Why can’t we have both??
It’s a tale as old as time and it goes a little something like this: “I have decided to take a break from dance this year because I need to focus on my school work.” At first glance it appears this young student is making a wise, mature and grown up decision, one that I am sure would not have come lightly.
Maybe this is a thought that has been niggling at your brain, maybe this is a decision you have already made or one that you are considering strongly. But who is it that made you believe that you couldn’t continue with dance while being so focused on your schooling? Your parents? Your school teachers? Your peers? Whoever they are, they have your best interests at heart. However, if you dig a little deeper you might find that if you decide to stick to your extra-curricular activities, it can only benefit you in the long run.
We all know the physical benefits of staying active rather than being cooped up inside, studying all day – and the psychological benefits of taking a breather and a moment to escape the stresses of senior level schooling by doing something creative and fun. But what else?…
It is said that VCE and high school are preparing the youth of today for the “real world”. A mythical place that secondary students are repeatedly told about and apparently only comes into existence when you finish Year 12. I have been living in this so called “real world” for 7 years now and it saddens me when I hear teenagers say that have been discouraged from continuing dance so they can focus solely on their studies, in preparation for what we think happens outside of the school grounds.
I wish more people were telling you what you CAN do, what you’re capable of and of the mountains that you can (and inevitably will one day have to) climb. Tackling school whilst staying committed to something you love is just a small mound compared to the obstacles you will jump in your lifetime.
The real world is an extremely exciting, wonderful place where dreams do come true if you work hard enough but it is also a place that is very, very, busy!
Deciding that you will pick one thing and one thing only to focus on forever, or for a year, is unfortunately not an option. The real world is quite the juggling act.
Upon leaving high school many of you will enter university or TAFE. Your new level of independence will mean that you will probably secure yourself a part time job. You might choose to move out of home to live closer to your new school. Your new group of friends means that your social calendar is booked out.
Suddenly, on top of your assignments and studying, you have to work and probably take on more shifts, you have to find time to cook, clean and pay bills and of course…exercise! Eventually you will land your dream, full time job, one that comes with this thing called “deadlines” and before you know it, you might be responsible for a family of your own, on top of all of that!
It sounds pretty daunting. But, if you’re someone who has decided to stick with your dance training or extra-curricular activities, you will be teaching your mind and body those awesome time-management skills that we so need to survive. You are well and truly ahead of the game.
You will be used to timetabling your week to include all of the important and fun things that you want to make time for. While your colleagues will tell you that they don’t have time to exercise or socialise, you already know that you are more than capable of putting aside a few hours a week to get moving and have fun.
The next time someone encourages you to quit something you love to focus on your school work “in preparation for the real world”, I want you to ask them what they do when they finish at their 9-5 job. My bet is that they have families to look after, bills to pay, a hobby or two and a list of responsibilities they will tell you is a mile long.
Multi-tasking and time management are vital to our survival and they are not skills that magically appear when you step out of the school gates for the final time. They need to be taught and practiced (just like dance steps!)
If you love dancing and you want to continue with it and you want to smash your VCE scores too, you absolutely CAN do it all and if you put your heart and soul into it, in the passionate way that dancers are known for, you absolutely WILL succeed.
Just look at MSF co-founder Carla Jobson. Not only did she tackle VCE whilst staying committed to dance, she passed with a VCE enter score of 95.45 and was College Vice Captain, all in the same year.
Now Kristie and Carla share Main St Funk with their little sister (me) while they both maintain their passion for their “day-time careers” which they studied long and hard for (primary school teaching and digital consulting); they are both loving and committed mums and they still make time to stay fit and see their friends.
If they can do it, so can you! It’s ok to be passionate, driven and willing to succeed in more than just “one thing”. Who says you have to choose? Let’s show the real world what you’re made of!
By Chloe Jobson – Co-Owner of Main St Funk Dance School Epping
P.S: If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed by your workload, why not chat to your dance teachers? They have been there and done that (and would probably do it all again if they were given the chance) and they are experts at making time, so they will always have time for you.