Photo courtesy of Rosie Queen
JENNA VORIS | OPINION COLUMNIST
The number one piece of advice I heard when I entered college was to get involved.
My mom told me to join a sorority so I didn’t miss out on the “typical” college experience. My high school teachers stressed how extracurricular activities can build a resume. My older friends said that they found their closest confidants simply by sitting next to each other in a club meeting.
That was my initial plan when I came to Butler.
But plans change.
While I am still connected on campus, a majority of my friends and fondest memories remain outside of the Butler Bubble. They are in another state, actually.
I have been involved in color guard since my sophomore year of high school. For those who aren’t familiar with the sport, we are people with the flags, rifles, and sabres that accompany the marching band during football halftime shows. When winter rolls around, we are on our own, putting together a show to compete without the accompaniment of the band. We are the “flag squad,” as my grandma calls us.
And, for most, that is all we will ever be.
The majority of people don’t understand the level of excellence, commitment and hard work that goes into involvement in an independent color guard team.
I compete with the Pride of Cincinnati and we are not associated with any school or university.
For the past two years, I have been making the two hour trip to Ohio every weekend to put together our show for the season, all in preparation for the Winter Guard International World Championships in April.
Why am I doing this? There were times last year when I questioned my ability to continue my involvement in a sport this intense while remaining involved on campus and completing homework on time.
I didn’t have the weekends available to work on assignments. I felt like I was constantly on the go with no time to sit and relax. When I wasn’t rehearsing or going to class, I was trying to finish papers and stay in touch with a few activities at Butler.
I cannot translate what I was learning on the weekends to a resume, or explain to future employers why I’m not more involved on campus without going into a long explanation of what the activity is.
But I do it because I love it and it is a part of who I am.
There is something almost addicting about performing for a crowd of 20,000 people and hearing them scream and cheer because you moved them. It is thrilling, terrifying and completely satisfying to know that you—as a team of 31 individuals—have that kind of power and can generate that kind of respect.
I love Butler and the friends that I have made here, but nothing on campus can ever compare to the sight of a packed arena on their feet, utterly invested in the program that we are presenting.
So, I am involved.
I am a member of the Butler University Equestrian Team. I edit for Manuscripts. I write for the Collegian. I try to maintain a presence on campus in some attempt to gain this college experience that my mom told me about.
But just because my college experience is different does not make it any less valid, or my experience less valuable.
I encourage everyone to find their passion and follow it—even if it leads him or her outside of the Butler Bubble. My time spent off campus—in another state, no less—will always be some of the fondest memories of my college experience.