11 Days Into 2023
So much has changed in a little over a week. As soon as the new year started, I needed to come to terms with a lot of things. My career, my passions, and my mental health. For a little context, I will introduce myself.
My name is Anna Mengani, and I'm the founder of this awesome, inspirational, and talented publication Noise Disrup-bution Magazine. Aside from my music journalism writing, I'm a musician primarily. At first, I thought it'd maybe be a little odd for someone who plays, records, and mixes music to spend their time writing about music, but it came very naturally and authentically.
I've been playing clarinet since I was 8 years old... I know, it's quite the instrument. I was inspired by Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants and I ended up playing for 10 YEARS. It wasn't my favorite instrument, but I stuck with it because I thought it'd be more difficult to learn something new. Around 18 I decided to FINALLY learn something new and picked up electric guitar and piano. Although, because I was so hyperfocused on the piano, I am now currently learning guitar again.
After all the mess of picking a new instrument, a year later I declared music technology as my major in college. I don't have regrets about that in any way, shape, or form, but I do regret ignoring my gut. My 'slap in the face' from 2023 has been in the making since probably late 2018 to early 2020.
During those years, I was learning everything I could about the audio industry. I worked anywhere music and education-related I could (because working with kids is fun), and was practicing piano for 1-2 hours a day, along with singing for about 30 minutes to an hour a day. At first, it was a fun experience, but after a while my mental health and my passion for music became toxic.
I can't say when exactly it began, but crying on my piano while trying to play a piece by my favorite composer Chopin was a sign for sure. I was feeling the most intense imposter syndrome at this time in my life. When I graduated from the College of Staten Island in the fall of 2021 with my Bachelor of Science in Music Technology, and minoring in Spanish and Psychology. I graduated with honors, 3 awards, and an LGBT certificate. I never thought in my life I would have so many awards. I was able to celebrate my education, but soon after I made a terrible yet rewarding choice. I decided to go to graduate school about 6 months later.
The opportunities 2 semesters have brought me at NYU have been IMMENSE. Due to the pandemic affecting my internships as an undergraduate student, I felt the need to pursue my master's right away. I can't begin to fathom the variety of people I've met, the opportunities I've been given, and so forth. Yet now, I find myself needing a serious step back and to re-think my career. Going into the program and moving out at the same time was a terrible experience. I was just getting used to being on my own, working for a living, and the curveball of school I threw at myself.
I did not take the time to research the program I was accepted into and realized last semester I literally hate learning the technology part of music because I'm terrible at math and some science aspects. When I applied for graduate school, I was accepted into 3 other colleges and decided to go with NYU because it was more local to me and I thought what I learned would be worth it.
Now I realize, it would have been worth it if I had a genuine interest in learning more about coding and music engineering. I now know my interest lie more with composition or education. Even the music business opportunities I have been taking I have more interest in than school. Between my grades plummeting from A-B's to B-C's from my lack of motivation/interest, having to work more hours to pay rent, and my anxiety being worse than ever, I've decided to drop out of school, even with a scholarship of 20K.
I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can go back to graduate school on my own terms, and that I was able to figure out what is for me. My 6-month plan is to finish the Yellowbrick online certificates I'm enrolled in, learn guitar so I can apply to a Music Therapy program, and to just travel and enjoy life instead of holding myself back.
I'm so proud of myself for being able to acknowledge what I need vs struggling to make it in the music entertainment industry when I have so many other music opportunities in front of me.
I have the utmost respect for my peers, friends, boyfriend, and contributors for interning and working with amazing music organizations, record labels, and performing. It's something I thought I wanted as well for years, but my mental health and passion for music and life have to come first.
The takeaway I've gotten from my mistakes, failures, and my successes are sometimes you don't know what you like or don't like until you try, and do your research. I've also learned that creating a life-work balance should come first, and because it didn't for me I destroyed my relationship with music. I decided to hustle instead of taking the time to enjoy my craft, which I will now.
For the rest of 2023, I will be enjoying re-establishing my relationship with music and trusting where life will take me next.
Songs to describe where I'm at
Where I want to be
✩ My playlist ✩
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