In college, it is easy for us to try and fit ourselves into boxes and try and find a label to define us no matter how many passions we happen to fit. Third year political science senior and saxophone section leader Trenton Robinson refuses to be put into one single category.
He is studying political science at CSU and holds a very strong passion for it; a passion that he has had for a long time. He cites Barack Obama’s campaign and presidency as the main source for this passion.
“My parents were always politically involved, they always got me to follow what was going on and I listened to (Obama) speak and I listened to him talk and the message he put out about hope and making a better tomorrow for everyone,” Robinson said. “It just gave me a passion for actually making a change within the government.”
We all witnessed the chaos of this last ballot, but Robinson was right on the front line. He worked for a marijuana conglomerate in Pueblo county to reject a ballot measure that would have banned recreational marijuana growing in the county. Along with this, he also worked here on CSU for the presidential election.
“I did digital stuff for the CSU democrats on campus,” Robinson said. “So I wasn’t the one annoying you on campus, I was the one annoying you on Facebook,”
But on the other side, Robinson has also been playing the saxophone since sixth grade, joining both the marching band and jazz band in high school.
“I realized I was kinda good at it and I wasn’t very good at sports so I might as well throw myself into something extracurricular,” Robinson said. “I just fell in love with it, it became this way for me to not worry about other stuff.”
Currently, Robinson is a saxophone section leader for CSU’s marching band.
“I absolutely love it, I love all of the people and all of the stuff we do,” Robinson said. “It’s been easily the best decision I made in college.”
In terms of picking a career and favoring political science over a music degree, Robinson quotes his high school band director as a source of guidance.
“(He) told us that to study music you have to treat your instrument like it’s your job, so a writer should be able to write for eight hours a day, a computer scientist must be able to work on computers for eight hours a day, a musician has to be able to play their instrument for eight hours a day,” Robinson said. “And I love my saxophone…I just couldn’t see myself devoting my entire life to music.”
So, why both? Why continue to learn and practice both of these almost polar opposite things? For Robinson, it comes down to that the overarching messages and lessons of both can intertwine and as unlikely as it might sound, practicing the saxophone can lead to a better political career.
“Honestly, one of the biggest takeaways I’ve been able to have for both of them is that my saxophone has presented me with so many opportunities for leadership and fostering myself to be as good of a person as I possibly can be,” Robinson said. “So having those skills fostered within music makes my life going into the actual academic, professional world a lot easier.”
For other students with multiple passions who are having a hard time trying to do it all, Robinson offers simple, strong advice.
“If you know your limits you can do whatever you think you want to do,” Robinson said.
But ultimately, with two strong passions, there becomes a time when a decision must be made.
“As I’ve studied and sorta engorged myself with academia itself, I have to devote myself to my major and my future career,” Robinson said. “I give as much time as I possibly can to my saxophone, but honestly it’s one of those things where I know one is gonna take me further in life than the other will.”
For the future after he graduates, he is planning on taking his GRE to get is MA in political science through CSU. But his music is a different story.
“As far as music goes, I don’t know how it’s gonna transition….I’m never gonna completely get rid of it,” Robinson said. “I’m at that bad point in your life where you have to grow up and make decisions.”
Lastly, in response to the recent source of social media debate, the 2016 presidential election, Robinson wants to remind us to show love and even goes to paraphrase a Martin Luther King Jr. quote.
“I just feel like (showing love) is something people are having a hard time with,” Robinson said. “I’ve had to tell people on Facebook multiple times like hate doesn’t drive out hate, only love can do that.”