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.