Life is not perfect. Cliché as it sounds; life has its ups and downs and it is sometimes really disappointing. My story is not to drag you down and talk about all the upsetting things that have happened in my life, but to explain to you that you should never give up.
My sophomore year in high school I decided to apply to a prestigious summer dance program, Virginia’s Governors School. I was confident in my audition and interview and thought that I had this in the bag. When I received the small, thin letter in the mail, I was devastated.
Not only was I disappointed in myself; I was embarrassed to tell my friends and family the news. Over my junior year I started to forget about the let down, until applications for Governor’s School came out again. I refused to submit another application. I was so scared about being turned down again and I had lost so much confidence in myself as a dancer.
They told me as disappointed as I was, I would be more disappointed looking back wishing I had reapplied. They were right (as I’m finally learning, they always are). I was accepted my junior year and spent the greatest month growing as a dancer.
I recently accepted a job with Deloitte Consulting after I graduate. As grandeur as it seems, the road getting there wasn’t an easy one. I applied for an internship with Deloitte, made it to the second round of interviews and then got denied. I remember vividly being in line for Chipotle with my roommates and getting so excited when that random number started buzzing.
Having to tell them and call my parents was once again so discouraging, but one thing had changed: I had learned from my previous experience. During that phone call they told me that they would be interested in offering me a 2-day externship at the end of the summer. I mustered up the gut, emailed them and got all of the information about the externship. After an intimidating two days presenting for partners at the firm, I left knowing that I would not look back with any regrets.
One week later I got that alarming buzz on my phone from a random number and I answered the phone ready to hear anything. Fortunately I received the job offer!
If I had never emailed, I might have never gotten the externship or the job and I would have always wondered “what if?”
These past 4 years at JMU I have not only grown as a dancer, but I have seen myself grow as a person. I joined the JMU Dukettes (Dance Team) my freshman year and met my best friends, and the most beautiful dancers. This short story is not as similar as the other ones, but it is just as important. This past week my team traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida to compete in the National Dance Alliance Collegiate Nationals, competing against 27 other teams in the Division I category.
After preliminaries, we placed 2nd, only 0.01 away from the first place team! That night my team practiced for hours trying to perfect our routine and to truly tell a story through our movement. We sat there after, still in shock being so close to that national title, talking about how we needed to “leave it all on the floor.”
I knew that whatever my team had just done was more than dance it was something so beautiful. As we walked off the stage, countless teams from other schools were in tears, clapping and telling us that our connection was so unique. As we circled up before the awards ceremony we told each other to be humble.
Be proud of what we’ve accomplished no matter what the score or what the place. Being able to look around at my 21 teammates, knowing that we were so connected as a team and that we did all that we could, was all that mattered. And…. WE WON! I have never been so proud to call myself a Dukette and I know it was not luck. It was our hard work, our humility, and the confidence in our dance ability that made us national champions.
The moral of my stories are to never give up. Never think that you’re less than you are; keep pushing and be vulnerable. Be able to let go a little because in return you will see greatness.