I Quit College Marching Band After A Month And I Don't Regret It

I Quit College Marching Band After A Month And I Don't Regret It

Once a band kid, always a band kid?

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I'd always wanted to be a band kid. My mom had played the clarinet from middle school until she graduated college, and my older brother had also joined the band by that time, so of course, I wanted to do this cool thing too. Music has always been a passion for me, and I loved it so much I picked up a second instrument and committed to taking music lessons for my last two years of high school. Once I had become a freshman at my high school, I joined the marching band. Marching band gave me an incredible group of friends who I'm still close with now and a lot of memories I don't think I'd be able to forget even if I tried. So when I committed to the University of Cincinnati, it felt only natural to register for the marching band. After all, how different could it be?

To my surprise, very different.

I remember walking in on the first day of band camp and just being overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in this band. In high school, I had known every single person in my band, and could probably tell you some odd fact about them too. If I'm being honest, I didn't even remember all of the freshmen in my section alone names' until two and a half weeks into my four-week escapade with the marching band. Everything was new and different, and not in a good way. I was so overwhelmed with it, combined with having moved a hundred miles away from everyone I knew, and starting my first year of college, that I kind of just stopped being able to function. I'd call my mom every day, or every other day, and just cry because I was miserable and didn't know what to do. In the end, I felt bad about it, but I decided to drop marching band.

I didn't expect just how much time college band would take up, and the atmosphere was so different from what I expected that I was deeply unhappy with how I was spending my first few months of college. Freshman year was supposed to be about discovering myself and finding out what I was really passionate about; instead, my life only revolved around class, band, and sleep. I really enjoyed being with the people in my section, but by the end of the day, I was so wiped out that the last thing I wanted to do was go out and socialize more, especially when I was aware of the mountain of homework I'd have when I got back.

I still remember walking out of my advising meeting the day I dropped marching band, and it felt like I'd just had a massive weight lifted off of my shoulders. That was how I knew I'd made the right decision. I've gone to a couple of the football games, and while it is a little bittersweet to see my friends on the field performing and knowing I could have been there with them, I know my life has been better without it.

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Why Nursing School Friends Are So Vital

Pun intended.

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When I started nursing school, I knew it would be difficult. I wasn't naive. I heard the stories. I knew what I was getting into…to a certain degree.

It was everything I thought it would be and more. The highs were higher and the lows were lower. The thing you realize quickly in nursing is that it's not something you can achieve on your own. You have to have a support system. It's how you survive. It can feel like you're on your own because you have to perform the skills and make the grades, but really, there are so many friends standing behind you pushing you through.

I've seen it over and over again. I've been a part of it, witnessed it and had help myself. The truth is, even the most intelligent students need help in some sort of way. It might be hard to realize it when you're so inwardly focused, but when you look around you, everyone is walking the same path. They just have different strengths and weaknesses. It's an incredible thing when others use their personal strengths to offset your weaknesses. Nursing friends see in you what you don't see in yourself. Nursing friends share your passions, sleepless nights, early mornings, stress, panic attacks, victories, and failures. Nursing friends are your own personal cheerleaders.

It's no secret that we deal with some pretty gross stuff. Who else can you count on when you're walking down the unit trying to find an extra pair of hands to help you change the clothes of a morbidly obese patient who's covered from shoulders to ankles in their stool? Your nursing buds.

What about when your patient goes into v-fib (ventricular fibrillation), and you need someone to relief on chest compressions? Your rock star nurse friends are there to lend a hand or two.

Or what about when you are scrubbing into a C-section for the first time and you're kind of, sort of, secretly concerned you might get queasy or faint? Your nursing squad will remind you how tough you are. They'll assist you as quickly as possible and when you are finished washing your hands a thousand times, they'll make you laugh or smile. They'll always be there to help you with dignity, support, love, and encouragement.

Your nursing friends know which supply closet you go hide in when you are about to lose it or when class is so long it's giving you a headache so they pass you some Tylenol. Nursing friends are the backbone of your nursing school experience. I always love it that whenever I need hand sanitizer, Tylenol/Advil/Motrin or even a Band-Aid, someone always has it.

Even if you don't talk every day, or you take different class times, there is always someone waving hello or asking how you're holding up. You are all so different, but at the same time, you feel like you're surrounded by so many who are just like you. They care as much as you do. They love as much as you do. And the best part? They just love you. Even on your worst days. There will be times when you trip up on the easy stuff you know that you know, but they'll be there with open arms telling you about when they were in the same place. They are the ones who “fight in the trenches" with you. They'll carry you when you can't keep going, and you'll do the same. No woman or man left behind.

Nursing friends are incredible lifelong blessings. So, remember to thank them every once in a while. Keep cheering each other on, keep fighting together and keep reminding each other that the end goal is closer than it seems.

Cover Image Credit: Maddy Cagle

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To The College Girl Who Doesn't Know Where She Fits In

I'm right there with you, but we will find our place. I promise.

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Finding my place in this great big world hasn't been easy in the slightest. In fact, I am still growing and trying to see where exactly I belong. Coming to college seemed like it would be the perfect time to discover where I fit in, but it's still extremely difficult to find my place. With everything being on my time now, it's hard to find the groups, organizations, or friends that I mesh with the most. While I have friends, both old and new, part of me still doesn't see the bigger picture. Where do I truly fit in?

To you, the person reading this who may feel the exact same way, this is normal.

Not knowing exactly which direction your life is going toward, on top of feeling like you don't quite fit in anywhere yet, sucks to no end. I never really understood why people expressed feeling so lonely in college, but the truth is that it does happen. More time on your hands leads to more time alone with your thoughts, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Sometimes you really just want to be home because at least you fit in there. Sometimes you just want to be alone in your room because it feels better that way. Sometimes you feel so alone surrounded by so many loving people who care about you. And that's okay. You're allowed to feel, but don't let those feelings dictate everything you do. Don't fall victim to your thoughts, don't let the loneliness swallow you whole. Because you're not alone.

You don't have to find your place right away. Give it time and I swear it will happen.

I'm a firm believer that everything falls into place just as it should. Not knowing how things are going to work out is scary at times, but it always happens for the best. Go looking for things that interest you, do what makes you incredibly happy, and live without regret. People who see the light in your heart will radiate toward you. We will find our place, and we will look back and wonder why we ever spent so much time worrying about where we fit in. Open your mind to new opportunities and allow yourself to let others in. You have so much talent and worth to offer the world, and it's only a matter of time before you find that one group that recognizes what you have to give.

Express yourself to someone, anyone. I promise there is at least one person willing to listen.

Let people in. Talking out your emotions and thoughts truly does wonders and will help you feel a million times better. It could be a stranger, friend, relative, anyone you think will listen. Let them know that you don't feel as though you have a place in your new surroundings yet. Confessing your worries doesn't make you weak, it shows your strength. Becoming part of something new is scary yet exciting, so it's okay to be slightly worried about the unknown. Trial and error is a good test for most things, so allow yourself a chance to test the waters.

I know not feeling part of anything is brutal on your mental state right now, but I promise there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to open your heart to new experiences.

Sincerely,

The girl who's in the exact same boat.

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