Halfway Done: Check-In

Hey there, loyal readers!

As you know I haven’t been posting lately because I’m on military contract doing a music course on saxophone. Well, two weeks of four done, and I’m home for the weekend. When I first arrived, I had an initial assessment with my teacher to see where I’m at. And that performance was… less than stellar. Out of 100 I probably got like a 10. It scared my teacher enough that they decided to step in and tell me exactly what I need to do to have any hope of passing this course.

After playing music from 7:30-4 everyday, and going back to practice from 6-9 p.m., I quickly wore out my face. “Play until you bleed” isn’t just an expression in my line of work. Still, I knew I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to get through this course, and 4 weeks isn’t really a lot of time considering some people spend years in school for this stuff and still struggle with the difficulty of the course I’m doing. My confidence was down, so I wrote a note to myself and pasted it on the wall across from me to watch me practice. It says:

You’re awesome.
Play confidently.
You can do this.”

Fast forward to today. Midterms. I was so nervous my stomach was in knots all week long, and this morning I simply felt sick. Not to let that hold me back, though, I did that midterm. How did it go? Well, I played as confidently and as musically as I could, given the time I’ve had to work on this material. And…. I failed by 1%.

You’re probably thinking, “Ouch, what kind of jerk fails someone on a test by 1%?” Well, my instructor, apparently. That being said, I’m not mad about it, or even upset anymore. I had my moment of tears, and then I realized that she did this because she wants to help me. I talked to her about it afterward, and she said she was really conflicted on whether she should raise my mark slightly so that I pass, or lower it slightly so I’m not failing by just 1 mark. In the end she decided to stick with her gut, and kept it at 59/100.

It wasn’t easy to accept, but now I understand. She failed me because she wants me to be better. She failed me because she refuses to spoon-feed me this qualification level. I told her that I’m glad she kept the mark as it was. If I’m going to pass this course, I want to earn it. And that’s exactly what I plan to do over the next two weeks as I work towards my final test which I will perform in front of a panel of high-ranking officers in a big music hall. And you can bet I’ll give it my all as I prove to her that I refuse to let this setback slow me down. I’m going to earn that qualification. That, or I’ll fail it, but walk out of that room with my head held high knowing I did absolutely everything in my power to try to pass it, and will come back next year to pass it for certain.

Don’t let failures get to you. Use them as opportunities to try harder, to prove them wrong, to show yourself what you are capable of. And remember that the things you really want won’t always come easy, but you have to be willing to put in the effort to obtain them.



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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

2 responses to “Halfway Done: Check-In”

  1. Jess says :

    You have a great attitude about improving your work. I would have been flipping out. Good luck and keep going strong 🙂

  2. pincushionsandreflections says :

    I love your attitude and the way you have approached the midterm. I personally would have been a mess with a result like that. You are a stronger person than i. Good for you, and I hope you kill it on your final! Good luck!!

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