I told myself I would wait until Winter Break to make any decisions about returning to school or not. The first semester was tough, regardless of my age or physical ability, the first semester of getting a dance degree would be and was tough on everyone. As time went on, I realized that my body didn’t want to always cooperate with me and my desired level of activity which caused more stress and anxiety than I anticipated.
The entire semester was very emotional for me on a couple levels. One I wasn’t used to the pace and being a natural born over achiever I think I put more effort into things than was necessary causing undue stress on myself. That feeling that washes over me that makes me think I have to be as perfect as possible at everything I do didn’t do me any favors.
Then there were the health issues that also caused a lot of emotional issues and stress. I jumped into school not even a year post heart transplant which may have been a mistake. With medications changes and my body simply not always wanting to cooperate made getting through some of my classes very difficult. In particular the lessons we were learning in one of my classes deeply triggered my PTSD to the point that I had to medicate for anxiety before the class so I could get through it without loosing it.
Nearly three weeks after the first semester ended, I’m still in pain, my knees specifically. I’m going to have to see and orthopedic during the break to make sure that I didn’t do any irreparable damage to them. I’m hoping that maybe some physical therapy will get them back into shape for next semester if I do decide to continue.
The main thing that I realized this first semester is that I don’t think I need a degree to do what I want. I think I was underestimating my abilities and knowledge in ballet and originally felt that I needed to go back to school as a refresher, for a lack of a better term, so that I could be an affective teacher. But after just one semester I have realized I know more than I was giving myself credit for and that I would more than capable of teaching ballet right now if there was a studio that need a ballet teacher.
I do want to continue to take ballet and I may take Ballet III at Casper College this coming semester. I’d also like to take Improv II so that I can take Composition I & II which I think will help my choreography skills immensely. What I don’t think I need is to take Jazz II, Tap I & II, or Modern II, III, and IV. I’ve toyed with the idea of Modern II but the floor work is what really harms my body the most. I think before I make a final decision I will speak to the instructor and get their take on it.
Regardless of what I decide to do, I won’t be taking 17 credit hours and 9 classes next semester. There is a part of me that says, I got through 1 semester, I proved that I could do it, why go back, and there is another part that says, you don’t need a degree just take the classes that you enjoy the most and will help improve your teaching.
We’ll see, I still have some more thinking to do.