Madeleine Hanna and Jackie Stacey’s Discourses on Feminism

After reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides and reading the Gender and Sexuality section of our textbook, I feel as though Jackie Stacey’s arguments on escapism, identification, and consumption play an important role in Madeleine’s life. While Stacey argues on how these factors play an important role in why women go to the cinema, I also feel as though these factors can be seen through Madeleine, a graduate who majored in English. There were a few key events that stuck out to me while reading that seemed to correspond with these ideas.

One of the discourses Stacey claims to be a huge factor is escapism. Escapism, in The Marriage Plot, can be seen in a few ways by watching Madeleine. As an example, we can see how Madeleine uses Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse as a way of escapism. In one section of the book, she uses it as a way to escape her feelings about Leonard, yet the book forces her to face those feelings instead despite her trying to do the opposite. If we look on page 49, we can see how the scene is set with her trying to enjoy a typical college student’s night in by reading yet finds “a sign that she wasn’t alone” (Eugenides 49) within her book. She, after reading, realizes that what she had read “had to do with Leonard” (Eugenides 49), which defeats the purpose of her trying to escape her own thoughts.

However, escapism is also shown through her own relationship with Leonard. Madeleine hadn’t been as excited as her peers to graduate since her breakup with Leonard. Once she finds out from Auerbach about Leonard being in the hospital for his mental health, she uses Leonard as a way to escape her own graduation. One could argue that it was because she cares for Leonard and misses him, which is true. However, taking into account that she wasn’t thrilled to be around her parents and Mitchell also struck some chords with her earlier, one can see why she would take Leonard’s hospitalization as a way to escape her own graduation. Madeleine also uses Leonard in another way to escape.

Rather than just simply using him to escape her own graduation, Madeleine used Leonard to escape the reality of her life: she was a college graduate who was denied access to the Yale Graduate Program in English and didn’t have a job. To be specific, “neither of them had a job” (Eugenides 170), which left Madeleine to nurse Leonard back to health and escape the realities of her life even further. By Madeleine nursing him back to his former self, Madeleine shows the second discourse of Stacey’s theory, which is identification.

According to Stacey, identification can occur when women “become complicit in their own oppression” (Storey 156). Madeleine, as a woman, went and got herself a higher education and even a college degree yet is being a doting housewife for her boyfriend Leonard. While staying at his place, Madeleine gets to a point where she is “unable to bear with the filth any longer” (Eugenides 167) and cleans his entire place and even puts up new curtains and sheets. She’s even allowed to water his ficus tree which, earlier, Leonard had put up a fight about. Madeleine conforming to what is the typical doting housewife shows the idea of identification has developed in her, since she seems content with the standard “womanly duties” of taking care of the house and “having her big Saint Bernard all to herself” (Eugenides 170).

The last discourse Stacey mentions is consumption, which analyzes exactly what the modern woman takes in and how that affects her through a feminist perspective. Throughout the novel, we see Madeleine describe what type of man she refuses to date. For example, “Madeleine made a point of going out only with guys who liked their parents” (Eugenides 52) and how she doesn’t date guys who have any sort of mental illness. Madeleine also mentions how “guys weren’t supposed to be the talkers” (Eugenides 63) which really made me as a reader realized how accustomed she had gotten to what her expectations for men were. She seemed so hesitant in the beginning because of this; because her only consumption with men had been the complete opposite of Leonard. By breaking that “Hannesque” consumption of partners, I find that Madeleine had taken her first steps into becoming who she truly was outside of her parents’ expectations and society’s expectations of her.

To sum everything up, I find that taking Jackie Stacey’s theory on discourses in cinematics and applying it to the life of fictional Madeleine Hanna can explain more of who exactly Madeleine is as a character and as a concept. We can see how she develops as a character even from the beginning through baby steps as she breaks out of the cookie cutter woman that is expected of her and into an educated young woman who isn’t afraid to step outside of her comfort zone. She shows examples of Stacey’s discourses of escapism, identification, and consumption throughout the novel, even in her early pages.

A Secret History by Donna Tartt – A Psychoanalytical Approach

The Secret History by Donna Tartt is a mind-boggling novel about 6 students studying Greek at a college in Vermont where two of the students actually die. There is a lot going on from a mental standpoint in these characters, which Freud’s theory can help with. Despite how horrific the events that happen are, a psychoanalytical approach to the novel allows the reader to really understand the characters presented because it helps one to see into the mind of the characters. The best place to start analyzing would be around the end of chapter 4.

Henry, Francis, and the twins performed a bacchanal party where they went into a “Dionysiac frenzy” (Tartt, 163) and Henry admitted to killing someone after Richard guessed at it. As for why, Henry says that being able “to escape the cognitive mode of experience, to transcend the accident of one’s moment of being” (Tartt, 164) was good enough to attempt the endeavor. Using Freud’s theory, one can asses that this “obsess[ion] with the idea” (Tartt, 164) could potentially be due to an unconscious desire to perform the deed. Henry, throughout the novel, is a quiet gentleman that Richard seems to be able to read well. Given that information of his character, it seems almost as though Henry would be the last person to partake in such an act, giving the sense that it was an unconscious desire that even Henry did not know about.

The novel also contains a good amount of foreshadowing to Henry’s admission of killing someone. Throughout the novel, Richard remarks about how certain things would make sense in the future and how “it is easy to see things in retrospect” (Tartt, 93). This leads one to see how Richard may have repressed some of the events he witnessed. He never quite dwelled on anything until the admission. He would dismiss the events indifferently but his future self would mention how he had wished he knew what was to come. With how fond of the group Richard was, it isn’t difficult to understand why he may have repressed anything questionable or why he tried to keep himself out of issues, such as when Richard witnessed Julian and Henry talking discretely and Richard decided to leave and never mention it (Tartt, 71-72).

Talking about the killing of the man during the bacchanal, Henry discusses how “duality ceases to exist; there is no ego, no ‘I’” (Tartt, 167). In regards to ego, Freud describes it as the way we, as humanity, are most tied down to reality. With Henry’s apparent lack of ego in that moment, it raises the question of how we could even begin to function without ego. In accordance with Henry, we could lose all sense of morals and realities of the world and people around us. Henry describes that losing ego and himself altogether was “like being a baby” (Tartt, 167), which would confirm that it would be like having no moral compass whatsoever.

With all of this in mind, there was really none of the defense mechanisms Freud describes in either Henry, Francis or the twins regarding the bacchanal. All four of them didn’t remember what lead up to the event but very much understood that they had killed a random man somehow. There was no repression or denial of it, except when dealing with Bunny for obvious reasons. None of them presented any projection or displacement of any kind. They simply understood what they had done and didn’t take it out on anyone else. They only wanted to move past it without facing consequences, so they decided to take care of Bunny.

Continuing on with the novel in chapter 5, the group decide to kill Bunny off and stage it as an accident when Bunny begins to blackmail the others. In figuring out how to carry out this plan of killing their friend, Henry’s demeanor begins to change in front of the readers’ eyes. He begins to care less about his own life, which is apparent when Henry mentions how “the more I hear about luxury barges, the less terrible death begins to seem” (Tartt, 235). These subtle things Henry mentions can give the reader a sense of foreshadowing to Henry’s suicide.

Leading up to the suicide was the arrest of Charles for drunk driving. While Richard was attempting to diffuse everything, they started talking about Henry and Richard posed the question of “not why he tells us what to do. But why we always do what he says” (Tartt, 447). It creates the idea that the other characters depend on Henry much more than they let on, especially when Charles can’t come up with a reason why. However, Charles starts to display an example of defense mechanisms onto Henry for why they’re currently in that situation. “I blame every bit of this on him” (Tartt, 447) Charles has said, showing how he has started to use Freud’s defense mechanism of projection.

In conclusion, The Secret History by Donna Tartt displays many instances of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory in regards to the models of the mind and also defense mechanisms. I realize that there are many more just in his psychoanalytic theory along with different theories, but these were the ones I most noticed throughout the novel. It was an overall interesting novel that shows how important the mind and its processes can be in all types of situations.

Claudia Rankine and Her Powerful Poetry

Claudia Rankine is a modern-day poet who sought to advocate the injustice in America done to her fellow African American people. Her poetry in Citizen: An American Lyric is an unusual yet powerful collection since it does not follow any typical poetry devices such as meter, rhyme or formal structure. All of the pieces in this collection flow freely and are compromised in sections that focus on either macroaggressions or microaggressions along with visual images. There in a contrast in language between her examples of microaggressions and macroaggressions, which adds to the impact of her poetry.

In section two of her poetry, Rankine focuses on the macroaggressions against Serena Williams. Serena is a famous black tennis player who had gone through injustices based on her race, which Rankine expresses through her unique poetry style in this section. Within this section is a quote by Zora Neale Hurston which reads “I feel most colored when I am thrown against a white background.” This quote is incredibly significant because it encapsulates the theme of Rankine’s entire collection and is repeated multiple times throughout the collection. This quote expresses what life is truly like“for all black bodies” and allows any race to clearly understand the injustice.

The way that racism works is literally skin deep; Racism makes your skin color and body the only meaningful part of who you are. Rankine even expresses the admiration she had for Serena Williams during a macroaggression on the courts. Rankine identifies the injustice being done and seems even relieved that Serena finally speaks up rather than sit there and accept what is happening to her. Rankine continues to push the recurring idea of black bodies in America in section two of her book.


As offensive as her outburst is,
it is difficult not to applaud her for reacting immediately
to being thrown against a sharp white background. It is
difficult not to applaud her for existing in the moment,
for fighting crazily against the so-called wrongness of her
body’s positioning at the service line.

            On page 35, Rankine includes a photograph of a statue by Nick Cave called Thick Skin. This image’s purpose is to intensify the message she is trying to get across; The image portrays how the statue hides gender, race and class which therefore prevents labeling. By preventing labeling, racism cannot exist in our society yet there is no way to prevent labeling outside of art. It also provides the idea that if there was away to hide our identity, there would be no individuality and we as individuals would lack purpose.

            Serena Williams continued to pursue her dream of tennis even though many people “felt her black body didn’t belong on their court.” Serena’s hardships resulted in quick fixes for the future, including the addition of the Hawkeye. Rankine stated that this new technology “took the seeing away from the beholder”; A phrase which alludes to the common saying“beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Rankine phrases it this way because it takes away some of the power from the umpire and makes it more difficult for outlandish calls to be made against Serena Williams.

Rankine focuses on Serena Williams besides the fact that she is a Black woman but because she is an athlete. Rankine has an understanding that athletes were the ones who were able to break the boundaries of race to become famous and successful, regardless of the color of their skin or the background they are against. Rankine even alludes to the past when Black people were considered property:


While putting forward the arug-
ment that one needs to be white to be truly successful, 
he adds, in an aside, that this might not work for blacks
because if “a n-gger paints a flower it becomes a slavery 
flower, flower de Amistad,” thereby intimating that any
relationship between the white view and the black artist
immediately becomes one between white persons and 
black property.

            Lastly, Rankine includes one last photograph in this Serena Williams section: an image of a famous white tennis player who stuffed her bra and butt with towels to imitate Serena. This photograph describes how the public had wanted a white woman with the same amount of talent as Serena, yet Serena never stopped being her best and being one of the greatest Black women Americans have ever seen. The photograph encapsulates the injusticeSerena has had to face in her career and why she was “traumatized by the aggression” in the sport she loved.

What My Skills and Professional Identity Looks Like

My name is Arianna Lentini. I am an English major who has a minor in professional writing and I am currently working in retail. When working, I tend to focus on my communication skills, organizational skills, and time management skills. I can learn new tasks quickly, communicate effectively, and strive to do tasks to the best of my ability.

After using several of the different transferable skills checklists provided in class, I’ve found that I have several skills such as above average listening skills, organizational skills, adaptability skills, and the ability to work under pressure. While these are only a few of the many skills I’ve found that I have, they seem to be some of the most important skills. All of these important skills can easily be used in any career field I choose to go in with my English degree and can also help me in my courses now.

I’ve spent many months looking for internships on LinkedIn and careers in general. The keywords I typically have used are creative writing, writing, content creator, and social media marketing. Looking for jobs outside of retail, I have noticed that I really need to work on my teamwork skills, which I have been working on throughout my professional writing course. I am a very independent person who loves to work alone, but I recognize that working in a team is typically more effective. That is the largest skill I feel that I need to work on. I also feel that I need much more experience to truly be the best I can be at my given career path.

One of the websites I used to assess myself was located at SkillsYouNeed.com. I discovered that my listenings skills were above average, which means that I am more likely to enjoy more meaningful relationships and are less likely to misunderstand what others are communicating – I don’t just hear what is being said, but bring together the verbal and non-verbal signals to gain an accurate interpretation of other people’s views and opinions.  I also learned that my verbal communication was also above average, which means I normally use appropriate language and know when to talk, and when not to talk.  Having good verbal communication means that I can express yourself well to others – explaining my ideas and opinions in such a way that they are usually understood by others.

However, not all of my scores were as great. My skills in communication in groups was well below average, which means I am not particularly confident about communicating in group situations. I learned that working on my verbal communication and listening skills will help to boost my confidence. My emotional intelligence was simply average, which means that my measure of how well I understand and deal with my emotions and the emotions of others is average. I learned that I should take time to understand and improve my own emotional intelligence since it can help with my personal development and in engaging with those around me.

This exercise also allowed me to understand some of my marketable skills. Some of which were my abilities to think on my feet, set realistic goals, use media to present ideas creatively and keep to a schedule. I also realized that I follow through on plans, handle many tasks at once and get projects done on time. Lastly, I learned that I am adaptable, creative, empathetic, energetic, and well spoken. All of these examples are great when applying for jobs.

River the Rescue

There are many stigmas held against rescue dogs that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Some of the stigmas people may believe is that, rescue dogs can not be trained and will have behavioral issues. Another is that rescue dogs can’t be purebreds. The final, and largest, stigma is that rescue dogs are given up because there is something wrong with them. In reality, most dogs are given up to shelters because of moving, personal issues, no room, financial reasons or even lack of time. Some of the dogs in shelters have lived a hard life and have a rough and abusive past, but that does not mean the dog is “broken”. Take River for example.

River’s Story

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River waiting for treats.

River, a two-year-old Black Mouth Cur mix, was rescued by Jill and Jay Waddell, when she was just six months old. River had gone through some difficult things in her short life. River originally came from an abusive and neglectful situation, spending most of her life in a crate, without any bonds with humans or dogs. When she was rescued from that situation and brought to a shelter, she faced several families who adopted her and then quickly returned her. It can be assumed that it was due to the fact that River needed some extra time and attention.

Jill and Jay met River and ended up adopting her and renamed her River to stick the theme of their previous two dogs named Canoe and Kayak! They were a little wary at first after hearing how families had brought her back, as anyone would be. They soon realized why she had been brought back and started to fit the puzzle pieces of her past together.

River started out pretty aggressive. While she never hurt anyone, she would bite their clothes and pull or jump all over them. They observed this behavior mainly in the backyard. This led them to believe that her crate had been in the backyard. She would also start to panic whenever there was any sort of yard equipment in her rescuer’s hands, such as a rake. This led them to believe that River had been previously been abused with yard tools. River also liked to lick anything metal, which they assumed was a form of her self comforting, since most of her life at that point had been in a metal cage.

River  had no concept of how to be a “normal” domesticated pup. She didn’t know how to play and did not know how to act around people or dogs. Jill and Jay eventually went to a trainer for help with helping River. The approach of the first trainer was not a good fit, which involved reacting to the negative behavior in a negative/ punitive way.  Instead, they discovered the best way to deal with the aggressive behavior which was River’s fear reaction was through love. Whenever River got riled up, they would sit with her and just hold her tight–even when she would try to wiggle out, they showed River that, no matter what, she had a family who unconditionally loved her and would always be there for her. She would softly tell her nice things and showered her in love. She would do this as long as twenty minutes until River felt safe enough.

River Today

Screenshot (26)
River being patient.

Fast forward to now, River is a completely different dog, even though she is still a work in progress. She is only two years old, so she still has quite a bit of energy. She has even received the title of being the business partner in the organization of the Rescue Dog Olympics in Atlanta. “She doesn’t have any actual assistant responsibilities,” Jill had joked. However, River’s job does entail lots of emotional support and snuggles. She is constantly loving on her family as well as everyone else. She also loves to run, play with toys and now knows how to have fun with other dogs. Just by giving River the love that she so desperately wanted and some extra time and care, Jill and Jay were able to completely transform her into a beloved member of the family.

At the moment, Jill is training River to become a therapy dog for chronically ill children.  She says that because River has so much love to give to others that she would make a great therapy dog to those in need. River still has a lot of work to do, since she still has so much energy and loves to jump on people to show her love, but will still make a great therapy dog in time.

River’s Impact

River is just one example of the countless rescue dog stories being made every single day. Rescuing a dog from a shelter as opposed to buying one directly from a breeder has so many benefits. By rescuing a dog saves two lives: the life of the dog rescued and the life of another dog in need that can now come to the shelter due to the open space. Most rescues are already spayed or neutered and even microchipped. Most adult dogs are already potty-trained and with a rescue, the workers will be able to tell you about the dog’s unique personality. According to the ASPCA, about 3.3 million dogs are brought into rescue shelters while 1.6 million dogs are adopted each year. By adopting a rescue, you can help shelters bring in more dogs that are in need and keep the euthanization rates low.

Rescue dogs have so much potential that more people need to see, which is a reason Jill started the Rescue Dog Olympics in Atlanta. It’s a dog lovin’ festival and dog party on Sunday, March 10, 2019 in Piedmont Park.  It’s a chance for people to do something fun with their dogs and for families looking to adopt to meet some great rescue organizations and find their new family member. It’s a way to spread awareness to the greatness inside every rescue dog and to show just how much they deserve to be loved for their entire lives.

What Happens When You Mix College and Mental Illnesses

Believe it or not, having mental illnesses and going to college isn’t the easiest thing to do. Being in denial about just how bad your mental health is and starting college is even more difficult. I went into college thinking nothing bad could possibly happen as long as I went to class and did my homework. I thought, like most people probably think, that college would be like it was in movies; you’d get a really cool roommate and love your classes and live your best life. But what happens when college doesn’t happen like that?

To start out, most people don’t graduate in exactly four years. Graduating in four years is actually pretty rare yet is still a marvelous feat to achieve. In reality, as many as 59% of people seeking their bachelor’s degree take up to 6 years to graduate. Since it’s so rare to actually graduate in 4 years, a term called the “Four Year Myth” has become pretty well known and is true to its meaning. In a study of 580 public four-year universities, only 50% graduated on time. Even knowing how common it is to graduate late, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with as an individual.

I personally started college in 2015 right after I graduated high school. I made out a plan for my courses in order to graduate on time, which included taking summer courses.

IMG_6342
Ari sitting in front of her university sign her first year of college.

 

Yet here I am starting my fourth year with no idea of my graduation date. My first year of college wasn’t like the movies. Instead, it was incredibly hard. I was uprooted from my routine back home and was forced to live on my own where I inevitably collapsed in on myself like a dying star. The mental health issues I was already battling went into overdrive and I finished my first semester with a 0.067 GPA and a letter of academic probation in my mailbox.

However, I wasn’t the only one facing a challenge like this. In the 2014-2015 school year, 1,170 students dropped out of their own colleges because of mental health issues. That’s a staggering number to look at yet it gets worse when you realize that it’s a 210% increase since the 2009-2010 school year. In the same study, 87,914 students asked to start counseling in the 2015-2016 school year. Mental health is an alarming issue in college students all across the nation as well as people outside of college.

For me, I faced the two most common mental health issues in college students: anxiety and depression. I’m not talking about feeling sad and being nervous in class, I’m talking weeks without showers because I lacked motivation and skipping a day of class then never going back because I felt too anxious to face my professor as to why I was missing. I’m talking days on days where I only ate microwavable macaroni cups in my dorm room because I was too anxious to face people and staying up for 72 hours straight because I couldn’t stop thinking about anything and everything. That kind of anxiety and depression. What’s worse is that students all over the country endure the same emotional pain and one of these students could be in your class.

To get more specific, anxiety and depression affects 57% of women and 40% of men. On top of that, 40% of these people do not seek help. The reason many don’t look for help is for a variety of reasons.

MentalHealthStats
Infographic based on a survey done by loyolaphoenix.com

It’s possible they’re in denial of how bad it is or maybe they can’t afford to get help. It’s possible that many could have misconceptions of what it means to go to therapy, like that it makes you weak or that therapists don’t actually do anything. Then there’s the more macabre possibility: maybe they just wanted to give up. Whatever the case may be, mental health issues are only getting worse in college students.

For me, I was continuously told to give up my dream of a college education my entire second semester. What’s worse is that I was told this by the therapists on campus. I was told there was no hope for me at that point and that I needed to give up in order to reevaluate my life. It was just assumed that I didn’t like college or at least this specific college. It was assumed that the only thing causing my distress what college itself, which couldn’t be further from the truth. By the summer of 2016, a week before I was to move into my on-campus apartment, I was told that I was kicked out of school because of my grades. However, I had spent the entire summer appealing failed classes with the help of an off-campus counselor and one appeal went through, allowing me to go back to college. However, since I live so far away and had nowhere to live near campus since I lost my apartment, I had to take a year off.

Long story short, I fought long and hard with the war raging in my head. I traveled 5 hours every week to attend therapy in order to make sure I was ready for the next time I attended classes. Even though I lost all of my loans and financial aid, I started back at the same university for the 2017-2018 school year and made the President’s list. I was put in the local newspaper back home and earned my loans back. I worked hard and went from a freshman to a junior in 365 days. I joined clubs, got a part-time job, made friends and seemed like a normal kid. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have off days. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still feel the effects of mental health issues in my academics and my daily life.

All in all, if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that it’s possible to make a comeback. I’ve learned that mental health issues are more common in college students than anyone would like to admit. I’ve learned how to overcome and how to share my story for those in a similar position. While it wasn’t the experience I planned for or wanted, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Play Loud and Don’t Fall Down: Narrative Essay

The feeling of sweat dripping down my back in the heat of the stadium lights, unable to move an inch while standing at attention, is always worth my efforts when the only sound I can hear is roars of cheering. No one truly understands the time and hard work put into performing a halftime show, or even marching band in general for that matter. When I first started, my parents didn’t truly understand why I would want to “walk around with a heavy drum on my shoulders” or why we had band camp. It couldn’t be that difficult, could it? Not only did I learn how much energy and time was put into each and every halftime performance, but I joined a little community that soon became my family.

I was a proud member of the drumline in the Towns County High School Marching Band, also called the Towns County Indian Raider Band or Towns Band of Blue (T. B.O.B. for short). I joined the high school band in 2013 for their spring concert season and was convinced by my director (by convinced, I mean he called my house phone every day asking me) to audition for the marching band that spring. For the 2013 marching season, I played snare alongside the drum captain. Our band was so small that our drumline only contained four bass drummers, two snare drummers, and one quad drummer. We spent a week in the heat of July learning the correct technique for marching, memorizing formations and music, playing technique and practicing constantly. During this week, we would arrive at the band room at 8 am and work nonstop until 6 pm. During the 2014 season, I auditioned and received the title of being the one and only quad player. I also made the record of being the first female to play quad drums in T.B.O.B history.

My 2014 season was my favorite season because it was the year I felt so important and loved. The drumline became my family and I even met my boyfriend of three years thanks to marching band. I am a very shy and socially anxious person yet marching band brought me out of my shell and even gave me enough confidence to dance while playing and marching, much to my new directors’ displeasure. I grew to have a great relationship with my director due to always helping out and taking authority to control the band when it was needed. By the end of my senior year, my director became my senior project mentor and taught me to play the saxophone. I would spend the entire school day with him and drive to McDonald’s to get us both lunch. Being a band member also made me feel good to be able to support my high school and football team by cheering them on during games.

However, the marching band did not come without conflict. Our band was extremely underappreciated by everyone outside of the parents of our band. Football moms would tell us that we were “distracting their sons in football from doing their best.” I can assure you, it was not the band’s fault as for why our high school never won a single football game. Our own principle tried to tell the Board of Education that we were a waste of money and tried to eliminate band altogether. As a community, we stuck together and showed everyone how wrong they were. We went to competitions and won trophies and multiple awards. None of us truly cared if we were appreciated because we knew how much we did and how important we were.

In the featured photo is me playing on my quad drums, which I had named Rodriguez in honor of the 2014 show’s Latin American theme, for our Homecoming pre-game. I remember crying at the end of the performance because it hit me that I would never be able to do this again with the people I grew to love so much. Marching band was more than just walking around willy-nilly with an instrument as big as I was; it was learning, determination, family, acceptance, support, leadership building, and so much more. It didn’t matter if we went to away games and didn’t come home till three in the morning right after it had begun to snow. The only thing that mattered is that we were all together and having fun and making fantastic memories, even when we did occasionally try to kill each other over whose Monster was who’s on the floor at 1 am with our band director begging us to stop talking so he could sleep.

To wrap it all up, marching band was the biggest impact in my life thus far. I was part of the Kennesaw Marching Owls as a staff member for the inaugural 2015 year. I always see myself being involved with a marching band in some way, shape or form. My first band director used to always tell our band something before we would perform, and it can be applied to any situation. No matter if you take it in a literal sense or in a figurative sense, play loud and don’t fall down.