A Note For Band Kids

A Note For Band Kids

We Aren't (all) Nerds
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You were always still at practice by the time it was dark outside, you showcased your skills at every Friday night football game, and you made a ton of new friends along the way. No, you weren’t on the school’s football team: You were part of the band.

Day in and day out you practiced marching and playing. You tested every note over and over again to make sure you got it just right. You tossed your flag and rifle repeatedly until your catches became solid and consistent. You spent hours running around in the blazing heat working from set to set, just to hear “One more time!” being yelled by the directors. Your captains and section leaders scolded you for slacking (which made you want to be even better). The band director never seemed to notice when you did something right, only when you screwed something up, and sometimes it got so bad that you wanted to quit.

Be better. Keep your feet in time. Spin together. Play louder. Make your sets. These are the things you heard a million times, and you wondered if the show was ever going to look decent. But you persisted. And you pushed others to be their best as well as yourself. And the goals for the group were set out from the very start: be the best. And the idea of winning at the end of the season made your heart race and nudged you to work harder.

After being in band for a few years, I’ve come to learn that all of these things were worth the pain and trouble. Being in band made me a better performer. More importantly, it made me be a better person. And this was only due to the amazing people I met along the way.

Thank your band director. Thank them for pushing you. Thank them for goofing off and telling jokes that didn’t make any sense. Thank them for yelling at you when you were wrong and for congratulating you when you were right. Thank your band director for all the times he asked, “How are you?” when you seemed a little down. Thank them for all the opportunities he gave you, whether you knew it or not.

Thank your instructor. Thank them for teaching you everything you know. Thank them for realizing your potential and pushing you to be your best. Thank them for the advice they gave you when you needed it and the advice they gave you when you didn’t. Thank them for laughing at your silly jokes and for understanding when you had a bad day. Thank them for being your friend as well as your teacher.

Thank your section leader. Be grateful for all the times they made you redo the work or replay the song just so the entire group could be better. Thank them for guiding you and for picking you up when you were down. Thank them for taking responsibility (even when it wasn’t their fault), and thank them for the knowledge they passed on to you.

Thank your entire section. Thank your section for all the bus rides and football games. Thank them for working as a unit instead of as individuals and for always allowing a little friendly competition. Thank them for being your friends when you needed them most.

Thank your mom and dad. Thank them for coming to your performances, even if it meant sitting on the hard bleachers, rain or shine. Thank them for buying your instrument and equipment and sacrificing their own needs to suit yours. Thank them for crying every time you caught your toss and thank them for crying with you when you didn’t. Thank your parents for being your number one supporters.

Thank yourself. Thank yourself for not giving up. Thank yourself for pushing harder with each run through. Thank yourself for never handing out blame, but instead taking responsibility. Thank yourself for joining such a great organization.

Band has taught me many things. I learned how to be a leader, a friend, a perfectionist, a jokester, a therapist, a performer, and much more. I learned that working as a group to become better was more important than telling others what to do. I learned to take criticism and to give it. I learned to cry and to laugh and that making mistakes is not the end of the world. I realized “One more time” never actually means “one more time” and how a singular person can make a difference.

No matter how hard you were pushed or how many losses you faced, you loved every minute of being in band, and you wouldn’t change a thing.

P.S. I am sending a personal thanks to my high school band director and guard instructor. Both of whom have made me the person I am today, and for that, I am forever grateful. Thank you for being my mentors and my friends.

Cover Image Credit: Mike Caswell

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The Top 3 Lifestyle Changes I Made In College

The mistakes I corrected which stood between me and satisfaction.

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2019 has been a year of unparalleled growth for me. In 2018 I could have said the same. I spent extended periods of time analyzing the factors of my life which left me, in some ways, feeling unfulfilled. Here are the top 3 lifestyle changes that I made in college which left me feeling happier than ever.

1. Cut out the toxic people. 

A house is worthless without a solid foundation. The people which you call your friends are largely the foundation for your confidence and social life. Sometimes, we recognize that these people are overall anchors on our psyche; condescending narcissists whose confidence rests on making others feel inadequate. The first step to building self-confidence is to get these people out of your life immediately. Once you solidify this foundation, you will soon realize how pitiful these people are, and growth you had been capable of without them.

2. Do you even lift?

Not only has my physical condition improved from going to the gym, so has my mental strength. As my physical form has improved, my confidence has risen. We have spent millions of years evolving to physically exert ourselves. Our modern lifestyle has left many of us without this crucial key to endorphins and proper brain chemistry; a factor which has promoted never before seen rates of depression and anxiety. Lifting weights have left me feeling better than I can remember, with endorphins and testosterone at an all-time high.

For years, I either avoided the gym or found excuses to stop. The reason I never committed to fitness was largely a lack of interest in self-betterment, but also a feeling of cluelessness in the subject. I recommend utilizing the "Beginner's Health and Fitness Guide" linked here. This guide breaks down fitness in an incredibly easy to understand way. This information is not published by someone trying to sell you something. It was written by input from numerous online fitness enthusiasts and refined for accuracy as well as simplicity. This guide has helped me and many others in online communities start down the road to improved physical and mental health through fitness.

3. Do as much as possible, even when you don't feel like it. 


I squandered years of my short life secluding myself to a comfort bubble. While in college, I have realized that happiness largely rests on occupying yourself with new and real experiences as frequently as possible. Time which would have previously been wasted on my phone, the television, or playing online games was shifted to trying new things. As often as possible, I have pushed myself to undertake activities such as learning to snowboard, grabbing food with people from college whom I had just met, going hiking with strangers and our mutual friend, traveling solo, etc. Pushing myself further from my comfort bubble every day has been exceptionally conducive to not only living life to a greater degree but also decreasing the anxieties which we all experience.


What can you fix in your current life to build the lifestyle you dream of?





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