This I Believe

Erica - Yakima, Washington
Entered on November 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work
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All my life, I have been a fairly mediocre worker. I sometimes did my homework on time. I usually cleaned my room when my mom told me to (OK, so she had to remind me three times to get me to do it…); I never brought extra work upon myself. I stuck to what was expected of me, if that. That’s where my standards have been all my life, but I believe that enough prolonged hard work can and will change a person’s standards of work ethic forever.

Two years ago, I was introduced to an activity called Drum Corps International, which, to explain what it is, has been called ‘Marching Music’s Major League’. I was instantly a fan. The shows that I saw on the field at the University of Washington were works two months in the making, and were far beyond the quality of any marching band that I’ve ever seen. Since then I’ve been online constantly looking at scores, watching videos, reading blogs, learning as much as I can about what it is like to be in a drum corps.

When all the information I had wasn’t enough anymore, I started to wish that I could be in a drum corps. Unfortunately, my dream was out of reach, because the instrumentation of the corps (which is only brass and percussion) didn’t include anything that I could play, and I thought that learning a new instrument would be too hard. Two weeks before the auditions for a Northwest corps, I had a striking thought that went against my standards of laziness: why should a little hard work stop me from something that I really want? So, with this new spurt of motivation, I borrowed a school mellophone the next day and got to work with learning how to play it. Learning was hard, but when auditions came around, I was selected to me a member in a corps from Seattle, and I started to realize that perhaps genuine hard work isn’t so bad.

Little did I know however, that learning a completely new instrument in two weeks was the easy part. Fifty five days of my summer were the exact same: I would wake up at 7AM, rehearse under the hot sun for fourteen hours, and go to bed. The term ‘rehearsing’ shouldn’t be taken lightly in this case; If any mistake was made, pushups were the solution, or everyone would run, and if you weren’t doing anything, you’d better be doing something that made you stronger. It was without a doubt the hardest thing I had ever done. On top of that, each night we drove to a different state, the temperature and humidity rising with each state border crossing. There were definitely days when I questioned whether the brutality was worth it, but I would forget that notion as soon as we performed in stadiums full of screaming fans.

By the end of the summer, this work seemed routine, and returning home to high school band camp seemed much easier than it had ever been. This new work ethic hasn’t worn off yet; school seems easier than ever, and I have the initiative to get my work done without nagging from my mom or grumbling coming from me.

My parents might tell you that drum corps is a miracle, but it’s really just two months of making a habit out of hard work that will last a lifetime. Because I worked as hard as I could for 55 days in a row, nonstop, I believe my work ethic has been permanently altered from lazy to persevering. That can be the case for anyone, with the right type of motivation.