Disorientation after Graduation

Graduation?  Check.
Moving to Arizona?  That was next on my to-do list.

As the traditional craze of graduation finally died down, the reality that I was moving across the country crept up on me.  Back at home there was a thirty-inch bag that I would be living out of soon enough, and after the milestone of graduation passed, that was what I had to look forward to.  The excitement I had always associated with drum corps wasn’t what I felt the night of May 27, 2016.

“Recently there has been a very large margin between nervousness and excitement about drum corps.  Nervousness being about ninety-nine percent of my emotions, excitement the last one percent,”  I wrote in my journal the day after graduation when I flew to Arizona.  I had no idea how to pack, how to feel, or what to expect.  The apprehension I felt was something I couldn’t act upon, because in drum corps it’s easy to let outside factors affect performance levels, but the journey is in overcoming them.  No matter the weather (it was a toasty ninety-five degrees that day) or how much sleep you get, 100% effort is the minimum.

My first day of spring training was as I had imagined it- rehearsal blocks lasting four hours in the hot sun.  But the physical exhaustion is a quality that I very vaguely remember.  I do, however, recall being extremely overwhelmed on my first day.

“The feeling that I’m actually going to do this hit me after I sat down in my seat at graduation last night after I got my diploma, and I barely even cared because all I could think about was moving here.”  The anticipation I had kept bottled up finally ceased upon my arrival at Campo Verde High School and was replaced with unfamiliarity.  No longer was I surrounded by southern folk, high school alumni, or friends I had known for years.  I was thrown into a pool of 150 people whom I had almost no prior relations with.  I was the only member from Arkansas and had some of the least amount of experience.  I had no family within hundreds of miles, and I was expected to perform at the same level and everyone else around me.  I was emotionally drained, and it had only begun.

I felt I didn’t belong there.  Not only was I from a different part of the country (my accent proved it-members made sure to mess with me about it), but I still felt that I wasn’t good enough.  How did I make it that far?  I had to constantly remind myself of the tireless hours I had to spend to get to that dusty field in Arizona.  I practiced three hours a day on average, and I submitted extra footage to prove I wanted to get better.  I asked questions and emailed numbers staff members with extra videos to critique.  I had all of this information at my disposal, and I had to seize it.  I wanted to get better, and I couldn’t let the separation from home stand in the way.  My contract was something I earned, and it was time to reap the benefits.

“…I can only think of what this summer will be like- I can only paint my own picture and have my own disposition of what will happen…”  And that statement could not have been more true.  Never could I have imagined the memories I made in the upcoming three months.



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