When I was in the sixth grade, I was very interested in music along with my sister. When I heard that my sister was joining the band in seventh grade, I knew immediately that I wanted to do it as well. My sister picked the saxophone, but my dad was a drummer so I was thinking of playing the drums. Little did I know that this decision would change my life in more than just one way. After hearing that I needed to audition for a percussion spot in the band, I jumped on it, auditioned, and made it along with a couple of my close friends. At first it was a blast! I was having so much fun playing alongside my friends and building a future career for myself. That was until the day the words “band kid” and “band nerd” started floating around me and everyone started talking to me less. Then ninth grade arrived and I was excited to finally be allowed in the marching band. I auditioned for a spot in the drumline and got a spot on the snareline. When everyone else, who I thought were my friends, heard this, they judged me non-stop: “What are you talking about, you little band nerd,” or “shut up, that’s why you’re in band.” This would shut me down in every way possible anytime I tried to get involved in my friends’ activities. This crushed me as all of my friends started to disappear around me. No longer was I talking to the guy I thought was my best friend all because I had a different dream from them and they did not understand. No longer was I invited to my friends’ houses to hang out. For a long amount of time, all I had was myself and my drum pad. I did not let this stop me, though. With this time to myself, I practiced and practiced and practiced until I could not anymore. When the marching band season started, I met who I needed to. Everyone in the drumline accepted this new rookie who had no idea what he was doing and allowed him to have friends again. These people immediately changed the way I viewed a friendship. I no longer thought it was just about hanging out to have fun; I realized that my friends should be people who care about who I am as a person and should always respect that. I realized that my friends should be those who help me get through the toughest of times and not make me want to give up on my dreams. Once I met these friends who truly cared for me, I found who I was. I no longer put up with the jokes against me. I even started my own account on Instagram to show off just how much being a drummer means to me. I can now show off how all that time I spent practicing has paid off and has transformed me into an amazing percussionist. With this new change of character, I am no longer grouped into the stereotypical “band kid” group by my so-called friends. I can decide who truly cares about me and surround myself with those people. People who I allow to be close with me now encourage me to keep doing what I am doing and really push me to accomplish my dream. This story in my life really opened up to me just how much people judge you based off on an outward appearance. Most people won't take the time to get to know you, but they sure will take the time to judge you.
© Ethan Fox. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.