The Drum Major

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition towards adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

I never once thought that swinging my arms to a beat would transform me. Of course, I knew that being a drum major would consist of constant conducting, but keeping tempo was only scratching the surface of the duties I was responsible for. I vividly recall the moment I realized the true importance of my role, at a university summer marching band camp. One day, after countless anecdotes, our instructor, who sat on a table in the middle of the classroom, sweaty and tired like the rest of us, said carefully, "There are 125 drum majors in this room and all of you are capable to seek and gain more." Our instructor kept talking about how we had to approach that upcoming marching season with a desire to do more, and choked up with tears, he ended his speech with three words: Don't waste it.

I remember the room falling to an emotional silence, and I specifically remember my eyes welling up along with him. To the others in the room, his lecture felt like another melodramatic motivational speech, but to me, those three words initiated my transition towards adulthood.

To this day, I repeat those three words every time I climb the drum major podium during marching band rehearsal. It's not only motivation, but it's a constant reminder of...

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