Jane Woods - Grade 9, Oakwood High School
A Change in Outlook
I’m a dreamer. It’s my nature, my motivation. It’s who I am, and who I was raised to be. I’m that girl. The one immersed in anything they can squeeze into their schedule. The one who makes the most of every opportunity, and tries to uphold a positive attitude. The one who works hard, and anticipates results.
Summer 2017; I eagerly traveled to Alabama to attend a competitive three-week dance camp that evaluated dancers in five levels based on talent. Having danced for a decade, I envisioned the instructors placing me in one of the upper levels. I had trained, stretched, and strengthened the entire summer leading up to this, and I felt equipped. I walked into the placement class with a positive mindset; for the next two and a half hours I competed for the judge’s attention and approval. I bounced out of that room with a sweaty forehead and a smile on my face.
I woke up the next morning praying for the best. As I stepped off the elevator, I went to the bulletin board and patiently waited to see the results. As I stepped up, my eyes scanned the third and fourth lists, most of my friends, but not me. My eyes shifted over to the fifth list, the best one, and for one moment my heart soared and I felt accomplishment and pride. I then realized my name was not on the fifth list, nor the second list… it was on the first list. My stomach dropped; I was devastated. As I walked over to the first group on the other side of the room, I saw kids three or four years younger than I. You can only imagine my embarrassment and disappointment.
My entire view of the situation changed the first day of classes when I met our instructor. He was a young, short, Cuban man with a thick accent. The first thing he said to our group when we walked in was: “Is anyone in this room happy with their placement?” As expected, only a couple kids raised their hand. Being one of the older girls, I decided to not look at my placement as a burden, instead as a blessing. It was crucial I make the most out of these weeks.
By the end of camp, I was grateful for the level I was placed in. I made two wonderful friends I still keep in touch with. If I had chosen negativity in the situation, I would not have learned as much or had as much fun. When you’re normally a successful person, setbacks such as these can upset you. I learned that attitude makes all the difference when something doesn’t go your way. Though it was only a camp, I learned to make the most of all circumstances and stay positive even in the face of disappointment.