Let me preface this entire article by saying my transition from college band to high school was a full 180. My high school band was about a hundred people strong, and we were a competition band, so every Saturday we'd load a trailer and traverse across central Ohio to compete against other bands and receive a rating. My college band is almost 250 people, and in college, there isn't really competitions because Saturdays are for football games.
I walked in on the first day of band camp with my roommate and was immediately overwhelmed by just how many people were in a fairly small space. I had spent not even five minutes there, and I just wanted my mom back so she could take me home and I could go pretend I wasn't an adult and I didn't have to make all these decisions for myself. Every person who introduced themselves was a blur in the crowd, and I know I wouldn't have remembered anyone if we didn't all have name tags on.
The first day was... rough, to say the least. I was the only person from my high school there, and I'm painfully shy and awkward, so I didn't really talk to anyone besides my roommate, and that was only the second time I'd ever met her in person. I was in a new town, I'd moved in less than a day ago, and it was my first day really on my own. We went and got lunch, and then had our first rehearsal, and it was so much more intense than I remembered band camp being.
Right off the bat, we started playing music at what felt like a fast pace to me, because I hadn't had much time to practice all summer. I went to dinner feeling frustrated because I wanted to make friends, but I felt so awkward and out of place that I didn't even know where to start. After a day or two, I did befriend a lot of really awesome people, and I'm certain we'll have a lot of memories by the end of our season in three months.
College is scary, I'll be upfront about that. The week before I left, just thinking about college made me sick. I spent my last summer before "becoming a real adult" worried I was missing out on being a kid for the last time because I worked so much, and mine was about two weeks shorter than most people's because of camp. I've had some solid cries in the past month; some are legit and some are just because school is hard when you're over two hours away from your mom and sometimes all you want is a hug from her.
To anyone who worries about fitting in because your high school band was a different style than the college band you just joined, stylistically there will probably be some differences, but at the end of the day, you're still in a group of amazing musicians who are big enough nerds that they chose to keep doing band after getting those fine arts credit hours. Your section stereotypes if anything become more accurate (frightening, I know), and you'll make some of the closest friends you can have going into the next chapter of your life.