision board for our classroom after seeing that Gaby Douglas had made one on her journey to Olympic gold. You also encouraged me to make one and frequently asked me what my goals were. Whenever I would start to explain that my dreams were too big, you would cast that doubt out of my head.

Learning about different cultures is the best way to be respectful of them

For our final in your class, you had us do research on the country of our origin to prove how diverse our classroom was. We discussed the different musical traditions from each region, and how they all blended together into what we play today. You also had us cook a meal from our country and share it with the class!

Don’t be afraid to take action

You jokingly told us multiple times "Better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission" whenever someone felt like they needed your approval to get something done in the classroom. That joke was probably the most transformative thing I have ever seen though. I saw students go from timid children to musicians on a mission whenever we would say it. It helped us get a lot done in your class period!

Thank you for working as hard as you do. You have made a tremendous difference on my life and so many others. Thank you for being your true authentic self!

Cover Image Credit:

Allison Mallory

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8 Things You Should Never Say To An Education Major

"Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"
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Yes, I'm an Education major, and yes, I love it. Your opinion of the field won't change my mind about my future. If you ever happen to come across an Education major, make sure you steer clear of saying these things, or they might hold you in from recess.

1. "Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"

Um, no, it's not. We write countless lesson plans and units, match standards and objectives, organize activities, differentiate for our students, study educational theories and principles, and write an insane amount of papers on top of all of that. Sometimes we do get to color though and I won't complain about that.

2. "Your major is so easy."

See above. Also, does anyone else pay tuition to have a full-time job during their last semester of college?

3. "It's not fair that you get summers off."

Are you jealous? Honestly though, we won't really get summers off. We'll probably have to find a second job during the summer, we'll need to keep planning, prepping our classroom, and organizing to get ready for the new school year.

4. “That's a good starter job."

Are you serious..? I'm not in this temporarily. This is my career choice and I intend to stick with it and make a difference.

5. “That must be a lot of fun."

Yes, it definitely is fun, but it's also a lot of hard work. We don't play games all day.

6. “Those who can't, teach."

Just ugh. Where would you be without your teachers who taught you everything you know?

7. “So, you're basically a babysitter."

I don't just monitor students, I teach them.

8. “You won't make a lot of money."

Ah yes, I'm well aware, thanks for reminding me. Teachers don't teach because of the salary, they teach because they enjoy working with students and making a positive impact in their lives.

Cover Image Credit: BinsAndLabels

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3 Struggles Of Attending A Pre-Med Dominated University — No Matter What Your Major Is

It's a hard knock life for the many pre-med students out there.

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Even though we as college students are technically considered adults, we are still burdened by stress at a young age. Especially in a pre-med oriented school, we feel pressured to keep up with or even surpass the achievements of others as we struggle to maintain our busy schedules while attempting to balance what little time we have left for ourselves. It's a sad reality.

1. The competition

Coming from a very pre-med oriented university, I can't help but feel the competitive vibes around me. During the lecture, I can hear the students around me ask their peers what score they received on the most recent midterm while others boast about how busy they are during the week because of all of the things that they are doing outside of the classroom.

It's this dog eat dog environment and constant comparison that makes students and myself included feel as if we are somehow lagging behind or not doing as much as we should be doing so we push ourselves even harder to keep up. As much as we don't want to, we have the tendency to measure our success in terms of others' success, and this, in turn, makes it more difficult for us to focus on ourselves. Now, I'm sure that you've been told not to compare yourself to others, but in the end, isn't that how you gain admission into medical school? By being compared to others? It's all relative.

2. The authenticity

It's not rare to see a pre-med student taking 18 or more credits while trying to squeeze in some volunteer work, a campus job, and even some research hours all into one day. At times, however, I question whether or not they truly want to do all of these things, but at the same time, I understand that they feel pressured to embody the "ideal" medical school applicant.

One of my friends once said to me, "I need to beef up my resume", and it's sad to see how she now feels constantly pressured to apply for a volunteer position or a job because of this. I also see others dread the work that they do, but they continue to stick with it and overload themselves because they believe that is what admissions officers want to see. I am a firm believer of doing something because you genuinely want to and not because you feel like you have to, yet this mentality gets lost as one becomes so immersed in meeting the requirements of the medical school.

3. The balance

While doing well in your classes is important, so is eating, showering, and sleeping. In fact, I think that one's physical and mental health triumphs all else. I recall the hectic week that one of my friends recently pushed through. She had a weekend class and an exam as part of something she pursues on the side, and that same week, we had a chemistry midterm followed by a biology one and not to mention all of the other assignments we had due in between. My friend already felt tired and burnt out from the weekend, and this led her to miss a lecture and some homework assignments. She even went a day without eating an actual meal.

With only a bag of popcorn for dinner one night, she stayed up until FOUR in the morning to catch up on what she had missed during the day. Many of my other friends who are pre-med struggle to balance academics, extracurriculars, leisure time, and maintenance of their overall health because there is always a trade-off. There are only 24 hours in a day, and one thing has to be sacrificed in order to obtain the other, and I wish it wasn't this way.

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