"In life worthwhile accomplishments and acquisitions take time, usually the better the reward, the more time it takes to acquire it." - John Wooden
School was never easy. In fact, I remember sitting at the kitchen table in second grade crying because I couldn't seem to figure out the math problems in my homework. Teachers would tell my parents, "She will be fine. We will revisit it." I was fortunate that my parents taught me how to self-advocate and seek the help I needed to be successful.
Despite all the resources and suggestions, school never got easier, but I learned strategies along the way. To have a balance of academics and an extracurricular activities growing up was incredibly important for me (and for so many children.) The greatest opportunity for outlet I was given was to skate. My parents supported my passion and provided me the opportunity to spend afternoons at the rink nearly everyday. It turned into a space not only to release energy and accomplish goals, but where my right-brained visual learning and creative mind could thrive. My days and weekends were filled with supportive coaches and lifelong friends that lifted me up and taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life, including but not limited to commitment, resilience, perseverance and loyalty.
When I expressed going to Miami University to my high school guidance counselor he said with hesitation, he thought I would be better off at a smaller local school. I begged to differ and told him it had been my dream and aspiration since eleven-years-old. Without further ado, I submitted my application for early decision and received my acceptance letter in December of 2007.
This past month, I lost my eldest sibling in a tragic car accident while another teammate of mine lost a loved one. Then I found out a close friend and her sisters were missing in the Teton National Park for six days. What went from a topic of conversation in the Milwaukee community, turned into National and World News; thankfully prayers were answered and they were found. Our family, friends, and especially the skating community have been there in immeasurable ways that can't even be put into words. I will forever be grateful for the support from former teammates, families and coaches.
Simply stated, "It's a beautiful thing when your passion and career come together." It seems like this needs little explanation; my "career" truly began twenty-one years ago when my parents signed me up for a learn-to-skate program and by the age of eighteen progressed into leadership roles for U.S. Figure Skating. Through being selected for the first U.S. Figure Skating DREAM Program, the doors to limitless opportunities in all my favorite things took shape; I became a spokesperson, ambassador, team leader, journalist, photographer and fulfilled roles with a heart full of passion for this organization.
The cost of tuition for my education at both Miami University and Marquette University is something I've never taken for granted. To those who believed and saw potential in my leadership capabilities, I am humbled. For my family, friends, mentors, professors and superiors who listened, supported and expressed interest in my endeavors, I will always be thankful.
We often hear, "Good things happen to those who wait." I don't necessarily believe it. There are people who wait their entire lives for the dream job they never get. The stars don't always align, and sometimes, tragic things happen to great people and we ask the question, “Why?” Sometimes, we have to make the best out of the situation because that's all we can do. Sometimes a dream job of something we truly love is a great hobby but it isn't suitable to make a living, put food on the table and pay the bills. All of this is valid, isn’t forgotten and certainly keeps things in perspective. I’ll admit, I’m just one of the fortunate ones where my Plan A did work and with that, I am truly blessed.