This past weekend I completed my eighth and final year of marching band. We performed in the Hershey Park Stadium on a lovely, unusually warm, November afternoon. This final performance was a long time coming and leading up to it, my fellow band members would come up to me and ask, “aren’t you sad?” This has been happening all season, where suddenly we would remember that this was our final chance to perform in a marching band, and we would all think about how sad it would be for it to be over, but I’m not sad.
Don’t get me wrong, marching band has always been one of my most favorite activities. I love performing and the music, but most importantly I love the people I met. When I first came to Shippensburg University, I was the only freshman to join the flute section. It was incredibly lonely, and at times I did not feel like I belonged. I was alone. However, throughout that year, I reached out to other freshmen in other sections, and we became good friends. This rag-tag group was my saving grace and welcomed me into the world of college. We began to spend our days together, wondering around campus, wasting our flex on snacks at Big Red’s Snack Shack or just hanging out in our dorm rooms watching reality TV and sharing our life stories.
I can safely say that the only reason I am anywhere at this college is because of the friends I made as a freshman. I watched them try new activities or join different clubs and they encouraged me and gave me the strength to try new things as well. I am forever grateful for that group that pulled me up and made me feel like I was part of something special.
Now, three years later, that friend group has grown apart. But I know that we will always have each other and those memories. Sometimes we catch up and chat in class or in the CUB, sometimes they come over and hang out just like they always did. I am not sad about my time ending at the Shippensburg University Marching Band, I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to meet the people I did, who helped shape me into the person I am today.
So, when people ask me if I am sad about my marching career coming to an end, I maintain that I am not. I will always look back on the past eight years of my life with fond memories and with nothing but pride in what I was able to accomplish. One thing that I will always know for sure, is that the band never loses.