Previn Martin: Living Life “Glass Half Empty”

Photo courtesy of Previn Martin.

Is the glass half empty, or is the glass half full?

Nearly everyone has said this phrase at one point or another during their lifetime, if not heard it said by someone else. It is an easy thing to say to help lift spirits and encourage optimism.

However, saying this phrase is immensely easier than living it. Previn Martin, a rising sophomore in Penn State’s Eberly College of Science, challenges himself to go beyond merely saying this phrase, but instead living each day and every day by these words.

Glass Half Empty

Not only does Martin use this phrase to guide his actions, but he goes as deeper as to apply his own meaning to an otherwise negative insinuation. “Glass half empty,” is typically thought of as meaning negative. Martin, however, considers it a mindset.

“One of my main goals in life is to approach things glass half empty,” said Martin. By this, he does not suggest going into things with a sour attitude. In fact, it’s the opposite. Martin uses this phrase as a metaphor for going into things open minded and not setting expectations. He uses his mind as the half empty glass, leaving room for new impressions, beliefs, interests or whatever else he may get out of a new opportunity.

Martin has learned so much by living through this phrase, from extracurriculars to people.

His first realization of the importance of this phrase was at a marching band competition he was competing in during high school. Going into the competition, Martin was confident of his team’s ability to win.

“I thought the other teams wouldn’t do well,” admits Martin.

However, the opposing bands did do well. Much better than he had expected.

Instead of being frustrated with the outcome, Martin reflected on this competition and realized that if he had gone into it more open minded, he would have been able to learn from the skills of the other bands as well as learn from the experience from a whole.


Since then, Martin has gone on to apply this lesson to all aspects of his life. He especially learned a lot when applying this lesson to making friends.

When meeting people, Martin is always sure to “take prior knowledge walls down.”

“You can see into a whole different world,” he says.

Photo courtesy of Previn Martin.

By doing this in his social life, Martin has been able to find the groups that make him feel like his best self and explore what makes him happiest.

His growth from living this way is immense, as one of the things he prides himself most on is taking care of himself and those around him.

Martin urges others to “go for the things that make them happy.” For him, these things are education, giving back, arts and music.

During his time at Penn State, Martin has discovered a new art form: drag. A career that he initially thought was going to be “short lived” turned into his artistic and emotional outlet.

“At first, going into drag, I was absolutely terrified,” Martin admits.

Flash forward just one semester, and Martin is performing in the HUB takeover and hosting the CupcakKe Asylum show.

“In the beginning, I would have been scared,” says Martin. “But, I was with the people I love the most.”

What’s To Come

Martin has already achieved so much after only a year of college at Penn State. He has faced fears, made lifelong connections and began to make an impact. However, his life does not revolve around achievements. Instead, Martin focuses on always bettering himself and the environment around him.

Professionally, Martin wants to get into research and combat disease. Personally, he will always strive to improve his well-being, as well as those he meets. Most importantly, Martin just wants to do the things he loves to do.

When asked about the future, the thing that terrifies many people, Martin had nothing but positivity to spread.


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