We’ve all been told that colleges love to see extracurricular activities on applications. While it looks great that you’ve dedicated years to an activity while maintaining your grades, there are also greater benefits you receive from focusing and practicing a sport or hobby.
El Rancho High School Band’s Head Drum Major, Angelica Ojeda, and Assistant Drum Major, Andrew Sepulveda have been in band since the 6th grade. They have dedicated the last seven years balancing band practice and their academics, and as seniors preparing for college, they’re recognizing that the benefits to being in band is more than just a checkbox on their college applications.
“Being in band has always been part of my life, “ Angelica said. “The connections you make with your friends in band becomes part of you…you’re with them almost 24/7 so you have to get use to them and work with them.”
Angelica admits that she’s not one to make an effort to make new friends, but as the Head Drum Major it’s important for her to show her leadership by becoming friends with the new band members, finding out what type of person they are and being there to guide them.
“As a Drum Major you’re always being taught new skills, be it a new instrument or conducting, and when you mess up you need the perseverance to keep trying to get it right. Even if you get yelled at for your mistake, you have to take that feedback and push forward.”
Every week Andrew has a commitment to the band that takes up time and discipline. He finds his role as Assistant Drum Major enjoyable and has learned how to balance when to work hard and when to play hard.
“When it’s rehearsal time I know that I have to be disciplined with my task,” said Andrew. “When you’re friends with everyone in the band, sometimes you have this fear of not wanting to tell them to stop talking or messing around, but I have to in order for the group to move forward and advance through the season. But when it’s break time, I know that’s when we can relax for a moment and mess around.”
Andrew says that being in band has also helped him to become a confident public speaker, not only during practice but also during class time.
“Band has given me better communication skills. I’m the messenger from the band director to the band so I cannot be shy. You have to learn how to be out spoken. A lot of people have this stigma of being wrong or different, but I’m not afraid to speak up in class. Even if I’m wrong, I know that I’m presenting my ideas and what I believe.”
Leadership, perseverance, discipline and communication are all vital qualities Angelica and Andrew have gained through their commitment to band. But beyond high school and even college, these are skills that are highly desirable and expected in any work industry. By dedicating your time, passion for the sport/hobby and exercising the discipline it takes to work under pressure in a group setting, you’re giving yourself a head start on being successful in your career.