Updated: May 6
Q: So this year all my friends and I tried out for the dance team. I practiced SO much but turns out I didn’t make it and all my friends did. When I found out I literally had a whole melt down. Not making it literally destroyed my self esteem. It just makes me feel like I’m not good enough and I suck at dancing even though I LOVE it so much.
A: This literally breaks my heart and definitely resonates with me and my experiences (even this week when I wasn’t elected class president and wasn’t offered a spot on a school committee I applied for). It is SO frustrating and very upsetting when you really put your all into something and it doesn’t pay off… especially if it all worked out for your friends.
It doesn’t seem like there’s a direct question with this Ask Sophia… let me fill in the blank: Do I quit? Why didn’t I make it? How do I feel less bad about it? Do I suck? Etc. All questions I’ve asked myself in the past few days.
I say you have 2 options: F*** it and do something else OR push yourself to your absolute limit and dedicate everything you have to becoming an amazing dancer (apply this to whatever sport or initiative relevant in your life).
It seems like this one defeat does not mean the end for you. This time it didn’t work out. Ok move on. Join the rival studio (that’s what I did), practice your splits every night for 20 minutes, take a bunch of privates, create your own choreography, enroll in multiple ballet classes, and try some open combo classes so you can master picking up choreography quickly. Ya it’s true that you can expect a lot of no’s until that one yes might someday come along...but hoping for the best isn't going to do much. It’s like if you fail a math test: you put more effort in for the next one and go full on grind mode. It’s hard to see your friends being successful while you're left behind. Stay supportive of them but also do your best to focus on yourself. You CAN be in control of your own success. For me, I didn’t get a position in this philanthropic organization at my school… so I made my own non profit which I am so much more passionate about too. If something makes you happy and you still love it in spite of this road bump then keep your head up and try out again next year…. But you have to be willing to put in the 110%, the 10,000 hours it takes.
In my experience, I wasn’t willing to do that. I didn’t have it in me. I didn’t care as much as my friends did. And I quit.
Throughout elementary school and into middle school, I was always on the second best team… always trying to work hard and prove to the coaches/teacher that I had improved, I wanted it, I was ready, I was dedicated. For 3 years I tried out for the top competition team for dance. I had private sessions with one of the teachers (also a judge at the auditions) for weeks and she always told me she was seeing the improvement she needed to see. I told myself after the audition that if I didn’t make the team, I was done. I trembled by the computer waiting to receive the email that revealed, yet again, I didn’t make it. Same situation with soccer. I was NEVER picked for the best teams! And it hurt really badly. Especially seeing others (that I believed weren’t as worthy) taking the spot I so desperately wanted.
I dropped both dance and soccer. In my eyes, not making those teams meant I wasn’t good enough and it made me feel awful. I didn’t know what my next hobby or passion would be… still don’t know (I’ll do a post on this soon) but I knew I had to close these chapters in my book. Dreams can change and it’s ok to start over with something new.
The Cold. Hard. Truth.
I know it’s not everyone’s favorite conversation and it shouldn't really matter (even as a sophomore) but definitely weighs on me heavily…. College. Of course ‘do what you love’ and ‘stick with it’. Sure, ok. But also like I had to be real with myself. Why was I dedicating many hours a week trying to juggle 100 different activities all of which I was mediocre at. I keep up with dance as a hobby now (a neighborhood rec class and a bit through school) but on the real, that won’t get me into college (which again shouldn't matter but I know we're all thinking it). Wasting all that time on half sucking at a main extracurricular was just pointless in my eyes. The way I see it, put yourself in the position to be the absolute best at something. It’s sad but that’s why a lot of kids quit their sports in high school. I’ve seen it with my gymnastics friends, dancer friends, soccer people, etc. (you obviously still do it on the side). Beyond dance, make your own club, start a blog (haha), podcast, photography page, or social action initiative. It's cliche but the sky is the limit. I am starting to find my ‘things’ now. It feels good but life isn’t perfect. Being rejected from 2 positions this week definitely sucked. I’ll bounce back. You can too, I know it.
Like the interview ending by the Merrell twins, “rejection is protection”. I am a huge believer that everything happens for a reason and I know this rejection will open a new door for you.
We got this,