Benefits of reliving high school activities


By Matt Pasquini

For many people, college is a time of new beginnings — a time when the high school experience becomes a thing of the past and students have the option of starting completely fresh.

It’s a unique opportunity that only comes every so often in one’s lifetime. In essence, students are handed a clean slate. With new surroundings and the opportunity to make new friends, a student has the chance to rid themselves of the very things that defined them in high school if they so choose.

Many of us students on campus excelled in things you would’ve never expect because there were very few extracurriculars that were offered in high school that had to do with our professional aspirations — so many of us were involved in sports, music, theatre, etc.

Prior to the beginning of my University experience, I quickly became aware of this chance to rebrand myself. It was my chance to shed my identity as a proud band geek — to be involved in something more fitting to the career I wished to pursue.

My band geek identity was something I took pride in for two reasons. First, I always excelled in music. For me, it was something that came naturally and didn’t take an extreme amount of effort. By the beginning of my senior year and throughout the college application process, I even thought I was going to major in music.

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But more importantly, band was an outlet that simply allowed me to step away and relieve myself from the redundancy and stress that I always associated with my school work.

It’s a difficult decision to leave behind the activities we invested so much time in while in high school, but as we form more career-oriented aspirations in college, we justify it by saying we no longer have time to stay involved with things that won’t help launch us into our careers.

As a college student, I’ve quickly learned how easy it is to get sucked into the repetition of the daily grind. I soon learned that one of the best ways to break this grind was to re-immerse yourself in the things you devoted yourself to in high school. It’s not only nostalgic, but it’s also one of the best ways to break the stress that the college experience brings about.

Last year — my freshman year — set the tone for how I’d choose to get involved as a college student. I consciously decided to exclude music from my involvement because not only did I see college as a new way to start fresh, but because I didn’t think it had anything to offer concerning the advancement of my new academic and career goals.

This is a conflict many students come across because leaving behind high school investments is a difficult thing to do. Many students’ parents spent a lot of money on private music lessons or club sports teams so there was pressure to keep up high school activities to make sure our time and our parents’ money didn’t go to waste. And, furthermore, those were the things in high school we enjoyed doing the most. 

But college is preparation for the real world. 

After spending my time in college juggling  my classes, my service fraternity and various housing groups for my first two semesters, not to mention the added stress of being an RA during my third, I decided I needed to do something that would help me put a couple hours aside every week to shelter myself from the stress.

This semester, for the first time since my senior year of high school, I tapped into my former band geek and started playing my saxophone in the Campus Band —  one of the many ensembles the University has to offer. 

I chose this ensemble because I knew I’d be rusty after not playing for nearly a year and a half. Furthermore, this ensemble is comprised of mostly non-music majors and music majors who are playing their secondary instruments. 

This means that the repertoire of music was difficult enough to challenge me, but easy enough that I can still use the rehearsal time to relieve myself of the stress my classes and extracurriculars bring me.

Obviously, getting involved with the University bands isn’t the only method to get away from the college grind. Whether it’s a high school athlete getting involved with an intramural sport, or an artist who has strayed away from their artistic side enrolling in an art class, reconnecting with your high school passions is a great way to relieve the stress that’s coupled with the college grind.

Matt is a sophomore in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewPasquini.