One of the things that I love about dance is how it relates to so much else in life! Dance is life! So many things we learn in ballet class teach us great life lessons. And occasionally I learn great lessons from other aspects of life to take with me into ballet class.
What I learned from writing a dissertation that relates to ballet class:
1. Patience. A PhD is not earned in a day. It takes years of work – hard work, long hours, sometimes it’s even painful and emotional. No one learns to dance in a few lessons. Learning to dance takes time. Patience is necessary to combat discouragement.
2. Persistence. There will be failure. It’s not if, it’s when. If you give up with the first failure, there will be no success. Persistence is your good friend. Always keep going, that is the meaning of persistence.
3. Balance. There is a time for work and there is a time for recovery. Some things require full-out no holds barred all out hard work. Then you rest. No one can work full-out all the time. Your body, soul, mind, and heart need time to recover. Balancing out work, play, and rest keep a PhD and a dancer in top form.
4. Celebrations and Punishments. Never celebrate or punish yourself too recklessly. Never celebrate a win or punish a failure in ways that ultimately hurt you. Don’t eat too much, drink too much, or be mean to yourself as a prize or a punishment. Mistakes happen, there are always tons of things to learn and after all, it’s not the end of the world. Celebrate wins in ways that encourage more wins! Like a new leotard instead of a whole cake!
5. Fun. I realize that I usually have a strange sense of what is fun but scholarly work has always been fun for me. That’s why I do it. Ballet is fun. It’s hard. Sweaty. Stinky. Frustrating sometimes. But it’s really really fun. Embrace the fun!
6. Love. Always remember why you are doing what you are doing. I love my dissertation. It’s been a huge pain in my back-end but I do love it. I love ballet class. I will not spoil my love for ballet class with, well… anything. Don’t let bad thoughts, crazy expectations, other people’s stinky attitudes, come between you and your love for dance.
Dissertation Update: My advisor and committee are working on setting a defense date. In a phone call with my advisor from last week, “It’s going to be an easy defense.” From his lips to the PhD gods ears!
Ballet Class Update: I have to tape my foot every single day and I still have pain. I’m completely out of shape because I have indeed stressed too much and not remained balanced through these last few months of dissertating. Going back is going to be very hard and now I believe that I will need to research the benefits and problems of cortisone as a way to manage my permanent injury. One thing for sure, I will dance again.