Zach Begeman: Marching to the Beat of Success as Purdue's First-Year Engineering Honors Student and All-American Band Member

     For many college students, balancing the demands of a rigorous engineering program with extracurricular activities can be a daunting challenge. However, one Purdue University student, Zach Begeman, is defying the odds and excelling in both his engineering studies and his role as a member of the prestigious Purdue “All-American” Marching Band.

     In an interview, Begeman shared his insights into what inspired him to join the marching band and pursue honors engineering simultaneously, and how he effectively manages the demands of both worlds.

     Zach’s journey into the world of marching band and engineering was a deliberate decision. He admitted that he initially had reservations about the time commitment required for marching band, especially alongside the demanding workload of an honors engineering program. Ultimately, he decided to "just send it," a decision he equated to taking the leap off a 30-foot rock into a lake. This daring spirit and commitment to balance both passions have been a hallmark of his journey.

     Balancing the time-intensive demands of a first-year engineering student and being part of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band can be challenging, but Zach has a strategy that works for him. He emphasized the importance of starting assignments and homework early, allowing him to manage his time effectively and reduce stress as deadlines approach. While engineering demands significant out-of-class work, Zach expressed his love for marching band and how he finds time to practice the trombone, highlighting that the band's demands are manageable.

     Zach’s enthusiasm for the marching band is evident in his favorite moments. He particularly enjoys the "standstill moments" during halftime shows, where he can focus solely on the music and the camaraderie of playing with a large, talented group of musicians. 

     He says, “ is an incredible feeling playing with such an amazing and large group, and playing a standstill lets me focus on just the music and having just as much fun as possible on the field.”

     The interview also delved into the connections between Zach's experiences in the marching band and his engineering studies. Zach finds that the skills he's learned in the band, such as making formations and adjusting during performances, are akin to the problem-solving approach required in engineering. Both fields require tenacity and adaptability.

     “While learning to drill on the field, I’ll have to constantly make adjustments until it's correct, which can be frustrating at times. Similarly, in engineering I’ll often have to revisit problems that are hard to grasp and examine them from different angles until I can get it just right,” says Zach.

     Being part of both the music and engineering communities at Purdue, Zach emphasizes the spirit of collaboration and camaraderie. He praises the friendly environment that encourages students to seek help when needed and to work together to achieve common goals. He says that both communities thrive off of collaboration.

     To excel in both his musical and academic pursuits, Zach shared his time management techniques. He allocates what would typically be considered downtime for homework, planning ahead for deadlines and setting achievable goals to stay ahead of schedule. These strategies apply to his music practice as well.

     Zach also highlighted the unique connections he's found between music and engineering. Both fields, he noted, form communities through collaboration, making the transition to college smoother and providing a strong support network.

     As Zach reflects on his college experience at Purdue, he credits the marching band with enhancing his journey. The intense practices and memorable game days have forged strong connections, giving him a sense of belonging on campus and a network of peers he can rely on for academic support.

     Looking ahead, Zach is excited about future engineering projects, particularly the Mars rover project. He finds fulfillment in the continuous refinement of the device as it navigates new challenges and obstacles.

     In closing, Zach offered valuable advice to students considering a dual commitment to music and engineering at Purdue. He encouraged them to be proactive in managing their time, identify their weekly schedules, and avoid overloading themselves. Setting aside time for sleep is also a crucial part of maintaining a balanced and productive lifestyle.

     Zach Begeman’s journey at Purdue University is a testament to the potential of students who dare to pursue their passions in multiple fields. His ability to manage both engineering and music showcases the importance of resilience, determination, and a well-planned schedule in the pursuit of academic and extracurricular excellence.