Fall Favorites

The leaves shift shades, the air gets crisper, and suddenly everything smells like pumpkin spice. It is my absolute favorite season y’all: it’s fall!

It is truly a blessing to live in Cincinnati in autumn because of the remarkable nature, numerous amounts of pumpkin patches, and all the fun activities there is try. Here is a list of some of my Fall Favorites!

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

I have to admit that I am a lover of the pumpkin spice, specifically pumpkin spice lattes. There is something so cozy and warm about the famous fall drink that makes it a priority for this time of year. However, Starbucks truly changed the game this year with their Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. As a cold-coffee fanatic, I felt like this was the most perfect way to combine my love of the PSL and Cold Brew. The Pumpkin foam was the perfect amount of sweet to go along with the Starbuck’s irresistible cold brew. Thank you Starbs, for making this fantastic fall favorite.

Sweater Weather

Sweaters. Need I say more? I am someone who is almost always cold and I am so thankful for the time of year when it is finally socially acceptable to wear sweaters. Nothing makes me happier than putting on a soft sweater to keep me warm as I walk to class on a chilly fall morning.

My personal favorite for this year is a thrifted chunky rose-colored sweater.

Kings Island Halloween Haunt

This is a new favorite of mine. For years, I have HATED going to Haunt. My friends and boyfriend would have to drag me into the park because I hated it so much. But this year I gave in… and bought myself a no scare necklace to protect me from all of the scarers. I have to admit that this was probably the best $12 I have ever spent in my life. It was a shield to protect me from the scary actors which led me to an appreciation for Kings Island Halloween Haunt. Maybe next year I will learn to appreciate it without the necklace…

Fall Candles

Bath and Body Works coming in clutch with the fall scents, am I right? My favorites of the fall scents have to be Leaves and Flannel. I’m not one for sweet/ sugary smells when it comes to scents, I much prefer crisp and clean smells. If you’re like me, or if you are having trouble getting into this fall spirit, I recommend you locate the nearest Bath and Body Works and find one of these scented candles IMMEDIATELY. Light one of those three- wick bad boys and you will feel as though you are walking through an autumnal wonderland.

~Spooky~ Movies

Who doesn’t love seasonal cinematic masterpieces? I absolutely love watching movies that put me in a spooky mood. My personal favorite has to be The Nightmare Before Christmas, mostly because it combines my love of Halloween, Christmas, AND Disney. I mean what more could I ask for in a movie? Once the song “This Is Halloween” hits, I’m instantly ready for ~spooky season~

Do you agree with any of my fall favorites? Let me know!

~ Katelyn Sinclair

A New Chapter

Hello and welcome, friends!

They say that you make time for what you love and I intend on putting more effort into the thing I love to do: write. I created this blog to practice writing, and throughout the last year and a half, I have continued to put this blog on the back burner. Well, this is me making the step to change that! From here on out, I plan on becoming a consistent writer!

To keep myself accountable, I think it’s best to share my goals here. From now on, I am determined to post content at least twice a month. Shortly, I hope to exceed that number and post weekly! But for now, I want to make a reasonable goal that will encourage me to fulfill.

I am blessed and excited to share that I have started a new chapter in my life. I have entered a new season of growth filled with new accomplishments, experiences, lessons, tips, and more! I would love more than anything to bring you along on this blogging journey. I have so many ideas to share, and I am delighted to finally make this step and open up with all of you.

Pack with Me: Disney

As I sit here packing for my fun two-day adventure in Walt Disney World, I thought I would share with you all some of my Disney essentials!

First off: Outfits!

Planning my outfits is my favorite part of packing for any trip ESPECIALLY Disney. I love being able to express myself and my love for Disney with adorable clothes. I also love being able to see everyone else’s outfit ideas while I am walking around the parks.

When packing for Disney it is important to remember that cute must equal comfort. Walking around for 12+ hours each day in the scorching Florida heat is not very fun when you’re not dressed appropriately. I recommend light and airy clothing as well as shorts!

Epcot and Hollywood Studios: This trip I am only spending two days in the parks. On the first day I am visiting Epcot in the morning and Hollywood Studios in the evening. I am wearing an old pair of jean shorts and this cute embroidered Disney shirt. I’m also bringing a Disney sweatshirt to wear at night while I am watching the fireworks. During the day I plan on wearing my Groot hat (pictured later) and of course my white Adidas shoes (also pictured later)

Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom: Our second day we are visiting the Kingdoms! I decided to pack a coral/pink tank top and athletic shorts because it is supposed to get up to 90 degrees (gotta love Florida am I right?) I also packed my Adidas because they are the COMFIEST shoes I have ever owned and they are perfect for doing an intense amount of walking in the parks. Last but not least I packed my Rose Gold Minnie Mouse ears because I can’t go to Magic Kingdom without taking pictures with them.

What’s in my Disney bag?

Backpacks are a MUST when it comes to theme parks. Here is a list of everything I take into the parks with me

  1. A Backpack- For this trip I wanted to find a backpack that was both functional and fashionable. I came across this light coral/ pink one at Target for $20 and just had to have it (plus it matches my Rose Gold ears)
  2. Minnie Ears- Ears are the best part of Disney in my opinion. Whatever your style is, I am willing to bet there are ears that match it! I think ears are a fantastic way to express yourself while also showing your love for Disney. I am personally a fan of the Rose Gold ears but there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of ears out there. I bought these Rose Gold ones from EBay but they can also be found online or at the parks. There are also many great Etsy shops that sell custom ears of almost any design or character you can think of!
  3. Sunglasses- DO NOT FORGET THEM. Trust me, I’ve been there before. The ones that I am bringing are actually from the time I forgot my sunglasses and had to buy them in Magic Kingdom. If you want to avoid overpriced sunglasses, I recommend you bring them!
  4. Sunscreen (not pictured)- It’s Florida. Just trust me on this one.
  5. A Hat- Baseball hats are great for sunny Florida days. I personally like wearing them so I don’t have to worry about my face getting red, but they are also super cute and the perfect accessory! I am bringing my Groot hat that I bought last year in Hollywood Studios.
  6. A Portable Phone Charger- You will be using your phone a lot to take pictures so these come in handy!
  7. An Autograph Book- If you love meeting characters I recommend buying an autograph book! You can find them in every park and in many gift shops. I think it is a great way to keep track of the characters you meet.
  8. Water Bottle (not pictured)- It’s important to stay hydrated (especially in Florida heat)
  9. A Plastic Rain Poncho- it rains A LOT in Florida and unfortunately this rain is pretty unpredictable. I recommend bringing a cheap rain poncho into the parks just in case it storms! You can buy ponchos at Walmart, Meijer, dollar stores, etc. You can even buy ponchos in the parks but for a hefty price.

I hope you enjoyed packing with me! Stay tuned for pictures and posts from my trip 🙂

~ Katelyn Sinclair

Monday Thoughts: God is our To-Do List

I am and have always been a planner, someone who feels so much peace with making a checklist and being able to check things off. I love strategically controlling each item and knowing exactly when I can check it off and what I need to do next.

With that being said, I allow for my list to always be full. You see, this “to-do list” is never-ending. One moment you finally accomplished everything and the next you have a million more things thrown at you. These lists can become so exhausting that it becomes so challenging to get everything done. This confusing constant cycle makes us unsure of our purpose and where our life is headed. As the list builds, so does the pressure weighing down on us, so we prioritize what we think is important.

Sound familiar?

We prioritize things like homework, essays, tests, work, etc. above the most important thing: God.

“I want to be a woman who trusts God has a plan even when I don’t understand.”

Something I want to work on is putting God first on my list of things to do. I often become so obsessed with the “stuff” going on in my life that I push God that I push him lower and lower on my list. Some days he doesn’t even make the list. What I got from this quote is that God is so much more important than the things going on in our lives. God is the ultimate planner, he knows everything going on in your life and he knows exactly where your path is headed. Devoting time to God will make this path more clear, and you’ll be amazed at how this to-do list becomes easier.

God is our to-do list. He puts every single thing on there and he is challenging you to put him first. If you put your faith in him he will reveal all of his plans for you in time. Even though it may not make sense now, understand that he will show you what is really important on your list and lead you to a better life.

A Coffee Community

In high school, I found a passion (maybe an obsession) for supporting local coffee shops. There is just something about holding a beautifully-crafted cup of coffee while you plop down in a seat to get work done, catch up on some reading, or even talk to a friend. Coffee shops are a haven. A place of peace. But today I learned the true purpose of coffee shops: to connect to the community around you.

I spent this chilly Friday morning in a local Newport coffee shop. My intention to get a head start on studying for midterms in a place that wasn’t on Northern Kentucky’s campus. I wanted a different environment (or maybe just a delicious latte) to motivate me. When I arrived at the coffee shop, I was immediately intimidated by how busy it was. In fact, there was not a free table in sight. I started to gather my things to leave when one of the baristas stopped me and guided me to the bar where there was one empty seat. It was a tight spot, definitely not one that was meant to be filled with a bunch of large textbooks, but it was the last spot in the shop and it was saved just for me.

I sat my backpack on the floor and reached for my textbook but found myself reaching for my bible study book instead. At that moment I opened my bible and started on my devotionals for the week. I was diving deep into the Word when an older gentleman walked up to me. He kindly asked me what I was reading and before I knew it we were sharing our own personal journeys with one another.

The man expressed to me that he was in his late 50s and that in each day he continues to learn more about the lord. “We are always learning.”

We are always learning. Each moment of our lives brings us new opportunities, new memories, new lessons, and new relationships. Even in a small coffee shop in Newport, Kentucky I was able to learn.

There is definitely a community in coffee shops. Each individual carefully placed in the same shop at the same time, each one with the potential to inspire one another. I encourage all of you to not only support local businesses but also support the community around you. Say hi to a stranger, give them a compliment, and make them smile. You never know what interactions you will face and what lessons you will learn.

The Most Valuable Gifts

Waking up on Friday morning, I realized that it was my last time waking up as a teenager. My birthday was the next day and I knew I had finally grown out of my teenage years. I had no idea that within the span of a weekend I would completely transform from a quiet nineteen-year-old into an independent twenty-year-old leader.

A few months ago I was chosen to serve as the Vice President of Programming for my sorority: Delta Gamma. Not long after being elected, I was told that I had to attend the Delta Gamma February Leadership Institute in Columbus, Ohio the weekend of my twentieth birthday. I was a little disappointed at first because I always look forward to seeing my friends and family on my birthday, but I knew this was an opportunity to grow closer to my sorority. Not only did my love for Delta Gamma grow, but I also learned a lot about myself and the leadership qualities I possess.

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Since I was given this opportunity to grow as a leader, I decided to share the most important takeaways from this experience. I consider these lessons the best gifts a girl could ask for on her birthday.

1.Understand your WHY

We all have things we need to just get done. Mindless tasks that seem pointless at the moment, but when looked at as a whole have a significant impact on your life. Sometimes reminding yourself and others what your purpose is will make these tasks easier and more enjoyable.

This lesson was extremely helpful when it comes to being a leader. If I want others to perform at the best of their abilities, it is my job to explain to them why certain tasks need to be done. Communicating a clear reason allows for each individual to set a common goal with everyone else. In the end, everyone works together in hopes to achieve this goal.

2. Accountability = LOVE

Holding yourself or others accountable is a key element to having a successful organization. Often we use the term “accountability” in a negative context. For example, we hold ourselves accountable for all of our actions and own up to our mistakes. Accountability is something that is expected or required but if it’s something that is expected why do people see it as something that is negative?

Is it the hassle of having to do something that we are embarrassed by doing?

Is it because we fear judgment from the mistakes we’ve made?

Being brave enough to say something to someone or even yourself shouldn’t be a negative thing because it is out of love. Holding someone accountable shows that you care about them. You are looking out for them and you are trying to better them. Accountability= love.

3. Be Genuine.

The key to success is being genuine. You will never get anywhere by trying to be anyone but yourself. As a people pleaser, this is something I have always struggled with. I try my best to shape my personality to match someone else’s. Realizing it now, I have cheated myself out of great relationships because I was too scared of being my authentic self. This Institute has encouraged me to focus on the values that are most important in my life.

The same goes for social media. If you ever want to call yourself out for not being your genuine self, take a look at your Instagram. Is each and every one of your posts reflective of what is most important to your life? Do you edit to the point that all of your imperfections are blurred out? Are you proud of what you post?

I know that if I want to become a confident leader I have to be authentic to myself and that is why I am on a mission to change my way of thinking. I hope that I can live a happier and more successful lifestyle with the valuable lessons I was given this weekend.

We are only ingenuine when we are upset or unsure of who we are. If you are sure of who you are, share it with the world and people will admire you for being you.

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Holiday Favorites

With the semester finally coming to an end, I am ecstatic to start writing for my blog again! This semester was the hardest one yet but I am so happy to be finished and to be home for the holidays. To help me get in the Christmas spirit I thought I would share some of my holiday favorites!

Food

Food is definitely my favorite part of any holiday. So here are a few of my favorite sweet treats…

gingerbread
  • Gingerbread Lattes~ My all-time favorite flavor of coffee. It’s truly a must. Very few local coffee shops offer gingerbread as a seasonal flavor but Starbucks always comes through this time of year.
  • Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies~ Anyone who knows me knows that peanut butter is my favorite food. Put it in a cookie, coat it with sugar, and plop a Hershey kiss on top and there you go: the best cookie.
  • Cherry Cordial Hershey Kisses~ I’ve never been a fan of milk chocolate or cherries, but these are ADDICTING.

Movies

Christmas movies automatically put me in the Christmas spirit! Here are some of my favorites…

elf
  • Elf~ I can probably watch this movie a million times (each year) and NEVER get sick of it. In fact, I can probably quote every single word. There’s just something so loveable about Buddy the Elf that makes me so excited for Christmas.
  • White Christmas~ Well if you didn’t know this already, I am obsessed with musicals. This movie is the combination of two of my favorite things: Christmas AND musicals. There truly is nothing better than an Irving Berlin score and Bing Crosby.
  • Love Actually~ I’ve actually just recently added this to my list of favorites. I just love the way it shows how small our world can be and to cherish the people around us. This movie makes me laugh and it makes me cry, it makes me feel thankful for the people I have in life.

Things to Do

  • Winterfest at King’s Island~ Last year King’s Island brought back their Winterfest and it’s becoming a new tradition for me. I have always been a fan of Kings Island and I think they do an excellent job with Winterfest. Beautiful light displays, talented actors, and delicious hot chocolate make for a fun night!winterfest
  • Festival of Lights~ I absolutely love the Cincinnati Zoo and the Festival of Lights is something I look forward to going to every year. Their light displays are breathtaking and it’s always fun to grab a hot chocolate while walking around and enjoying the animals on a cold winter night.festival of lights
  • the Nutcracker~ Every Christmas for 11 years I was lucky enough to fill my head with visions of sugarplums. Dancing in the Nutcracker was something I looked forward to every single year and now that I am no longer dancing, I continue to keep this tradition alive. Whether its Cincinnati Ballet or a local production of the Nutcracker, I highly recommend making this a tradition of your own. A huge shout out to SDA Studios as they perform this weekend!sugarplum

I hope you enjoyed my list of Holiday favorites! Wishing each and every one of you a wonderful winter season!

the Fall of Falling

I apologize for the lack of blog posts for the past few months. As most of you know I started my sophomore year at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) back in August and unfortunately I haven’t had the time or motivation to focus on my blog, or really anything other than school. It has been one of THOSE semesters. Every day this semester I have been running around just trying to get everything done. I have had many sleepless nights, many Starbucks orders, many exams, many projects, many papers, and many obligations that have caused me to feel pulled in a million directions. This semester has definitely taken a toll on my mental health and has made me lose motivation in things that I adore the most. This so happens the be the fall of falling.

I think the cause of most of this is the fact that I always have big expectations over the things I am excited about. The beginning of this semester I was so excited to be back at school. I had a long list of things I was most excited for written down so that I could have things to keep me motivated. Unfortunately, the things I was most excited about ended up being huge disappointments for this year. Nothing was going the right way, and for someone who is a planner, I had no control in my life. I eventually got stuck in this rut of not enjoying my classes, friends, faith, hobbies, or activities… the things that I typically find enjoyment in. I was no longer enjoying myself at school and started resenting the things I loved doing. This led me to seclude myself from others and hide in my dorm alone. I didn’t want to see anyone because I was so upset about everything that I became embarrassed of myself. I felt as if no one could possibly understand what all I was going through.

Earlier this week I got the chance to meet up with my women’s bible study while I was home for fall break and realized that I was not the only one struggling. Everyone had something that was happening in their life whether it was lacking motivation, struggling in school, or just feeling lonely at times. Knowing that I wasn’t the only one struggling helped me realize that I did not have to be alone during this time. I don’t have to seclude myself from everyone because they are there to help me through all of this. I learned that I should strive towards the things that make me happy in order to get out of this “Fall of Falling”.

So… that brings me here! I enjoy writing (except when it’s for my horrible news writing class) it is a way to make me feel connected to others, and I hope that some good comes of it. When it comes to the internet and social media, all I see are the perfect things in people’s lives. I only see the things people want to show off and as much as I love seeing the good, it’s refreshing to see the bad. I want this blog to become something real. I don’t want to pretend like my life is perfect when it’s not, and I especially don’t want people thinking my life is perfect when it’s not. I want people to feel at peace when they are reading my posts because they know that they are not alone in whatever they may be dealing with.

the Happiest Trip on Earth

On May 21st, 2018 I boarded a 6am flight to my favorite place in the world: Walt Disney World. Even though this vacation was over two months ago, not a day goes by that I don’t think about the incredible memories I had on this trip. I’m sure for those who are reading this, you witnessed my obsessive countdowns and huge spams of pictures (I’m not sorry) but it was honestly the best vacation I have ever had.
It’s crazy to believe that Disney is already over. I remember Mitchell asking me if I wanted to plan a trip with him to Disney in May of 2017. We had just gone on a short (and ridiculously busy)trip to Orlando with our high school choir. This choir trip was the first “real” time I had been to Disney (I’m sorry mom but going when you’re two doesn’t count!) and it immediately became my happy place. I knew I wanted to go back to Disney as soon as possible but going alone with my boyfriend just seemed unrealistic. When Mitchell and I started looking at the prices we realized that it was possible. To quote Walt Disney himself, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” and that is exactly what we did. For an entire year, Mitchell and I worked hard to make this trip happen. Mitchell and I both had summer jobs last year to make the first payments on the trip. Throughout the school year, we kept putting money into our Disney money fund and counted down the days until our trip. 326 days of waiting seems like a lot but I would do it again in a heart beat.
When the day finally came, we were in Orlando by 8am but it still didn’t hit us that we were in Disney. Then we headed to the hotel… and it still didn’t hit us. But then we got on a bus to go to Magic Kingdom… and it STILL didn’t hit us. It wasn’t until we walked off the bus and towards the entrance of Magic Kingdom. Mitchell and I noticed a glimpse of Cinderella’s Castle in the far distance. I automatically burst into tears. This was the moment I had been waiting for almost a year and it was incredible to experience it with my best friend.
Disney is something that will always hold a place in my heart. From a young age I remember experiencing the magic of Disney through the movies and even today I consider Disney movies my favorite movies. The effort Disney puts into all of their parks and films amazes me because they care so much about making people happy and spreading magic to others. Disney inspires me and I hope that one day I can work for a company as passionate as theirs. This trip to Disney has inspired me to apply for their College Program. I hope to move to Florida for a semester and learn from one of the most well-run companies in the world. I hope that doing the Disney College Program in the future will open more doors for my career in Public Relations because I would love to someday spread a little Disney magic to everyone.

**I don’t want to bore you with everything so I’ll just briefly highlight some things that we did**

Of course, we spent the entire first day in Magic Kingdom. We rode almost every ride, ate at Be Our Guest, tried the grey stuff (it was delicious!) and ended the day with the firework show “Happily Ever After” (which is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life) After the fireworks, we stayed in MK and Mitchell got the HIGHEST score in the Buzz Lightyear game and was awarded a “Galactic Hero” sticker. We then went back to the hotel and crashed because we had been up since 3am
The next day we spent in EPCOT which is my second favorite park! We rode every ride and explored each country. We ate SO MUCH FOOD. But I recommend the sugar crepes w/ vanilla ice cream in France (they are to DIE for) and the fish and chips in the UK
The third day we spent in Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs. Unfortunately, we missed Toy Story Land but we still had a great time exploring Hollywood and riding my FAVORITE ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I also got to experience Fantasmic for the first time which was unbelievable.
The fourth day was Animal Kingdom and we started off the morning with a character breakfast at Tuskerhouse. We rode Flight of Passage 3 times and it was the best thing I have ever experienced in my life (I am not kidding it was BREATHTAKING) All of Pandora is absolutely stunning. We rode all of the rides… including Dinosaur which was SO SCARY and I will never ride it again.
Friday and Saturday we spent in Magic Kingdom we rode our favorite rides and explored the gift shops. We met Mary Poppins and Gaston which was so much fun! We also sat up front for the fireworks which was a great way to spend our last night at Disney. On Saturday morning we had an incredible brunch at Crystal Palace with our friends Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore which was a fantastic way to end our magical time at Disney!

Dear High School Over-Achievers,

 

Since graduating high school over a year ago, I still seem to get asked the same question over and over again… “How did you do it all?” If you knew me in high school you know that I was the “aspiring triple-threat actress” who somehow balanced high school theater, dance lessons, voice lessons, and TWO choir classes. Not only was I running from rehearsal to rehearsal… to rehearsal, but I also managed to volunteer my time in extracurricular activities such as Girl Scouts, Youth in Philanthropy, bible studies, volunteer work, and National Honor Society. Oh, and did I mention I also kept all A’s? Yes, I was a High School Over- Achiever. And yes, I made it out alive (and you can too)!

After a year of being out of high school, I have been able to pinpoint things that I had done (or wish I had done) to get through everything. So, here are some tips, tricks and other things to keep in mind that may help you balance your busy schedules. (Oh, and don’t worry friends, family, fans who may not be in high school… this stuff can help with your busy lives too!)
SCHEDULE
This is probably the most important thing when it comes to a busy lifestyle. In high school, I balanced about 6 different schedules; My school schedule, my dance schedule, my play schedule, my sleep schedule (HA), my work schedule, and my voice lesson schedule. (I know it sounds crazy.) BUT there is absolutely NO WAY I could have balanced all these things without a planner of some sort. Now when it comes to getting a planner, get what is best for you. If it helps you to have a weekly journal planner, get it. If you’re more of a digital person, use your phone/laptop. But you must have something. You’re lying to yourself if you think you can remember everything! There is no way you can remember which rehearsal you have to be and at what time when you’re talking about 3 different rehearsal schedules. Because I was balancing so many different schedules, it helped me to color coat each one (dance was pink, theater was green, voice was blue… and so on) Doing this helped me know where I had to be and when. Scheduling will do wonders for you, so please take advantage of it.
PRIORITIZING
This one can be a little trickier. With high school, comes the workload. It is your job to prioritize the work, so you can get the most important things done and out of the way. My favorite way of tackling this is by making a list of things that need to be done in order of importance. Let’s say I had an English paper due on Tuesday, a Chemistry test on Friday, daily math homework, and I had to have all my lines memorized for the play by Friday. Looking at all of this I would ask myself “which on will I struggle with the most?” and in this case it would be the Chemistry test (science is NOT my subject) I would then ask, “Which one is worth the most?” what’s the point of wasting my energy doing math homework that’s only worth two points when I need to write a 100-point paper? Yes, math homework is important, but prioritizing your energy to the things that matter most is a better strategy of being productive. I personally pick up on math quickly and it’s something that comes naturally to me, so I often did my math homework in study hall, lunch, in-between classes, etc. I recommend spending every extra second you have being productive (turn off that phone, don’t goof off, and use that time wisely!)

GET OFF THAT PHONE
This is one that I still struggle with. Nothing holds me back more than my phone and getting sucked into the never-ending vortex of procrastination (aka social media) it’s like an endless cycle, first, you go on Twitter, then Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, then back to Twitter. You spend so much time constantly refreshing until you realize an hour or two has flown by in what feels like a couple of minutes. Your phone can become your biggest obstacle when it comes to being productive. I know it’s hard, but when you need to study it’s best to unplug completely. Turn off your phone and do all your homework THEN you can reward yourself with taking a break on Twitter.
KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY
If you’re a performer, this is a given. But you need to keep yourself healthy to make sure you can tackle everything life throws at you. I remember I would drink a diet coke for breakfast and think that could get me through the day and then by the time I got home from school, rehearsal, and then dance feel completely exhausted. If I had taken better care of myself, I probably could have been a more successful (and happier) person. Make sure you are sleeping, make sure you are eating breakfast, and make sure you are staying hydrated.

NO MATTER HOW BUSY YOU ARE, HAVE FUN.
A busy lifestyle is stressful beyond compare but please make the most out of it. This is your life and you want to remember the fun you had in high school. Look for the fun in everything you do. Enjoy each moment of talking to your friends at lunch, going to prom, supporting your school’s sports teams, sharing the stage with your best friends. No matter how busy you are, you should always make time for fun because high school will fly by and you’d wish you had more of these moments.
BE HONEST
Honesty is so important. Be honest with your instructors. Tell them when you are confused about something, they won’t know until you tell them. When you have so much to do, you don’t have time to get stuck on stuff you can’t do. If you don’t understand Spanish, be honest with your teacher and say, “I don’t understand this.” Be honest with your directors. Let them know ahead of time when you won’t be in rehearsals. They deserve to know, and it is your responsibility to let them know (because it’s hard to rehearse a scene/song/dance without everyone there!) There were many times I wasn’t honest in high school, and those were the times I struggled the most. Not being honest caused me to fail almost every Spanish test because I was too nervous to ask questions. Not being honest caused my directors to be upset with me for showing up late or not showing up at all when they needed me most. Honesty truly is the best policy. But please, remember to be honest with yourself to ensure your health in these busy times.
YOU MAY NOT MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY (AND THAT’S OK!)
I tend to be someone who hates saying no. I’m a people pleaser and I want everyone to like me. One of the things I struggled with in high school was trying to please EVERYONE. Whether it was my teachers, directors, friends, peers, or even my parents, I strived to show everyone how dedicated and hard-working I was. If someone asked for my help, I would try my best to help them at that moment. If someone asked me to be somewhere, I would try my best to work around my already busy schedule. Unfortunately, this got to a point where I became unable to say the word “no” out of fear that I would disappoint someone. I noticed this a lot with balancing my extracurriculars. All my hobbies expected so much out of me that I could not stand the guilt I would have when I couldn’t be two places at once, or when I wasn’t able to finish my work, or not practice as much as I should have for choir/theater. At this point in my life, nothing was worse than the shameful look of disappointment an instructor would give when I failed to reach their expectations. Sadly, this happens a lot to people with busy schedules. I wish throughout high school someone would have told me that its OK to not please everyone. It’s ok to fall behind sometimes, it’s ok to ask for help, it’s ok to say no, and it’s ok to fail. There were those times I went to dance class and didn’t know a single step because I had missed classes. Instead of telling myself “don’t worry, you’ll get it” I would stand there telling myself how much of a disappointment I was to everyone in my dance class. The same thing happened with choir. There were days when I just had no time to practice. I would show up and disappoint my section, my instructor, and the whole choir. The guilt would eat me alive and I just wish in those moments I knew that everything would end up alright. I wish I knew that my choir would get the highest ratings, I wish I knew that I would do well in my dance recitals, and I wish I knew that I would do the right rhythm for my solo in “Into the Woods”. Falling behind doesn’t mean you give up, it means you just need a little more time than others (and that’s ok). Yes, it sucks when your director is screaming your name and calling you out in the middle of a rehearsal when you’re clueless (trust me it’s happened to everyone) but don’t let that discourage you. Just keep moving forward and do your very best and everything will end up the way it should.

I hope that this little list of things will help you in your high school experience, or with your everyday life. If you are a theater/dancer/singer kid, I wish you the best of luck in your high school career. There will be days where you just want to pull your hair out and quit everything but remember that you are doing all of this because you love it! Cherish each moment you spend with your high school friends; each time you walk into the auditorium and each time you dance in that studio. There are days I miss it so much and I wouldn’t trade the memories I made for anything in the world.