A New Decade

journey

A new decade has begun, and a new journey awaits… No matter how 2019 went for you, do not forget the lessons and experiences that helped you become the person that you are today. I hope 2020 is a great year, and I am excited to see what it has in store for all of us.


I am astounded at the growth of this blog within the past twelve months, and I could not be more thankful for the tremendous amount of support. This site topped 8,000 views this year, and I received visitors from all over the world! I am so glad to be part of this community of writers because you are all so talented and inspiring. My most popular post in 2019 was ‘Don’t Be Beautiful’ so be sure to go check that out if you haven’t already!

Beyond the blog, I also want to give a shout-out to all of the people in my personal life who were always there for me and made the year so memorable especially my mom. I don’t know what I would have done without you guys, and it means the world (you know who you are.) 2019 definitely wasn’t an easy year, but it was one that I wont forget because it truly changed my life.

Here’s to a new year and a fresh start. Happy 2020!

Christmas Adventure

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Hello again. I know it is a little late, but I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas! I spent my week visiting with family almost twelve hours from home, so it was really special because we don’t get to see them very often. I am also thankful that I was able to be there to celebrate three big birthdays this year! This was actually the first winter that we have ever traveled to that part of the country, and the weather couldn’t have been any better. Though it was much colder than it was back home, it didn’t approach the sub-zero temperatures that we were expecting. Everyone kept telling us that it was unseasonably mild, so we were lucky that we could actually enjoy ourselves at this time of the year.

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I also ate one of the biggest sandwiches that I have ever had at Primanti Bros. It was delicious, but it was ginormous; I have no idea how I was able to fit it into my mouth. I think my favorite part of the trip has to be snow-tubing with my cousins because I loved the adrenaline rush of racing down those tall, icy slopes. From snowman building to ordering a table-for-twenty dinner, we all had a really great time, and we certainly filled this Christmas with many memories.

Have you traveled anywhere recently? How was your holiday? I am super behind on the Reader, but I will try to catch up to some of your posts within the next few days. Thanks for reading!

Fall Semester 2019

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This semester was harder than I ever expected, but I learned more life-lessons within the past sixteen weeks than any of the other semesters combined. Looking back, I am not really sure how I made it through everything, but I couldn’t be more thankful for the experiences that helped me become who I am today despite the challenges.

I always use to tell myself that nothing is impossible and that I could do anything I set my mind to if I was determined enough. This helped me achieve great things in the past, but this semester humbled me to realize that some things truly aren’t possible. I was pushing myself harder than I ever had before, and I was setting unrealistic expectations for myself. This year, I took a full semester at the college through dual-enrollment while dancing full time as a professional trainee ballet dancer. Though I had done this before, my academic courses were more difficult this time, and the demands were a lot higher. I was only getting about five hours of sleep every single night just to keep my feet on the ground, and the exhaustion/stress really started to take a toll on my health.

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I learned that “you can do anything, but you can’t do everything.”

The problem was, I was trying to give 100% effort at both school and dance because I didn’t know where I would end up or what I even wanted anymore. A professional career in ballet is extremely competitive, and universities are also highly selective; I needed to be perfect at both. It was about mid-October when I realized that something had to change because I physically couldn’t do everything anymore, and I was wearing myself out… I had some big decisions to make. After thinking everything through, I decided to no longer pursue a professional career in ballet after Nutcracker which was one of the hardest decisions that I have ever had to make. Even though it is a huge change in my life, I know that I made the right decision, and I did what it best for me. Since then, I am so much happier, and I passed all of my classes!

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Through it all, it truly was bittersweet to walk off campus for the last time knowing that some of my friends wont return in January… From the coffee shop shows, Friday morning laughs, “flying squirrel” (inside joke), study groups, and hot chocolate chats, I couldn’t have hoped for a better group of people to hang with. I made some great friendships, and I am so thankful for all of the wonderful memories! It certainly wasn’t an easy semester, but we got through it together. The Fall semester is officially complete. I can’t believe it, but we did it!!

in the end…

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“in the end, she became

more than what she expected.

she became the journey,

and like all journeys,

she did not end, she just

simply changed directions

and kept going.”


*quote: r.m. drake

*photo: richard jean-louis

Study Tips: Finals

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It is finals week!

Before you surround yourself with a monstrosity of textbooks and attempt to recall that lecture back from August, I want to share a few study tips that might be beneficial to you… I have compiled a small list, so I hope this helps!

1) Write with red ink

I have read several articles that the color, red, is most effective for enhancing memory, so I write in red ink when I am studying important concepts or formulas that I need to memorize. I believe it really works!

2) Go to the library

Honestly, it’s really difficult for me to study for a long time at home because I constantly find excuses to get up or become distracted with something else… I am much more productive when I go to the library because I am surrounded by people who are working as well. I get more done, and I am more focused in the end.

3) Keep a paper and reread it constantly

Everyone has their own way of retaining material, but it really helps me to write down all of the concepts that I am struggling on a few sheets of paper, keep them with me, and reread them several times throughout the day. It keeps the material fresh in my head, and I am able to recall it much quicker.

4) Set aside a specific amount of time

We all know the classic excuse: “I ran out of time to study…” That mentality just leads to cramming the night before an exam which is the worst (believe me.) Therefore, I set aside a specific amount of time each day, and I study for that full amount of time even if I don’t do it in one sitting.

I tell myself: “Set a time. Make it a priority. Do it. No excuses.”


The semester is almost over, and we are right at the finish line… We can do this! I really hope this post was helpful, and please don’t hesitate to share your own study techniques in the comments. Good luck on your exams!!

Nutty Weekend

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Just like that, Nutcracker 2019 has officially come to a close, but I would do anything to go back and relive my moment as the sugar plum fairy…

I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to dance such an iconic role, and it was truly an honor to perform. My second show on Saturday night was better than I had ever expected, and I can’t recall time where I was that happy onstage before. I was overcome with joy, and I truly danced my heart out which doesn’t happen everyday. I am not sure how my dancing was physically, but I think that last show was one of the best ones I have ever done. If anything, it is definitely something that I will remember for a very long time.

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However, I am going to be honest and admit that it was not an easy weekend for me, and this Nutcracker certainly had its hiccups. I was in a lot of pain as my muscles kept seizing up in the middle of my dances, my Achilles was hurting, and I had a really bad cough that was a constant struggle. Also, slipping onstage during the pas de deux of my first show was far from the debut that I had envisioned.

Despite the circumstances, it truly was an incredible experience, and I am already missing that theater. It has been an amazing journey to get here, and I have made so many memories that will last an entire lifetime. Thank you to everyone who came out to support me and also everyone who encouraged me backstage. The entire cast danced beautifully, and I am so lucky to have shared that stage with such a talented group of artists. This was truly a dream, and I will always remember Nutcracker 2019…

-shadows-

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“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.”

Quote: Ruth E. Renkel

Looking Back…

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2019 flew by, and I am shocked that the new year is right around the corner. So much has happened this year especially within the past month, and I have a lot of catching up to do. Here are some of the highlights of October…

1 ) My mom is pregnant again

I never expected to hear this, but I found out that I am going to have another sibling in April! I am very excited to meet the newest addition to the family, and I am looking forward to all of the wonderful memories that will be made.

2 ) I took my SAT and applied to two universities

This was very stressful because I decided to wait until senior year to take my SAT, but I completed it at the beginning of the month and met the early action deadline for two universities. I should hear back very soon, so I am getting very anxious. I still have a few more to send though…

3 ) I choreographed two contemporary/modern solos for YAGP

I was asked to choreograph two solos for dancers competing in the Youth American Grand Prix this season, and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity. It was truly an honor to work with them, and I am absolutely blown away by their talent. I honestly felt like I was rehearsing two young principal dancers… I know that they will go far, and I am very excited for them to showcase their skills.


Also, Nutcracker is less than a week away, and we will be back in the theater in just a few days. Sorry I crammed all the updates into one post, but I hope that you are all doing well. Happy November!!

What have you been up to recently? How was your October? Do you have anything fun planned this month? I would love to hear from you guys because it has been bit since my last post. Thanks for reading.

Decisions

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“Decisions. We can think about things, turn them over in our minds a million times, play out possible scenarios, but really when it comes down to it, you have to go with your heart and move forward. Maybe things will go well. Maybe they’ll turn out poorly. Every decision brings with it some good, some bad, some lessons, and some luck. The only thing that’s for sure is that indecision steals many years from many people who wind up wishing they’d just had the courage to leap.”

~Doe Zantamata


It can be scary to make a decision especially if it entails major changes in your life. Sometimes, you are put in a situation where you are given two very different options, and you are forced to choose which path to take. You are not sure which one is “right” and you don’t really know where you are meant to go, so you spend time contemplating the alternatives. Days go by, followed by weeks, and even months. Your gut feeling tells you which path to take, but you are too paralyzed to actually make things happen because you worry that you are wrong and fear the pit of regret. However, you cannot spend your entire life dwelling on the unknown because the truth is that you are never going to be 100% sure of every outcome. It is not possible. You are wasting so many opportunities if you let fear take complete control and if you allow other people to sway your direction in life. Do what you want to do, and go where you feel like you should be. Definitely consider the outcomes, but don’t spend your entire life sitting around waiting because you are afraid.

Make a decision. Make it happen.

Reflection from the week…

*Photo Credits: Claire H.

my old friend

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Autumn,

I have awaited your arrival since the start of September.

Upon your return, you bring soft hues

that warm my soul through the chill of October.

There is so much to tell you, and a lot on my mind.

The leaves are falling as am I.

Acoustics drift through the silence

as cider steams from my hand.

On the porch, I have been waiting for you.

Hello, my old friend.


Just a little bit of free verse this morning to welcome my favorite season… What are your thoughts on Autumn? Did you enjoy this post? Happy Fall!