1st meeting

3/28/2016

 

This may not be great proof, but today I went to my first Dancing For Cause meeting, and this is the only proof I have. I had a lot of doubts about joining this club. I have several friends in this organization from Plano West and some of my good friends (including the girl who posted this video) are DFC officers at Plano East; their involvement both encouraged and discouraged me from wanting to join. I saw the great time commitment this involves, and I’m not sure if I can balance this with band. In addition, since my best friend was an officer, I figured DFC was her thing, and I didn’t want to “steal her thing.” However, I really wanted to join because it seemed like so much fun, and the DFC group forms such a tight family bond. Also, my friends were often busy at certain dance events, and couldn’t hang out with me. I figured joining the club would allow me to hang out with them while also growing through dance. It would help me in colorguard because it would strengthen my dancing skills and ability to learn combinations of moves quickly.

After a lengthy discussion with one of my friends who is an officer, he reassured me that the purpose of the club is for every individual to improve his or her own dance skills. It isn’t about judgement, and the club tries to make everyone feel included no matter what skill level you are at. After going to the meeting, I can say that he was right. I felt welcome, and I’m excited to continue to participate. Although this video shows that I have no idea what I’m doing, everyone told me not to worry since it was my first time. When the camera wasn’t recording and when I was watching and learning the choreography, I felt like another person. It was almost like hip hop dancing brings out a more confident character inside of me. I’m interested to see this character develop, and I hope to be put in performances coming up later this year!

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Other Shelter Volunteering Experiences

4/15/2016

One weekend in January, the person I normally volunteer with went with his other friend to volunteer. When they went together, his friend yelled at one of the dogs to shut up; there was a miscommunication and the person I normally volunteer with was dismissed for something he never did. I was faced with a dilemma; volunteering would not be the same without him. Especially since he was the reason I was inspired to volunteer at this shelter.

I decided I definitely wanted to continue to volunteer because I didn’t want to break my commitment and because I remembered how fun going to the shelter is. I felt like volunteering would help me grow as a person, and this was proved true after I started volunteering by myself. Since I was by myself, I had to learn to branch out and talk to the other adults at the shelter. Besides helping my human interaction skills, volunteering alone also helped my animal skills. I have become more comfortable with pets in general, but I think I am slowly overcoming my fear of the big dogs. As I continue to volunteer, I hope to completely overcome my discomfort handling the big dogs. I also felt comfortable enough to switch from signing up for “new volunteer shifts” to the normal shifts. I hope to continue volunteering and have more meaningful experiences at the SPCA Shelter.


Half Marathon

3/20/2016 

This year, my friend and I decided that we would run the Dallas Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon. We signed up because we ran it in 7th and 8th grade, and it would be fun to do again. Ever since we signed up, we were both extremely scared we would not be ready. We were right.

I tried to go running every Sunday. After each run, I was both happy and disappointed. I was glad that I was motivated to actually get up and make progress on my running ability, but I was so devastated when I realized how out of shape my running had become. In 7th grade, I could run a mile in about exactly 7 minutes. Now, I’m lucky if I can run a mile in 9 minutes. In 7th grade, I rememeber having to wait for the people who ran a 9 minute mile, and now I can’t believe I’m one of those people. By the time the marathon came around, I still felt out of shape and unprepared, but I definitely can say that my weekly runs were better than not running at all and attempting a 13.1 mile trek.

The actual half marathon was a fun experience; I can say I’m glad I did it. I loved seeing the various parts of downtown Dallas. I can say that we walked a lot more than I would have liked; I wish I could’ve ran more, but I don’t think my body could handle it. After mile 8, every time we started to run, my muscles would tense up and start to cramp.

Overall, I think it was fun and worth doing. I rediscovered how much I used to love running, and I wish I could be good at it again. I’ll just have to keep running, and hopefully get a better time next year!

    
   

Showcase Solo

3/5/2016

My Solo

This year for our winterguard showcase, I decided I wanted to choreograph and perform my own solo. Originally, I had no intentions of doing a solo because I felt like it would require too much work, but as the showcase approached, I talked myself into creating and performing one. My main reason for deciding to perform a solo was that I figured if I wanted to be a serious contender for colorguard captain or colorguard leadership, I should prove my skills and love for colorguard. Also, I didn’t want to be one of the few people not participating in a self-choreographed routine.

Choreographing a solo was much easier than I thought it would be. I chose the song “Can’t Help Falling in Love” covered by Haley Reinhart because it’s a beautiful song, and I felt like I could really feel the song and perform to it. It took me 2 weeks to decide what moves fit in to the song, and I practiced every night. It was actually really fun; I would use it as motivation to finish homework earlier. I told myself as soon as I finished my homework, I would go work on my solo, and it motivated me to work harder.

As the week of showcase rolled around, I was a bit discouraged because I realized none of my friends were able to make it to the showcase. It was the day of the March SAT, the beginning of spring break, and several other events were occurring around this time. Only a couple of my band friends and my family were able to make it, which wasn’t bad, but I really wanted to showcase my skills at showcase.  When my friend told me he would record my performance, I felt uplifted and encouraged again. After I posted the video on Facebook, I got an overwhelming amount of support from my friends and family. I felt really proud of the work that I did, and I’m really glad I decided to perform a solo after all. I also feel proud that I get to show people what I do. I feel like a lot of the times I tell people I’m in colorguard, but people don’t even know what it is or how much work it takes. After seeing the video of my performance, I would have people telling me that they didn’t know that I could do that, so the greatest reward I got out of doing this solo was people’s appreciation after seeing my colorguard skills. I hope that this helps me on my journey for colorguard leadership, and I hope to do a longer and even better solo for next year’s showcase!

Winterguard Season 2016

3/25/2016

Last year, I was a part of the Plano East winterguard, and I had so much fun that I couldn’t wait to do it again this year. The only thing I wasn’t looking forward to was the long practices twice a week from 5:15-8:15 pm. Since I had done it last year, I knew how to allocate my homework, so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed every Monday and Thursday night. It’s important to me to balance the things you love and to make time for activities you enjoy. 

I was really excited for this season because I will be in a colorguard with my friends from marching band. Last year they split the winterguards into two groups depending on skill level, so when the director said that there will only be one big group, I was a bit worried of how that would turn out. I was impressed with how the show was written to comply with the range of skill levels, and I found myself really enjoying performing it. At the beginning of the season, we were awarded 4th place, which is one place away from a trophy. After the first competition, we got trophies at each competition. This was especially rewarding because we only got a trophy once last year, and I was glad my hard work was being rewarded with a tangible achievement. It also made me more proud to be in colorguard because we used to be a small organization that no one cared about, but we are actually good at what we do, so maybe people should start caring.

At Championships, we placed 2nd! This is especially special because we were projected to be third, but we proved ourselves worthy of a silver medal. I’m really proud of every single person I performed with. I’ll never forget this show and the memories I made during our crazy practices. The ending of the season is a bit bittersweet; on one hand, I get more free time and homework time, but on the other hand, I will miss seeing my friends twice a week. It’ll be hard, but I hope next year turns out to be even more fun, and I hope we can place 1st place at championships and earn a banner!   
   

1st Day at SPCA

11/27/2015

me & puppieshttps://twitter.com/ashmellao/status/670478562558803969

Today, I volunteered for my first shift at the SPCA Second Chance Shelter! It was such a great experience, and it made me look forward to coming back. The leaders of the shift were really nice and welcoming. I can’t believe these ladies dedicate their lives to such an arduous cause. They probably have to deal with so many problems with wild people and pets at the shelter, yet they manage to put on a smile every minute. Their attitude is very inspiring, and it shows me that loving your job helps make you happier. Since we were new volunteers, the shift leaders helped give us a sense of what to do. We helped take the small dogs to the yard, and I learned that I am capable of putting the dogs on a leash. Putting a leash around the energetic dogs was a lot harder than I thought it would be. We were supervised carefully, but I did not want to be the volunteer who messes up and accidentally somehow lets a dog get set free and go crazy. I was able to do it, and I felt proud of myself. This will definitely help me get comfortable putting a leash on my future puppy. After this task, the leaders told us there were no more jobs to do. For the rest of the shift, all we had to do was play with the pets throughout the shelter. I was ecstatic when I heard this. Playing with the pets was so much fun, but the greatest part was when Daniel and I played in the puppy pen. There were two puppies which were very tired, so one of them fell asleep in my lap. I was so happy to have a sleepy puppy in my lap; it’s one of the greatest feelings ever. It made me want a pet in the future even more. I know that I can’t wait to come back to the shelter again.

1- Application

11/8/2015

I submitted my application to SPCA to become a volunteer. Honestly, the reason I even considered becoming a volunteer at the SPCA shelter was because my boyfriend told me about the opportunity, and we thought it would be a fun thing to do together while also gaining NHS hours. After filling out the application, I’m very excited to hear back and I really hope I become a volunteer. It would be fun to get NHS hours by working and playing with animals. My mom claims she’s “allergic to cats and dogs,” but I do not believe her. She just says that as an excuse for us to never get a pet. Working at the shelter would give me the chance to play with animals and prepare me in case I ever get a pet, which I hope I can do in the future. The application was a bit more extensive than I thought it would be, which made the application a little more intimidating. I guess the shelter leaders really want to make sure they choose the best volunteers for their shelter, but I have no idea how selective the volunteer program is. I’ll find out after I hear back from them.