Discovering ourselves tends to happen to most young adults and collegiate students. That process began when I started my collegiate career at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. After just being initiated into the Gamma Zeta class of the Gamma Phi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi in the spring of 2013, I was ready to serve the college bands. Fall of 2013 (aka this past academic school year) the semester was off to a great start, and I was continuing my Music Education degree.
Before the fall of 2013, I was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder, and in the middle of the fall semester, I was diagnosed with Depression Disorder. With these diagnoses beginning to affect my academic success, I began using the Disability Center to help me with my classes.
Marching band was something that really helped me stay physically active, helped me get out of a nap and to support the college bands. Unfortunately, I had a history of miniature heat strokes and dehydration. No matter how much water, Gatorade or even healthy eating I consumed, I still wound up going to the Emergency Room once, or even more than once every season ever since freshman year in High School. After continuing marching band for my sixth season (even with the health conditions at the time), I fought on.
Two emergency room visits within two weeks of each other in mid-September, I consulted a local Doctor, family members, and various SFASU faculty who suggested withdrawing from the University to figure out my health issues so it won’t affect my academic success.
On a lovely Thursday afternoon, I attended one of our Brotherhood activities at one of our Brother’s apartment complex. While everyone was swimming, I pulled my Big Brother aside to inform her, and thus inform the brothers of Gamma Phi that I have withdrawn from the University, and will be moving to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for further assistance with my medical problems and that I hoped to return to the chapter and the University soon. Gamma Phi Chapter at Stephen F. Austin State University
Since the past has been given, I can now talk about current developments. In the spring of 2014, I applied and was accepted into the University of Oklahoma, and auditioned for the School of Music, and was accepted. Enrolled in my classes, I was excited to be continuing my journey with Kappa Kappa Psi, except with the Delta chapter here in Norman, Oklahoma. Every thing seemed normal, and then I had to make one more slight change.
After having left the Lumberjack Marching Band in mid-stride, I was preparing for auditioning for the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band. In the middle of a practice session, I received a phone call from my primary Doctor that due to inconclusive data after multiple doctor visits, examinations, etc. that basically, marching band has put a toll on me, and that parts of my body begin to “shut down” after increased physical activity and heat exposure like Marching Band. I felt my heart break, if that’s even possible. The one thing that helps me control my disorders, and getting hyped for College Football was now no longer a coping skill. One week before school, I had to re-evaluate the situation.
While re-evaluating, I was humming parts of Kappa Kappa Psi’s Fraternity Hymn. Subconsciously, the lines “I do not know how long ‘twill be or what the future holds for me (holds for me)…that I am a Brother of K-K-Psi” was repeated over and over again and that’s when I found a temporary solution. I may not be playing with the marching band, but I can still go out and support it.
Being an active brother has become something that pushes me towards accomplishing goals with Brothers, and even with the sisters of Tau Beta Sigma. Ever since my candidate process and even now, every day I begin to understand the impact that the National Honorary Band Fraternity and Sorority has on me, and that I have slowly become a better Brother, musician, and over-all a better person because of the love, learning, and gratitude I have received
Gamma Phi is still my home chapter, but now Delta is my current chapter. Gamma Phi was supportive with me during some of what I call my “darkest days”; even when I didn’t say anything, or even ask. And the same thing goes with the exciting Delta chapter. If you notice in the pictures, that Gamma Phi has about thirty Brothers and that Delta has about sixty. What’s it like to go from a medium sized chapter to one of the largest in the Southwest?
You might be surprised, but there’s actually not much of a difference. When you look at the numbers, (whether its number of actives or money), that yes, there is a difference. Each chapter has its traditions, their meetings, and even their own personalities. But what each individual person brings to the chapter is what really matters most.
If you ever see a Brother, Sister, or even potential candidate going through a rough day, help them out in which ever way you can. They may shrug you off and say things like “I’m okay,” “I’m alright,” or even my most popular line, “I can handle this on my own.” While some will actually complete what they say they will and come out on top, while others (like me, for example) will survive much better with the warmth and encouragement of a Brother and or a Sister, consider helping fellow students catch up on late work, graduate college with a degree, and being a stress reliever. In truth, everyone needs to support each other with friendship, and even devoting time to listen.