This time last year, I had months of stress awaiting me. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, though. While I did spend many months anxious about applying to college, I had a lot of other things on my mind. In fact, the summer of 2013 was more exciting for me than anything. Here are a few words on how things have changed for me in the past year.
For starters, I was at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre summer intensive this time last year. At the time, I knew I wouldn’t be pursuing a career as a professional ballet dancer, so the summer was really about enjoying my last intensive and spending time with two friends who’d gone to PBT for the past two summers with me. It was strange not going anywhere to dance this summer, but I miss the friends I’d made–some of the best I’ve ever made–more than the actual training. Since late May, I’ve taken an indefinite leave from the world of ballet. For as long as I can remember, ballet has been a huge, sometimes overbearing, aspect of my life. It’s been about two months since I last took a ballet class, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m a much happier (and probably plumper) person right now. I thought it was time to bring that time of my life to a close, and if my current disposition is any indication, it was the right choice. To make a career out of ballet, you have to be passionate–wholly committed to devoting your entire life to it–and I don’t think I’ve ever truly felt that way. It’d be a lie to say I didn’t enjoy dancing, I still do, but I want it to assume a smaller role in my life. I’m sure I’ll start missing it soon, but for now I’m enjoying my hiatus.
The Common App was preparing to go live (and begin what might be its most technical-difficulty-laden season to date) this time last year. I was constantly thinking about filling out applications and writing the essay. As I’d already seen the prompts, thanks to my guidance counselor, I had a vague concept of what I wanted to write about. Little did I know, I’d end up revising it countless (possibly six?) times before submitting it, including one or two major overhauls. Despite the anxiety, it was very exciting. For years I’d been anticipating the application process, and that was when I could really begin. I could see the possibilities opening before me as it was too far off to worry about rejections. It was a hopeful and exhilarating time–the first step toward a whole new world.
I was looking forward to a family vacation this time last year. The trip in itself wasn’t too remarkable, but it symbolized my year-long effort to spend more time with my family. For years, I was barely ever home due to the strictly regimented schedule at the studio. However, since I knew I wouldn’t be dancing for much longer, I took more time for myself and skipped classes here and there. It was really important for me to hang out more with my younger brother and sister, and I’ve found that that’s been more worthwhile than I could’ve guessed. I’ll miss them a lot when I leave in August, but I’m so glad that I got to know them better over the course of my senior year.
In conclusion, a lot has changed in the past 12 months. I chose a path that may or may not include ballet. I began thinking more about my future as I applied to schools. I spent more time with the people that matter the most. I got into colleges (as I feared I wouldn’t) and chose Cornell. I said goodbye to high school and I’ll soon say hello to college. But most importantly, I did what I wanted to do with my life–something I hope to continue as I go to college and beyond. Rising seniors: enjoy your year. Don’t let applications stress you out because I guarantee, it will all pass. Things have a weird way of working themselves out, even if it’s in a completely unexpected way.