"Unless you absolutely have to be a musician because it's the only thing you can do and you can't stop yourself, don't do it."
Ouch. This is harsh. But I am here to tell you the same thing.*
Are you the best violinist in your city? Your county? Get over yourself. Globalization is here to stay in the music business. There's some girl born in South Korea by the last name of Kim, Lee, Park or Cho who could play circles around you by the age of 10. She's prettier, wealthier, and more talented than you ever will be. Her violin costs more than you owe on your student loans. She has studied in one of the world's most prestigious conservatories. Enjoy being her cannon fodder at the next big violin competition you think you have a shot at winning.
Do you think you deserve an orchestra job? Good for you. So do dozens, if not hundreds, of graduates every year from Juilliard, Curtis, and other leading conservatories on your instrument. If the orchestra job pays enough to be worth your time, chances are there is someone there from one of these schools who's worked just as hard as you. Pedigree doesn't matter, but playing well does, and boy, do some of these people play well. Good luck.
Do you want to be that guy or gal bouncing from gig to gig in his parents' beat up 1999 Camry who can barely pay the rent in between teaching little kids Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? Yeah, I didn't think so. But that's where you are headed by default if you're in music school now.
Are you that forward-thinker who's going to make classical music great again by making Final Fantasy Covers? By making a vlog? By instagramming every bowel movement you have? You don't have any idea how hard it is to make this work. I've seen and lived with people myself who are doing this, and if you thought getting an orchestra job was hard, wait till you see the dedication this kind of life takes behind the scenes. Not only can you not expect anyone to respect you or pay you for this until maybe years go by, but you have to have content that is truly unique, be well-connected, and be just plain lucky.
*I say all of this with a wink in my eye. If you've read this far, and you still aren't buying what I have to say, then maybe you have a future in classical music. It takes a thick skin to make it in this business. It takes a ton of self-motivation, and a determination to never take no for an answer in the big picture. If you have a future in it, you'll ignore what I say and go for it anyway. Good luck to you. I truly mean it.
At the risk of sounding like your parents, I want to close with one last thought. No matter what you want to do for a living, making music (not just listening) is a gift from God that I wish could be enjoyed by every man and woman at some point in life. Paradoxically, many things that are fun become less so under the pressure that comes with having to do it for a living rather than a hobby. Let's face it: For over 99% of the people in the world, the best way to enjoy music is to make it, listen to it, pass it on to your kids and your friends, cultivate it as a hobby, use it for a social occasion, use it to connect with other people - all of these things are great, and need to be done more, as long as you don't try to do it for a living.