This year has definitely had its ups and downs, but I'm grateful for it all.
The summer before your first year of college, your head is filled with expectations of what this new chapter of your life will hold for you. You are excited and scared and whether you are ready or not, you are thrust into a new life of independence. As I unpacked my stuff, said goodbye to my parents, and headed out onto the quad with some friends from high school, I had a feeling that this was going to be something amazing.
I remember taking this photo while experiencing a mixture of emotions. First, I had just come back from my first choir rehearsal where my teacher had assigned me to Soprano 1. Now, for any of you singers out there, I sang Alto 2 for four years in high school, and while I love the rumbling of my chest when I sing those low notes, I have always dreamed of expanding my range and becoming a soprano. I was excited to take on the challenge.
On the other hand, I missed my family a lot...and my boyfriend. We had just gone on a break before he left for college. We still talked quite often, but we both were not in the best place so we decided to take a step back to figure out who we were as individuals in our new college setting and made plans to revisit our relationship in a few months (which we did but hold on...we will get there).
During this month I was also hosting my weekly Bachelor in Paradise viewings. Joe and Kendall forever!
I went home mid-September, I don't really remember why. But, this photo marked the first time I drove through the heart of St. Louis while sitting behind the wheel. That, my friends, was a HUGE accomplishment for a nervous driver like me.
Oh... October. Halloween always produces the craziest memories for me and this one was no different. This October I saw my first ever showing of "Rocky Horror" with a shadow cast. While it definitely wasn't my cup of tea, I can still say that I went to experience it and decide for myself. I also had many colleagues in the show and it was the first time I had seen any of them perform. I was happy to go and support my friend's artistic endeavors.
November was an incredible month. I went back to visit my high school buddies to watch them in their fall show. I got back together "officially" with my boyfriend; we had an incredible ice skating date in the warmest weather I have ever experienced in November. I got cast for the spring semester in my first ever college show, The Light in the Piazza. I got to go home for Thanksgiving and spend quality time with my family. Overall, it was just wonderful.
Here I am skating and trying not to fall on the soupy ice.
Another big month! I finished my first semester and made the Dean's List with all A's. I celebrated my birthday and turned 19 years old. My grandparents came up for Christmas and brought up my dog Sophie from Florida and I was so elated to be able to spend time with her.
That month she almost bled out in my car, in my grandmother's arms, after my other dog attacked her. That was a really scary time. However, through the efforts of some amazing doctors, a full tank of gas, and the grace of God, my puppy is still alive. She even has a few more years in her. Thinking about it all makes me really sad, but reflecting back on it, I am still so proud of my actions in handling the situation. I could've broken down in a fit of panic and anxiety and been incapable of response, but I didn't. I separated the dogs, I found the hospital, and I drove as quickly and as safely as I could to beat the clock and save the dog that once saved me.
From this point on, the year flew by. Here I am at the first table read for 'Piazza' with my buddies Jack and Simran. This month was full of new classes and new adventures. Beginning production on a new show is always exciting but also frustrating. It is full of memorizing and learning as much as you can while also balancing school work and other things. I pushed through it and before I knew it, it was February.
February was a big oof. Sickness hit me hard. I may have passed out on my first day back at work in front of a bunch of children, and I lost my voice a few weeks before the show opened. I was completely exhausted, but my big accomplishment was surviving my first 10/12 (ten-out-of-twelve). This is a technical rehearsal where you are rehearsing in the theatre for six hours, you get a two-hour break to eat, and then you come back for four more hours. It was not fun but it was very productive and now I know what it will be like in the future.
March 1st-8th I performed as Franca in ISU's production of 'The Light in the Piazza'. For this role I was nominated to compete for the Irene Ryan Scholarship this coming winter. I was so thrilled and honored to be a part of such an incredible cast. This experience taught me so much about myself, my heritage, and how far I have come and how much farther I have to go in my journey as an actress.
April was butt-kicking season for me. Teachers and directors were throwing stuff my way and I was in a super productive zone. I hustled hard and got so much done. This month taught me that I am capable of juggling a lot at once and even though it is so stressful, I can handle it.
This was also the month that I completed my sessions with counseling services. With free counseling given to me through my tuition, I figured that this year was as good of a time as any to really talk to someone about my mental health. It was the best decision I have ever made.
And you ma(y)de it to today! May 1st. By this time next week I will be heading back home having completed my first year of college. We are in the home stretch now!