Alumni Perspective – “Find Your Marching Band”

The following is a contribution from alumnae Melissa D. Trahyn (Fordham), a 1998 graduate of the School of Music and current member of the TBDBITL Alumni Club’s Board of Governors. Read on to hear her advice on life, career, and remaining engaged with the alumni community – no matter where your journey takes you!

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I was a student at Ohio State in the mid-90s and a member of TBDBITL, playing trombone in Q-Row.  I went to OSU for the sole purpose of being in the OSUMB (and to study Music Education, of course) ….and I was cut my first year.  I worked my tail off and got in my sophomore year, spending the next three years in The Ohio State University Marching Band.  Three years that tested my perseverance, my endurance, my physical limits, and my mental capacity.  These three years thrilled me to no end and fed my love of performing.  I LOVED band and in particular, marching band.

Fast forward 23 years, 26 countries, one marriage, three kids, a master’s degree, and six jobs later…I’m now the voice and driver of the TBDBITL Alumni Club’s social media public pages.

Two years ago, I was attending a leadership course through Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, dissatisfied with my job (but not admitting it yet) when someone in the course, who had just met me asked me when the last time I was happy and involved in something that I enjoyed.  Without skipping a beat, I said “Ohio State’s Marching Band”.  He then proceeded to say something that has stuck with me to this day, “We need to find you your next Marching Band”.

Losing my job in April 2020 during the COVID-19 shutdown and pandemic was a blessing in disguise.  I started seeking meaningful connections, but the TBDBITL Alumni Club’s presence on Facebook and LinkedIn, the two social media platforms I engaged with, were slim to none.  How can you be involved if you don’t know how?

In September 2020, I was elected as an At-Large Member to the TBDBITL Alumni Club’s Board of Governors, with a desire for engagement and helping others engage.  See, I don’t live in Columbus, or even Ohio, which makes it hard (or so it seemed) to be involved in TBDBITL activities.  I didn’t even know that these leadership positions in the Alumni Band existed or that I could apply until I saw Past President Derrick Mills’ post on Facebook – and of course I immediately reached out.

I wanted to be involved, to be connected, to be engaged, and found a way to do it from Indianapolis.  Through my discussions with President Zacke Naughton and Vice President, T.J. Hersch, I found my voice and excitement for engagement, creating meaningful connections, and for reaching those who may feel like I did – far away and removed from TBDBITL.  I have a passion for helping people feel connected and in using my passion, I became connected!

As the voice of the Club’s social media, I have learned so much about social media in general, and the different platforms in particular.  I have re-engaged our public Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages and created our public LinkedIn page.  Since the revival and renewal of our public voice on social media in December 2020, we now have a monthly social media plan with regular posting, in addition to ad-hoc, in-the-moment posts.  In conjunction with our Awards Committee, we have established a new monthly Alumni Spotlight series, the “Best Damn Alumni”, which premiered in April 2021.   Our long-term goal for 2021 is to see 500 followers on LinkedIn and 1,000 followers on Facebook, our two primary platforms.  At the time of this article, we are at 215 followers for LinkedIn and 708 for Facebook…well on our way to meeting our goal by the end of 2021.

If I can say one thing to anyone out there who’s feeling disconnected and unengaged – “Find your Marching Band”.  It will make all the difference!

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