Starting My Final Year With My Marching Band Family

Starting My Final Year With My Marching Band Family

There's a bittersweet feeling when you enter your last year as a member of The Pride of West Virginia.

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For as long as I can remember, band has been a huge part of my life. I started playing the clarinet in fifth grade and grew to love everything about it. I loved the sound that it made. I loved being able to play and read music. I even loved to be able to say that I was in the band and that I played an instrument. As I grew older, I started to learn more and more instruments. Before I knew it, I could play seven different instruments. With the wide variety of instruments that I could play, I found myself able to participate in a wide variety of ensembles throughout my school years. I was in concert bands, wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, and marching bands. I loved each and every ensemble, but one has always stuck out to me and has truly changed my life: Marching band.

When I first started in the fifth grade, I was only able to be part of a concert band. Where I went to school, band started in fifth grade, but marching band didn't start until seventh grade. I couldn't wait for the day I was able to wear a marching band uniform and attend band camp. In my fifth grade mind, I felt like that day would never come. Finally, that day came and the thing that I had waited two years to be part of was finally here. At first, I was nervous. I had imagined everything about what marching band would be like. I was scared because I wanted marching band to live up to my imagination. I was so happy to discover that it was everything and more.

Now, after 12 years of band, I find myself entering my 10th and final band camp. It couldn't be more bittersweet. I had expected my marching band career to end with high school. I never imagined that I would find myself as a member of a college marching band, let alone the amazing Pride of West Virginia.

I remember the day of my audition so well. My mom woke me up at seven in the morning, telling me to get up for my audition. I thought she was crazy. I wasn't prepared, nor did I have an audition piece to take with me for my audition. My mom sent me to Fawley's Music store, and as I left, she told me that she knew I would be great and that I would be able to be part of the band I had only ever imagined.

I got to Fawley's and searched for half an hour until, finally, I settled on a book with music from "Phantom of the Opera". I choose "Angel of Music" because it was my favorite song from "Phantom." Its melodic tone was so different from the other assigned pieces that I knew it would be perfect to show versatility. As it came time for my audition, I waited in the hallway until an audition room was open. Lucky for me, I got the drum major that was also a theater major to audition me.

After my audition, I felt OK. Next came the hard part: Waiting. Weeks went on and I began to think that I didn't make it into the band... Until I finally received my letter. I was officially a member of the clarinet section in the Pride of West Virginia–the band that I watched and loved since I was a little girl. I couldn't believe it. It was like a dream come true.

The Pride became like a family to me and for the past three years, it has meant so much to me. It has given me opportunities to do so many once-in-a-lifetime things. We marched in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and at the Magic Kingdom in Disney. Now, as I get ready to enter my fourth and last year with the band, I look back at all of the things the band has taught me and experiences it's given me. Band has truly changed my life for the better.

If it wasn't for the love, support, and motivation from my mom, I would have never become part of this amazing band. I am so grateful for her. I cannot wait until she and my dad get to watch me at each game, doing the thing that I love with people that are special and talented and love the band just as much as I do. I look forward to this final season and even though I am sad that this chapter of my life is closing, I am so grateful for the memories.

For one last season, I get to join the Pride of West Virginia the Mountaineer Marching Band as they bring on and support our West Virginia University Mountaineers.

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.
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Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.


2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.


4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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