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Published:April 23rd, 2007 04:10 EST
College Expectations and Life - Are they the same?

College Expectations and Life - Are they the same?

By Tristan Mack

I came to college with the same expectations that most of us arriving at this juncture do; to never attend classes I don’t have to, to cram every exam and term paper into one night of caffeinated agony, and to party like its 1999 all the while still graduating on time with that perfect GPA I never got in high school.

What I didn’t expect to find was a new group of people that, for the past four years of my college career, have served as a second family whenever I needed it.  Being in band taught me more than many of the classes I was required to take here did.  In a way, I grew up with these people, and I will be leaving with many of them in the coming weeks as well. 

Suffice to say, I am a band geek.  I still can play pre-game music by heart and hearing the band play will one day bring a tear to my eye when I realize I am merely a spectator now.  I have spent thousands of hours with these people, practicing, performing, telling stories on bus rides in the middle of the night and cheering on football and basketball teams alike all the while being a part of the Pride of West Virginia.   

These experiences taught me that, when it comes down to it, I will schedule band before anything else, much to the dismay of my advisors.  I’ve also learned that 5 flats in a piece sucks, all the pre-game songs we play really do have words to them, and that I would never trade the experiences in this band for anything else.   

Albeit, this sounds somewhat corny in a Hollywood clichéd sort of way, but it is true.  Being a part of this group has allowed me to do things I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.  I have been to wins against Virginia Tech, the last time fans rushed the field, the triple OT game against Louisville, our BCS Sugar Bowl victory against Georgia along with three other bowl trips, two NCAA Basketball trips, one NIT tournament and championship, two Big East Tournaments, and hundreds of other performances in my time here.

Along the road to these places, I also met my best friends.  Without this experience, chances are, I wouldn’t have met any of these people.  I would have been forced to look elsewhere, in places such as the journalism school or join some kind of group or cult on campus to make friends.  My life would be different.  I would be different, which makes the whole experience seem bigger than I ever thought it was.

The last 12 years of my life have been spent in band, and those days are now numbered to a mere few weeks, as graduation looms over my head like a thunder cloud waiting to rain down on me. 

In three weeks I will no longer be a student of this campus, but a student of the world, attempting to make a niche for myself in the world out there.  Band will be something of the past, and I will join the alumni band every year for homecoming to reminisce with old friends and recapture the glory of my youth.  I will grow older, but I will always remember the days I spent on that concrete field, practicing drill and learning pre-game for the first time; where I first heard the alma-mater, sung by a group of travel weary wonderers, exhausted with the work behind us, but looking forward to the future ahead.