I stepped out of my parent’s car, closed the door and glanced back at them for a brief moment. The look of fear was written all over their faces, and I began to feel even more nervous than I had before. The next thing I knew I was walking through the hallway of a building I had never been in, but had intended to spend quite some time in for the next year. I was shaking uncontrollably; my entire body about to keel over. It was odd because at first, there was no one in sight. I even thought that I was lost, maybe in the wrong building, but when I finally made it to the main entrance, kids were everywhere. They were packed wall to wall, hanging out by their lockers. The sound of laughter and gossip was deafening. I was suffocating, trapped in between teenagers and their textbooks. I kept searching for something familiar, something comforting, but I found nothing. I was alone, and that terrified me.
The idea of leaving my hometown and moving 100 miles away excited me. It was a new adventure that would propel my future plans forward. Although, standing in the middle of the mass of students on the first day of my sophomore year in high school was not quite my idea of “exciting and adventurous”. It wasn’t until that moment when I fully realized the magnitude of my decision. The sacrifices my family and I had made to move to Carlisle, Pennsylvania will affect us for the rest of our lives, but we moved there so I could follow my dream of one day becoming a professional ballet dancer.
Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet is one of the best ballet schools in America. I had the privilege to attend this school for a year, and while it was the most physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding year of my entire life, it made me strong, confident, and humble. Without the struggle, I could not have succeeded.
I thrived on the challenge. Up until this point, I felt that I needed more in my ballet training. I saw moving to Carlisle as a great opportunity because there was this world-class ballet facility that I was able to attend while still being a student at a normal high school. Although, the change from ballet schools was unexpectedly drastic. Having to train about 25 – 30 hours per week took a toll on my social, family, and school life as well as my physical being. I used to only train about 9 hours per week.
There were definitely days when I second-guessed my decision to be in Carlisle. I was required to deal with everything from being a stranger in a different city to leaving much of my family and friends behind all to achieve the end goal of becoming a professional ballet dancer. All in all, it was a tremendous learning experience and I am grateful to have worked with such great teachers and staff.