“The high school band is going to Disney World this summer and they have decided to invite all incoming freshmen band members to go along with them,” announced the middle school band director. There was an instant uproar. Everyone was excited. That is, everyone but me. I was quiet and shy, and the thought of spending a week away from home with a group of people that I didn’t know made me nervous. I just wasn’t comfortable in groups. I had always wanted to belong to a group, but my shyness always held me back. My friends and parents tried to convince me to go, saying that it would be a great experience for me, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go. I was just too shy.
Despite my misgivings about the trip, I eventually relented. I had realized that the trip would have a lot to offer. After all, it was Disney World, and marching down Main Street with the band could be the thrill of a lifetime. And perhaps everyone was right; perhaps it would be an opportunity for me to gain confidence in myself and overcome my shyness. Perhaps it could be the new beginning that I had been looking for.
From the start, the trip turned out to be quite different than what I had expected. It was incredibly fun. Everyone was in high spirits, the upperclassmen made me feel welcome, and I was making new friends. I was starting to feel as though I was part of the group.
The highlight of the trip was the parade. We looked sharp dressed in our viridian green and white uniforms and black feathered hats. We marched in unison, and played in perfect pitch and time. We played the best we ever had. We had truly come together as a band; we were a team. And I finally belonged.
When we returned from Disney, I felt like a much different person than I had been when we had set out. I had a newfound confidence in myself along with a great sense of accomplishment. I had finally made the first few steps in overcoming my shyness. And as I progressed through high school, my...