Corona-wakening – A Random Gap Year That Changed My Life

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We are all living through unprecedented times at the moment. I graduated from Columbia Journalism School in May of 2019. Throughout my trajectory I’ve always followed a blueprint of what’s next to achieve a certain status of educational goals. As a first generation college student, I was focused on my academics and Track and Field to assist with getting a collegiate scholarship to achieve the American dream for success, especially coming from an immigrant parent background. Once that was accomplished, I became a division 1 student-athlete. 

While being a student at Uc Berkeley, and a fellow of a business development program, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, the big idea was to garner “The Big Junior Year Internship” to set ourselves up for full-time employment upon graduation. I successfully landed an internship at Google where I pictured myself being there for a significant part of my lifetime. Upon reflection, I soon realized that attaining a MS degree has always been of pertinent value for my family and I to make myself more marketable and provide a deeper perspective of the essence of life and society. Thus, I decided to further my education, a value I hold true to myself and the example I want to provide for my further family. Upon completing my MS degree in 10 months, l planned on taking a gap year to dedicate time to myself with intentional personal reflection to figure out what it is that I truly want to dedicate time doing everyday, and what is authentically me. I continuously asked myself, “What is my true passion to where I would gain a sense of self-fulfillment waking up everyday?” From the tender age of 5 years old, I innately saw myself as an entertainer. I have always loved connecting with people deeper through stories and captivating emotions through the arts of acting and singing. In my gap year upon graduating, I completed a vast array of solo traveling. I went to the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Morocco, Miami, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Brazil, New York, Utah, Las Vegas, and San Diego. With more travel on the agenda, Corona Virus took a massive hit which led to a pause on my travel developments and a push to my true personal development. 

I value the trips I took because it opened my eyes to different cultures, perspectives, and people. I even formed such a deep connection with a previous acquaintance in Miami and then decided to join along a spontaneous trip to Brazil a few months later.  Needless to say, this person became a true friend, mentor and significant part of my life today. This particular accomplished person saw me in the initial post-graduate stages of navigating the “real world” and trying to find myself. I was passed down tremendous knowledge on daily habit formation, creating structure out of chaos, a plethora of books, and support during that time. When my gap year first started, I spent my days doing yoga for three hours a day, going on dates 3-4 times a week, and partying. By the time the quarantine was in motion, I started journaling, focusing on developing my skills, and delved deep into acting. I self submitted a number of auditions and studied various acting technique methods. I then decided to apply for a conservatory program in New York City, where I felt I needed to spend more time to be challenged and grow. Upon doing my initial audition for the 6-week summer intensive, I was invited to participate in their 2 year full-time conservatory program. It was not a part of my initial plan, but I did not have a definite plan. Elated and taken aback, I decided to accept the offer as it felt like a right fit in order to solely hone in on my acting craft and learn how to share my truth with the world. With my educational achievements thus far, it would be easy to go the corporate route while using my natural talents and going on acting auditions here and there when time permits. However, to be true to myself, I am all about going all in, in endeavors I am truly passionate about. Since I’ve always deeply felt this is my calling, I am eternally grateful for the opportunity at hand and to develop into a trained thespian!

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