Friday nights used to be reserved for football games. Summertime meant practicing for hours on end to make sure we had every move and every note just right. For me, marching band wasn’t just an activity to pass the time in high school, it became a part of me and heavily contributed to me being the person I am today. Little did I know at the time that being involved in marching band would teach me incredibly valuable lessons that helped me be a better sorority woman. Many can probably say this for any sport or team involvement, but here’s how marching band helped me.
1. “We” not “I” Mentality
Up until this point in my life, I thought I understood what this meant. But through my experiences in marching band for over three years, I learned that it’s not about me at all. It’s about us! Even if I was having the best day ever and hitting every note and every step, that didn’t mean we were succeeding. In order for us to succeed, everyone had to be on the same page. There were days that I would be frustrated when my peers kept making mistakes, but then there were days that I was the one making errors.
As a sorority woman, there might be times when you feel frustrated because goals for grades aren’t met, financial standings are not where they need to be, and attendance at events is low. This is when it’s vital to realize that the best thing that you can do is help and support other women rather than be angry or upset at them for making errors. The best thing I could do out on the field was help a fellow band member with what they were struggling with. Sometimes you won’t always be able to, but you can take advantage of it because a sorority isn’t one person being on point, it’s a collective effort of many women who embody the values our founders continue to instill in us.
2. Time Commitment
Marching band was my first taste of what it meant to really devote a significant amount of time to a group. Practices every other day for hours at a time, Friday night football games, Saturday competitions, practice throughout the summertime. It was a lot. I knew when I joined though that it would require much more than just a weekly meeting.
The same thing applies to involvement in a sorority. There are meetings, events and socials all throughout the academic year. It’s a big time commitment, but it’s a choice. No one told me I had to join marching band. No one told me I had to join a sorority. It was a decision I came to because I saw the bigger picture. Will this take a lot of time? Yes. Will it require me to make some sacrifices? Yes. Will it be absolutely worth it? Without a doubt! I do not regret joining either group at all. Being committed to something that you love and value had endless personal reward and benefits. The skills I’ve gained and the friends I have made are all just incredible reasons why committing your time and energy to something you love is important.
3. You Don’t Have to Like Everyone
Talking about friends, in marching band you spend a lot of time with your fellow band members. This is great because the group really becomes like a family. However, this taught me that not everyone will like you and you may not like everyone, and that’s okay. My junior and senior year of high school I was an officer for marching band. This was a great way for me to develop as a leader, but it also meant that I couldn’t goof around and let things slide. I had to follow procedures (much like my time as executive vice president in college). That meant sometimes having difficult conversations and having to separate personal matters and business matters.
What was important wasn’t that we all liked each other, but that we had respect for one another. We had a purpose, a mission to live, and being “best friends” wasn’t always on the menu. There were definitely bonds and connections made, and I am happy to say that I am still friends and still connected to many that I marched with. The same applies to life as a sorority woman. You come into a a whole group of women who are your sisters, and much like a real family, you may not always get along. That’s okay! It’s a matter of having respect for one another and realizing you are a part of something bigger. You have a purpose and a mission to live out, too.
I love connecting with sisters who were in marching band and color guard and sharing similar stories. It’s an incredible thing to be a part of, and it stays with you forever. I am constantly grateful for the lessons it taught me and it has greatly helped me in life. Feel free to reach out and connect with me! I would love to hear from others!