Today’s the day! I am so honored to share more of Aubrey’s story with you. As I mentioned in her senior session post, not everything about Aubrey’s college journey has gone as planned, but it HAS all helped shape who she is today. I could go on all day about this girl’s sweet spirit and the countless ways that she inspires me, but instead I’ll let her “take the floor” and share her heart from her own perspective. Much love to you, Aubrey, and thank you for your willingness to tell your story!
by Aubrey Chick
Quitting is typically known as failure. It is thought of as as the “easy” way out of a difficult situation, an action performed by cowards or slackers. However, sometimes this is not the case. Sometimes quitting is a good thing, which I learned firsthand. Fifteen years of dance, high school education at a performing arts high school, an outstanding artistic scholarship to a prestigious dance conservatory…all sounds pretty great right? Well, let me tell you why I threw it all away.
Ever since I was little, my ultimate dream for my future was to move to New York or somewhere up north to be a dancer. Once I reached high school, I was able to begin to make this dream a reality. From 2011 to 2015 I attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. I can easily say that those four years were the best years of my life (so far). Yes, I actually had schoolwork, but the fact that I got to dance most of the day was pretty fantastic. After a full seven-hour school day, I would head straight to my dance studio to train there for another five hours for three days a week, and sometimes more. Not only did I dedicate my life to dance to eventually go to college for it, but because I truly loved it.
“I WAS DETERMINED TO FOLLOW THE DREAM I’D HAD MY WHOLE LIFE.”
My senior year at Booker T, I had the privilege of dancing in the week-long process of our Senior Showcase. Colleges for dance from around the country came to our school to award us with acceptances and scholarships after taking classes from them and performing our solos. By the end of the week I walked away with eight acceptances, one of these being Point Park University, the prestigious dance conservatory I had only dreamed about going to. I was awarded with an outstanding dance scholarship on top of it! Feeling very shocked and honored, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend Point Park. So that’s what I did. I left everything and everyone I loved behind to start a new journey as a dancer at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I wasn’t sure where dance would end up taking me after college, but I loved it enough to go for it. I was also very hesitant at first because of its great distance from home, but I was determined to follow the dream I’d had my whole life.
The two-day car ride to Pittsburgh was not the ideal, “Yay, I’m finally headed to college!” trip. You would understand what I mean if you could have seen the amount of tears that I cried. I knew that in just a few days, I would be left in a big, unfamiliar city without my family. For someone who has severe separation anxiety, this should not have been something that was at the top of my list of things to do. However, somehow it was. My determination was the only thing keeping me going. Luckily, four other dancers from my high school decided to attend Point Park as well, one of them being my best friend (who was my roommate). Despite all the tears, somehow I survived the day my parents left to go back home.
School eventually started and things were going exactly how they should have. I was placed in amazing dance classes, taught by professionals who were seriously the best of the best. I was receiving high-quality training and consequently improving as a dancer. My roommate and I explored the city, took part in fun events, and met a wonderful group of friends. This all sounds pretty perfect, right? I have to admit that it truly was…besides the fact that I never stopped crying from the day I left home to the day I quit. That’s right, I said I quit. Those two words just ring with negativity. But I don’t see my decision as negative at all, and it definitely was not easy.
Throughout the first semester, when things seemed to be going as they should, I was severely homesick. Not the kind where you miss home but are still okay, but the kind where it’s impossible to hold back tears even in class. I woke up every morning with what felt like a giant hole in my chest. Although I had some of my best friends from home there with me, I still felt like a piece of me was missing. I couldn’t possibly keep track of the amount of times I called home. I’m pretty sure I received every pep talk and combination of encouraging words possible from my mom. The best part of my day was marking off another day on my calendar, counting down the days until I could go home again. No matter how great my day could have gone, I really looked forward to nighttime because I knew another day was over with. I prayed and prayed for God to give me a sense of peace and contentment in a time when it was hardest to find it. Time went by, slower than ever, and Christmas break finally came. Feeling a bit relieved for a while, I enjoyed my time home, but at the same time battled many doubts about my future at Point Park.
Aubrey’s story doesn’t end here—click here for part 2.