By Stephen Stakey


You know, it’s been an amazing (school) year. I’ve been thinking of the awesomeness a lot recently, especially in the 30 hour span of time in which I had to make the “marching band’s funniest videos” montage.

I guess my wonder and fascination with this topic recently also has to do with what seems to be the all too simple cycle of the high school to college transition. Watching high schoolers (and most of the time their parents) walk around campus, one can just tell that they are high schoolers. They are the big bad seniors who have priorities on some of the most trivial and useless parts of life. And of course, they are even more like that because they are out in public with their parents. Heaven forbid!

And of course, I’m not going to lie. I went through quite a bit of that as well….

Then band camp hit…and I knew no one and no one knew me. I would be with more than 60 complete strangers for a week. Sure I got to know people, and it was refreshing to see that everyone else was going for the “ice breaker” conversations, too. At least I wasn’t the only one.

Then as time went on, the strangest thing happened, it just seemed like this group of people just sort of became a family. One family that was insanely interested in marching band and actually cared for one another. What a beautiful thing. What a refreshing feeling to, on this campus of 15,000 students, to run into band members almost on a daily basis. Then of course, there’s the band space, but that could be left for a note by itself.

True friends and great times. I’m pretty sure that describes my first two semesters of college. Sure classes are in there…but if I had to count how many classes I’ve missed due to band related things…I’m sure I would have to start using my toes because I will have used all my fingers. How are those for priorities? =P

My high school had a character education motto a few years back that went something like this:

Watch your thoughts, they become your words.

Watch your words, they become your actions.

Watch your actions, they become your habits.

Watch your habits, they become your character.

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

And I think it’s true. I’ve decided to become quite open to things since arriving at Stony Brook, and there are just so many things that I have enjoyed that I never thought I would be doing in college…

-Roaming around Central Park and the NYC subways at night.

-Attending a sleepover.

-Watching interpretive dancing to symphonies.

-Taking videos inside major chain retailers.

-Playing frisbee in the dark at the beach.

-Attending basketball games with facepaint and decked out in bling courtesy of Party City.

-Almost pulling all-nighters because of just sitting around watching movies…and actually holding back tears on a few of them

-Building a snowman.

-Joining a group as awesome as the marching band’s drumline.

-Racing to Best Buy before closing time, just to get a Rock Band drumset…and then drinking Full Throttle, which is pretty much stale Sprite.

-Just having deep conversations.

You know, the list just goes on. If you recognize some of the above activities, then I would like to thank you. If you don’t, well don’t feel bad. The list seriously could just keep going, and is growing by the day.

So back to the examination part…it’s kind of funny. I’ve been reading my “About Me” blurb on facebook, and it doesn’t really seem to capture me. Sure everything is true…but I don’t think that something of that nature could really describe me. The same thing with resumes. I shutter when I think about the fact that I probably should be getting one ready for the future. It just seems so inaccurate to put yourself on paper.

So that brings me to where I am now. Burned out from too much work (cumulative from the past two weeks), I am sitting here dozing off, but I feel like this just needs to be written, even if it is just to tell myself that the next three weeks shouldn’t be like the last two were. I just find it so funny that after so much time in high school, I am actually more sentimental now than I was at graduation last year.

I’m sitting here looking at the “Make the Most of It!” countdown timer I have on my dashboard, which reminds me that I have 19 days, 11 hours, 6 minutes, and 3 seconds until I am done with my last final — May 15, 10:30am. Next to it, I have one that reads 113 days…yup, it’s set for the beginning of the drumline band camp.

But in either case, I’m less than an hour away from campus, so I guess I’m never too far to hang out.

This was Stephen’s final Facebook note posted days before he passed away. 

Thank you. That felt good.

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