This weekend has made me come to appreciate the journey and all that has brought me to this point in life. (I mean, nothing beats getting up at 2:30 a.m. to prep for 4:30 a.m. departure to Los Angeles, right?) Coming into a two-year Master’s program my goal was to get involved and to experience life at UNLV. I wanted to work with students and still challenge myself as a student. Joining the Star of Nevada and being accepted as the Feature Twirler has a dream come true. I have gotten the chance to become a member of the UNLV community. I have met undergrad and graduate students from all colleges, and I have found a place I can call home. Despite the early morning practices and the traditional push-up challenge for every touchdown, I am humble and proud to be a bandie.
This past weekend in particular made this love of band even stronger. Traveling to UCLA for our second football game of the season was a great chance to talk with people I have never met before. Even though our band is pretty small with just over 100 members, getting to know everyone individually is tough. I met folks who say they are, “Nevada, born and raised”, and I met with others who came to UNLV in search of a switch from their hometown. What I realized from these conversations was that UNLV is certainly not “yoU Never Leave Vegas”, it is the contrary. UNLV has given everyone the chance to explore their interests, travel, and to consider the once unimagined. Marching band is but one of these avenues for people to connect and explore their passion of music.
For me, this trip held special significance. Six years ago I stood outside of the Rose Bowl prepping with my high school marching band for Band Fest and the 121st Tournament of Roses parade. Performing at the Rose Bowl was set as my vision for collegiate twirling. What I came to realize during the game was that this single half-time performance was not the destination, but a benchmark of the journey. I have made the effort to continue pushing myself to new heights in a sport I love over the past six years and I succeeded in become a division one twirler. Most importantly though, we took the field with greater confidence than we had during August band camp and we kicked brass during “Cupid Shuffle”.
I hope to share this experience with other (graduate) students as a message that it is never too late to get involved or to follow your passion. Remember that there is always something else after the destination and you can always push yourself to achieve more than you ever imagined. May we all take the time to appreciate how far we have come, the people who have inspired us and gotten us here, and may we continue to change the world.