Welcome to some of the most thrilling, challenging, and amazingly beautiful times of your life thus far: high school. More importantly, welcome to the most gratifying journey of your life: high school band. You're going to have your share of rough days and hardship, but I can promise you some of the most rewarding times of your life.
I promise that one of the first thoughts that will cross your mind during band camp is that you can't do it. There's no way your brain can wrap your mind around the drill, music, and the thought of putting it all together scares you. Trust me when I tell you, you're going to be able to do it. It's not something that happens overnight, but I promise that you will surprise yourself one day and you'll laugh at your negative thoughts. It all comes with the hard work, dedication, and pride you and your band mates put into your craft. I promise that there will be people looking after you and they will help you in any way they can.
Then high school will actually start, and as a freshman, you'll already have so many amazing friends! You spent the last half of your summer with some of the most intelligent and amazing people; your friends from middle school will be jealous that you have someone to say hi to in the hall and have lunch with on the first day. You'll come to appreciate this when everything else in high school outside of band becomes overwhelming.
You'll learn plenty of core values while you're on the field and doing high school, and you probably won't notice them until later. You'll learn the appreciation of delayed gratification, the fulfillment of putting your all into something you enjoy, time management, and hopefully a spark of passion and motivation. There will be so many values that you learn from marching band that you will carry with you for the rest of your life, not necessarily because you want those things with you, but because they were instilled into your being. It will give you the smiles and nostalgia of marching band later.
Then games will start to pick up. Football games are very enjoyable. You and your band mates will have so much fun in the stands and you will be the focal point of motivation for the game. The rush you'll feel when the crowd gets into it is incredible.
Half time performances: don't take them for granted. I honestly don't remember my first half time performance because I was so nervous. I can't even tell you how I managed to get through the show to be honest. But it's moments like this that make you thankful for the endless hours of practice and encouragement from your directors and band mates. These are your ride or dies of high school, and you'll find that you can't make it without them.
Competitions on the other hand, are a little more centered. You are focused, alert, and prepared to put on a great show for the crowd. You will have so much fun doing what you love with the people that have become family in a few short months. You'll see what all the rehearsals, run throughs, half time shows, and many laps around the field are for. You'll see the purpose of this activity and you'll feel the fulfillment in your heart regardless of how the scores turn out (it's never about winning). I can't put the abundance of emotions into words, but you'll understand exactly what I'm talking about in due time.
If there's one piece of advice I can leave you with, it's never take this adventure for granted. Accept every challenge, embrace every learning opportunity, and hold the memories close because your rehearsals are numbered. Before you know it, it will be your senior year and you just marched off the field where you just performed for the last time. It goes by so fast, and while you will have those hard days, the good will definitely outweigh the bad.
So, as you endure your first band camp, put your best foot forward, and it will all pay off. I promise.
The Alum That Wishes She Can Have Just One More Season