My column this week can be closely related to Andy's column about adjusting to the "real world." I too am still struggling to make adjustments to my life at home, work, even here at school. I even took a summer off and I'm still having these struggles. I have also spent a lot of time thinking about the skills I have learned while marching corps.

Kristin Kray
The other day I spent about 30 to 45 minutes talking to one of Carolina Crown's drum majors, Justin Nicholson. We discussed the skills we learned while marching and how we are putting them to good use in college. Here is the basic gist of what we discussed:

Determination -- Used to get through tough assignments and to wake up for those pesky 8 a.m. classes. Just being able to wake up and poke fun of those people that can't wake up is pretty funny to do. Loyalty -- You display this to your friends and family. Think about this: Would you ever betray your friends and family or even think that they would turn their backs on you? Without them, who would you be?

Confidence -- In not only what you do but how you go about doing it. It's all about being able to stand up for what you believe in, or to participate in something you enjoy doing even if the majority of other people have a totally different opinion. Time management and listening skills -- Learning how to pack, take a shower and eat within an hour or hour and a half is a good skill to pick up quickly. Listening skills, meanwhile, are also an integral part of the drum corps experience. For instance, paying attention to when departure time is from the show site is also important. Who really wants to be left behind in a town they are unfamiliar with and where you have no clue who anyone is? There are many other skills one learns while marching corps. As I sit in class or in my dorm, I'm glad I have learned these skills. They are making college seem a little easier and they are taking that much stress off my days.
Kristin Kray is an 18-year-old freshman at the University of South Florida in Tampa, majoring in special education. She marched soprano for Pioneer in 2001-2002, and hopes to march trumpet for Carolina Crown next summer.