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woman smiles while holding color guard equipment
woman smiles while holding color guard equipment
Original photo by Allison Diebol
Life > Experiences

Summer Living On A Bus?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

If you had told me one year ago about the summer that I was going to have, I would not have believed you. My summer on a bus was most definitely not what you would expect it to be. It was not a fancy renovated school bus, and it was not a relaxing summer vacation. I was lucky enough to spend 82 days of my summer traveling the country on a bus, performing in front of thousands of fans, and competing at the highest level with my new best friends – all part of an experience called drum corps.  

This all started thanks to my love for color guard. I had no clue what the activity was before I joined, so I understand if you’re unfamiliar with it. Color guard is most simply explained as the people who spin flags, mock rifles, and mock sabres during football halftime shows. I like to think about it as a forgotten sport. 

I started spinning back in 2016 and performing on a world-class team was always a big dream of mine. One group that I had always looked up to was the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps. Six years after I started the sport, I ended up spontaneously auditioning two days before the deadline. The funny part was that my mom only let me audition for the Boston Crusaders Color Guard because she thought that I wasn’t going to make it, and I honestly thought the same. 

When I got the email saying that they were offering me a contract, I was in shock. I truly thought that there had to have been a name mix-up or something of the sorts that magically got me onto the team of my dreams. 

Despite the incredible opportunities that the summer held, I was scared going into it. From the moment I committed, even to arriving in Vermont, I was nervous. I have a video that I filmed when I first got to Castleton University where I am bawling my eyes out. I felt so afraid. I was across the country and without my family for the first time ever. I was about to be spinning with some of my idols, and I feared being left far behind. Nevertheless, I remained resilient and enthusiastic about what was to come!

Looking back, there were so many bizarre, ecstatic moments from this crazy adventure that I will never forget. That’s not to mention that I was lucky enough to have a journal that I (tried to) write in every night so I could remember all of my adventures! For example, I can see that we did our first full run of the production on June 12, we did our first full run in uniform on June 28, my whale stuffed animal was named on July 8, I explored a mall in Colorado with my friends on July 16, I celebrated Christmas with my friends on July 25, and I cried while laying under the blue fabric at the end of our final run on Aug. 12. I will always remember singing our corps song before performing, our multiple bus mishaps, struggling to practice in the Texas heat, the 11-hour practice days, and most importantly, all of the amazing people that I was able to become closer with. It is evidently difficult to describe an entire summer in one article, and this truncated list does not even come close to the dream that was this summer.

Now, over a month after the tour ended, I am so grateful for all of my experiences – the good and the bad – from this amazing summer. Plenty of experiences that I encountered this summer have really made the transition here to MSU a lot simpler! I learned how to quickly navigate unfamiliar locations. I learned how to use a credit card while exploring new cities on free days. I learned how to do my own laundry (which is quite embarrassing to state that I did not know how to do that beforehand). I learned how to constantly share space with a new group of people. All of these have seemed to be quite quintessential parts of my college experience so far. The lessons that I learned regarding dedication, teamwork, consistency, and more will extend far further than just my collegiate life. 

Drum corps is such a completely different experience than anything else in the world. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity of a lifetime this past summer. I deeply thank everyone that was involved in my guard journey that led me to this summer and to where I am today. Even though it may sound cheesy, take risks and take chances! None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for me putting myself out there and auditioning. Nothing is ever truly out of your reach. So go for that internship! Email that professor about their research! Join a new club! Step out of your comfort zone! From my experience, you will not regret it.

Allison Diebol is an active writer for HCMSU who is also involved with their social media accounts. This is her first semester writing for Her Campus, and she couldn't be more excited! Diebol is a freshman at Michigan State University actively deciding between studying astrophysics with a minor in computational mathematics, science, and engineering or data science. She is a National Merit Commended Scholar in addition to the five AP Scholar Awards given to her by her high school teachers - Environmental Science, English Language, Calculus BC, Computer Science Principles, and English Literature. She was an avid science enjoyer in high school receiving multiple awards for her Science Olympiad events. At her senior honors convocation, she was also granted the outstanding chemistry and mathematics & computer science awards. At MSU, she is involved with the thrift club, women in computing, society of physics students, and the society of women in space exploration. Diebol loves thrifting and crafting - frequently finding herself making jewelry in her dorm. She is also skilled in color guard, performing competitively since 2017, being a two-time state champion, and even competing in a World Class team over the summer! You can often find her walking in nature or dancing near a disco ball!