To The High School Senior Deciding If You Should Do Band In College, I Have Two Words For You

To The High School Senior Deciding If You Should Do Band In College, I Have Two Words For You


Dear high school band senior,

You're so close to graduating, and the excitement is probably eating you up inside. You can't wait to get to college, make new friends, have new experiences, and pursue your dreams. If you're like I was, there's one thing you just don't want to leave behind-band. If you're even more like me, you'll be convinced you're not, and never will be, good enough to be a member of a college band. Allow me to tell you what you could miss out on if you don't at least try.

You could miss out on pushing yourself past your comfort zone.

The day I auditioned for the Razorback Marching Band was one of the most nerve-wracking days of my life. I barely slept the night before, I was too nervous to eat anything that morning, and to top it all off, I forgot my wallet at home and had no money with me. It wasn't starting off to be a great day, but once I finished auditioning, I was so proud of myself. I had done something that I never believed could be possible-auditioning for the band of the largest university in the state of Arkansas.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Band Kids Are The Best Kids

I've learned to push myself through long, hot rehearsals. I've become accustomed to waking up at 4 a.m. for early morning game days. I've high marched for longer than anyone should ever have to endure. None of these are easy, but college band pushes you past your supposed limits, and you'll be amazed at what you can do.

You could miss out on some of your best friends.

I think the most common fear incoming freshmen have is the fear of not finding any friends at school. When you join a college band, it's almost impossible for that fear to come to fruition. You're literally thrown into a group of people who want you to enjoy your experience like they have so far, so you almost have to try to NOT make friends.

I have met my college best friends and girls I envision standing next to me on my wedding day through my college band. Band friends keep you entertained on 14-hour bus rides to watch your team play. They suffer along with you when you're running on ten hours of sleep in the past 48 hours. They're the people you wouldn't want to live without, and they alone make deciding to do band in college worth it.

You could miss out on incredible (free) experiences.

When you're in a college marching band, you get some really great perks. You get into all home (and some away) football games for free, and at some schools, you can get into basketball games for free. You get to travel to some pretty great places to cheer on your team(s). You perform in venues you never thought you'd step foot in, in front of people you never thought you'd perform for. Being in a college band is really a sweet deal; you play for them, and they give you a wonderful college experience.

You could miss out on learning about other majors besides your own.

One big misconception about college band is that you have to be a music major to participate, but that couldn't be further from the truth. There are majors from every college within the university represented in the band. Give me a major and I probably know someone who is studying that. I have gained respect for college majors I once thought of as "easy" or "cop-out" majors, which never would have happened had I not followed my dream of being in a college band.

So high school band seniors, I know it's scary. I know it's intimidating, and I know you might not believe you can do it. But you'll miss out on all of this and so much more if you don't even try. So DO IT and don't look back, because, boy, is it fun.

Cover Image Credit: Victoria Tarkington

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College Isn't What You Expect It To Be And That's Ok

The homesickness can make you feel lonelier than you ever have before.

Social media and the internet work together to create the same image of college: going to endless parties, being surrounded by a large group of amazing friends, and having the time of your life — all the time. Both conveniently forget to add the less-glamorous parts to the picture.

In my experience, college is much different than what I was expecting. Some of these differences are great, while others are things I would gladly go without.

For one, I thought I was ready and realistic in my expectations for the amount and difficulty of the work. Unfortunately, I was very wrong. My parents told me countless times that in college the homework never really ends. I thought I understood that, but I really didn’t and don’t think it’s possible to until you experience it firsthand. I went from most days of absolutely no homework in high school to a to-do list for each day that is never truly finished. In fact, I often end up carrying parts of it over to the next day.

So, to all you getting ready for your first semester of college this fall buckle up. Whatever you do, do not fall behind. Once you do, it’s almost impossible to catch up again. Staying on top of things will pay off more in the end than deciding to blow everything off until the last minute (damn procrastination).

When it came to making quality friends, I didn’t realize how hard it could actually be. I made many acquaintances but few truly good friends. The first few weeks, many people are transient and serve only as a way to feel less alone while adjusting to being away from home. Hopefully, when this period of latching on to almost everyone you talk to ends you find yourself with a few close friends to continue getting to know.

Even with these new friends, you will still feel lonely. Nobody prepares you or gives you any reason to expect this.

There are nights when you will find yourself sitting in your tiny dorm room feeling lonelier than you ever have before and just wishing you could be at home with your friends and family. In the beginning, this can happen very often as you try to adjust to being away. But, even after you have made some friends and settled in, this feeling will still pop up at random times.

College often isn’t what social media and the internet make us expect it to be. Nobody wants to show the negative parts of their life, such as the struggle to adjust or the nights when loneliness is their only friend. Everyone wants to show the best parts of themselves on social media, which creates this false image of what college life is.

Although college is full of frustration and difficulty, it also has its amazing aspects.

College forces you to grow up. You may be stressing about how you will learn to live without your mom talking to adults for you and fixing all your problems but trust me—you will. You must in college, and it isn’t nearly as bad as you think it will be. Making your own doctor appointments really isn’t that horrible or scary. This confidence you suddenly find in yourself as a young adult was there all along, you just needed a push out of the shadow of your parents.

The new opportunities and things you learn will be memorable.

Force yourself outside your comfort zone, do something crazy and unexpected or learn about something you never knew existed. You cannot experience college by staying in your bubble. Get out and learn more about who you are as a person and the things that give you passion.

Go out and meet some amazing people that are nothing like you. You were probably surrounded by people coming from the same exact place as you growing up and now is the first time in your life that you have the chance to meet people that are completely different. Talk to the person from a different country or even the one from a different area of our country. See what they can teach you about the world.

Soak in every moment, even the bad ones.

College really is one of the best times of your life. It’s the last time you and some of your closest friends will all be in the same place, maybe even in the same house.

Take all the time you possibly can to grow up, because the stresses of adult life and the real world are waiting to swallow you right after you complete your degree.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash

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Getting Back On Track After Break

Some thoughts to help you finish the semester strong.

One of life's greatest challenges, in my opinion, is setting a morning alarm. That, and dealing with stressful late nights, uncomfortable library desks, and unfriendly people. So, the best thing about a vacation from school? All of these misfortunes are merely nonexistent.

A long break from school or work is essential every now and then, but getting back on track can feel impossible. How do you go from sleeping in every day and basically doing nothing to working on overdrive?

It's not easy, but hopefully, some of these tips will help you get out of that rut or get back on track after a long break or vacation:

1. Plan

Before heading back to school, grab your calendar and write down all those due dates, exam dates, work shifts, and appointments. If you can, try to schedule in time for the gym too. I personally think that if everything is written in front of me, I'm more likely to follow through with my responsibilities.

Once you have all of your important dates written down, make a list prioritizing the things you want to accomplish during your first week back. You could make a study plan for one of your most important upcoming exams, set a goal to work out at least two times that week, or plan out all of your meals. The more organized you are, the more efficient you'll be in accomplishing your day-to-day tasks.

2. Review

In one of my classes, we started a new lesson the day before vacation and were told that we would resume the lesson after the break. This, I do not understand, but either way, it's important to refresh your memory before stepping foot into the classroom or lecture hall again. Look through your notebooks or word documents and re-write your notes if necessary. If your professors post their notes online, make sure you review those notes and write them out in your own words. If you have some extra time before classes get started, write out all of the questions you have. Try to clear up all of the confusion sometime during that first week back, whether you ask your professor in person or through email, ask a peer, or do some research on your own.

3. Get Help

Let's face it, we've all gotten away with procrastinating numerous times, but seeking help is one thing that should never be put off. Some problems do not go away overnight. In fact, most progress with time. If you're struggling with your grades, visit your professor's office hours, or look into getting a tutor. If you're stressed about internships or careers, make an appointment at the appropriate office or center. If you're dealing with trauma and have never gotten the help you needed, make it a priority to get that help.

The last few weeks of school can be extremely tiring on your mind and body, so don't take on all of that weight alone.

4. Consistency

This is one of the hardest parts about college. Very rarely do I go to bed and wake up at the same time, eat regular meals, or follow a strict workout plan. However, I've put in more effort and trying to be as consistent as I can. I definitely see a difference in my mood and alertness. Everyone's body has a biological clock that takes time to adjust to new routines. If you're constantly going to bed at 3 a.m. and decide you'll start going to bed at 9 a.m., you may have trouble falling asleep the first few nights.

Eventually, your body will get used to the change, but your body won't understand what you're doing if you alternate between going to bed in the middle of the night and going to bed super early in the night. Being a consistent hard-worker, healthy eater, and a responsible student will be the key to a successful semester.

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