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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

Like many dancers growing up, I always thought I’d end up dancing professionally for the rest of my life. But like many other dancers, that’s easier said than done. Senior year of high school leads to a huge decision for studio dancers. Do I go to college and have a “normal” student lifestyle or do I pursue dance and go to school later if it doesn’t work out? Or do I try to do both? I decided to try to do both. I was going to go to college in New York City, where I’d also have thousands of opportunities to take classes and go to auditions and do both. That’s not really how things turned out, though. 

I’d love to say it’s all Covid’s fault that I didn’t stick with it or try harder, but the reality is that it just isn’t true. I was burnt out and tired. I spent every waking second for seven years revolving my life around dance. I went to three dance studios at the same time and took classes almost every single day of the week after school, including weekends. And some days, going straight to the studio and not getting home till ten o’clock just to wake up the next day and do it again. Don’t get me wrong — I wanted to dance and I wouldn’t have changed any of this. I’m so lucky I was able to do what I loved as much as I could. 

The end of junior year into senior year, before Covid took us out of the studio, my body was exhausted. Getting through classes was almost impossible for me and I would stare at the clock waiting to get out. My body was so drained I could hardly get off the ground during leaps, and my full out was no longer full out because I simply didn’t have any energy. For a long while, I thought something was actually wrong with me, I didn’t know why else my body wouldn’t let me do what I loved. Now years later, with the help of hearing other dancers’ stories, I’ve learned that I’m not the only person this has happened to. Nothing was physically wrong with me but I was burnt out and it was causing me to hate what I once loved and wanted to do for the rest of my life. 

The thought of not loving to dance anymore was scary. For as long as I could remember, I would tell everyone I was going to be a dancer for my career and suddenly I couldn’t picture that happening anymore. Then Covid hit, dance studios were closed, and I found myself taking a breath of fresh air. 

It took me roughly two years to actually want to go to dance again. I didn’t completely abandon dance during those years, as I would take classes here and there and teach my own classes sometimes, but during those years, I never craved to be in the studio the way I used to. The way I love to dance has changed a lot for me over the past few years. I no longer see dance as something I want to do as a career, but rather, I just want to dance because I love it. I needed to learn what my life could be without dance being my entire personality. It’s okay to need a break and take a reset, and it’s also okay to miss the thing you thought you gave up. Dance may not be the most important thing in my life the way it used to be, and that’s okay. I am learning to love dance in a way I never have before. 

Haley Nowicki is a member of her Campus at Pace University where she mainly writes about entertainment, concerts, and artists. During her undergraduate at Pace University, Haley is majoring in Arts & Entertainment Management. Haley also teaches dance at her home studio. When she’s not writing for Her Campus you can find her going to a concert, cuddling up with her cat, or going on a long walk around the city.