Jordan Martin, my cousin, has been someone who I have looked up to throughout my entire life. Now, in this interview, I followed through with his accomplishments and why exactly he serves as someone so inspiring.

While he cannot swim with sharks, or walk through a ring of fire, my cousin Jordan Martin still possesses so much determination and courage with every stride. At just 18 years old, he has already accomplished so much, and without a doubt in my mind, he will continue to do great things. As a former Smithtown West student, he relates to a lot of what Smithtown students have gone through and experienced. He may not be superman, but his positivity and passion for everything he does is enough to make him someone that I look up to and that everyone should try to emulate.

Academically, Jordan has soared above most with his friendly personality. He has always made good acquaintance with his teachers, asking questions constantly, and trying to better himself in any way that he can. It all paid off, as Jordan entered numerous honor societies. His greatest honor was being on the committee of Tri-M, our resident music honor society. He scored very well on tests and in his classes as well, making him eligible for the Gold Cord, an award given to some of the smartest students. His academic success was not so easy after all, as his classes were very challenging and required a ton of patience and effort. When I asked what his greatest motivator in doing well was, he told me that it was mostly coming from himself, that he desired the grade more than any outside influence. Jordan concludes that, “It created comfort and reassurance not only for the moment but for my future as well.” If he did well now, it would set him up for success in the future. Besides, the self-drive inside him to get excellent grades was also fundamentally important to him. “I’ve never wanted to regret not trying as hard as I could. If I always tried my best, I could look back at my high school years fondly.” Doing well in school was something that has helped shape him as a person; even still in college, Jordan always strives to try as hard as he can and live life without regret.

Although succeeding in academics held a large portion of his life during his high school years, music and band were also equally important, as well as his favorite hobby. It was an amazing opportunity for him to explore things he loved. During freshman year, he had joined the Smithtown West Pep Band, not knowing what it had in store for him and how much it would change his life for the better. Once he was settled in, he had made many friends and developed good relationships with the teachers who specialized in music, such as Mr. Cassera. Realizing that he certainly had a passion for music, he took his saxophone, auditioned for the jazz band in his sophomore year, and eventually got involved in the woodwind ensemble, the orchestra pit, symphonic band, and symphonic orchestra. This involvement in itself proved to be a life-changer, quite literally, as Jordan had quit JV baseball, a strong contender in his earlier years to follow his newfound passion for music. With the music came more opportunities, namely the Six Flags trip the music program holds, which gives talented kids a chance to utilize their skills while having some fun as well. Little did he know that going on that bus would land him the gold. Michael Golub, a fellow Smithtown West alumni, was known for his excellence in playing the trumpet and the piano consecutively; Jordan had been introduced to him initially over their love of Marvel, and eventually, Golub had asked him to join his self-produced band: “Waffle Mishap”, and how could Jordan ever say no to something so exciting? They had started small, with backyard parties and restaurants, working their way up to their first EP, Sidetracked. Now, they are back and better than ever, dropping their first full album Finale in Gold. This album is full of strong and valiant instrumentals, as well as variety in sound. The experience of the music section of HSW was most definitely one that shaped Jordan as a person, as he is officially now part of his college’s pep band!

After his departure from High School West, Jordan started his new journey, one of great valor and excitement at the University of Florida, a great school with even greater weather. Despite his eagerness, the bombshell of our year, otherwise known as COVID-19, had thrown rocks in his path, leaving many obstacles to overcome. It was a scary situation since he had not ever lived far from home, and now he was being cast into a new world under unusual circumstances. Despite this all, he has managed to stay positive and grateful, something so admirable to me. When I had asked him what ran through his mind during this entire process, what made him stay so positive, he told me, “I’m fortunate enough that I’ve been able to be here in person. The school managed it well, and I’ve been telling myself that it’ll get better from here.” Going for a major in Physical Therapy, Jordan sure has a heavy course load, as well as other responsibilities and the desire of figuring the world out on his own. Quite curious myself, I had never asked him what drew him towards Physical Therapy, besides his experience with his father’s self-owned business. This time, I had decided to ask him, and he explained that his father was a PT. “My father has given me prior knowledge and experience, and I became heavily interested in it.” The social aspect was a big part of it too; “I worked part-time during the summer, and I just loved the socialization and the experience of meeting new people with many stories to tell.” Still, on the subject of Physical Therapy, I switched the focus over to his father’s place, asking him what the best part of working with his father was. He told me, “I got to see a whole new side of something that he was passionate about!”

In life, the sun will always shine, and the moon will always show, but sometimes it rains, and the droplets pour down harshly, the effect of hardships on us. We are the sun, and the rocks in our path are symbolic of our perception and what ability we possess to react the way we do. Jordan sees the rainbow at the end of the shower, a symbol of hope and gratefulness that not many people can muster, and for that, I have an immense sense of respect for someone who has always served as a role model for me. He may not be supernatural, or all-knowing but Jordan has never wavered in the belief of always being happy and looking on the bright side, choosing to live his life passionately and animatedly. He not only inspires me but reminds me to cherish everything I have and to always keep in mind the great things we possess on this Earth. Jordan’s optimism shows that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.

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