Maybe School’s Not So Bad After All


Photo Credit: Baim Hanif on Upsplash

I wanted it to stop, but they kept pressing. As if everything would snap into place if only the right combination of instruments and sheet music was placed in front of me. It was hopeless.

The professor seemed irritated with me. I don’t recall his exact words, but I think he asked what my problem was.

“I’ve never played music like this before,” I remember saying.

“What do you mean ‘MUSIC—LIKE—THIS?'” he asked, glaring. He slowed down and emphasized each syllable, pushing his tongue and lips extra hard to sharpen each word to a razor-like edge.

Music majors, I found out later, were supposed to audition before being accepted to access their ability to read and play music. This would have saved me a lot of distress because there’s no way I would have passed.

That first quarter felt like a nightmare. I never went back to percussion ensemble. I eventually stopped going to my other classes as well.

Class was conversational in tone. While landscape design was not a life long passion, the material was interesting and easy to understand. I did well.

Chris Benoe and Katie Queen helped me understand how to better communicate and tell stories through visual art.

Maybe I learned the most from fellow students: Brigette, Angelica, Joliana, Albert, Ferry, Melody, Bret, Josh, John and too many others to name. Their courage and creativity was and is inspiring. They allowed me, at least for a little while, to experience the world through their eyes, and for that, I am forever grateful.

If not for that shitty experience at Cal Poly, which at the time, I nearly allowed to defeat me, I never would have come to Mt. SAC. I don’t think I could have enjoyed and appreciated school and education if I had made it through the first time.

I certainly wouldn’t be “here” now.

As my Mt. SAC journey reaches its conclusion, I leave with a love for learning that I didn’t know I had the capacity for.

I still don’t know how to read music, and I still haven’t played timpani before, but I could play “Blue Rondo a la Turk.” I also have a few college degrees.

While I’ve come to love Mt. SAC and its people, I’m not supposed to stay. None of us are, so I’ll pack it up and take it all with me. I have lots of things I still need to do. I have my sights set on at least one more degree, and that’s something I never thought I’d say.