It’s officially been a decade since Kenny Ortega and his crew graced us with the classic summertime DCOM, High School Musical 2. That’s right, ten whole years have passed from the precious moment Troy gifted that “T” necklace to Gabriella, which has left me waiting for a “Z” necklace from Zac Efron ever since. (Yep, half of my life has flown by, but I’m still sitting tight.)
If there’s anything I’ve learned from the hours I’ve dedicated to being a HSM fanatic, it’s to pursue your passions, unafraid of what anyone else will think. Even when the basketball boys were hating and the science squad was judging, Troy and Gabriella followed their love of music and each other. Now, I have a bit of an embarrassing confession to make, but in the spirit of my forever role models, I’m coming clean.
No, I don’t actually play the cello. But in high school, I was known as an athlete. I was on the varsity swim team for five years and captain of the team my senior year. Within the standards of the (not so competitive) high school league, I was pretty good! I even have a photograph that looks like I beat Olympian Lia Neal, though she was actually lapping me. But it looks like I'm ahead in the picture!
OK, I'll get back to the point now. Long story short, I was a decent athlete. I would make announcements to the school about meets, and my face was plastered across the hallways before big competitions. But in dedicating myself to swimming, I was overlooking another huge passion of mine: music.
I've always really loved music, and I wanted to try to pursue it outside of my bedroom more than anything. In the past, I've played a few instruments, written my own material, and sang. Though I enjoyed all of that, I really wanted to know what it was like to perform in front of a crowd.
When a couple of girls from my high school tried to put together a rock band, I desperately wanted to be a part of it. After many sleepless nights and second guessing everything, I ultimately decided to join the group. However, I didn't really talk about it with anyone other than my closest friends and the other girls in the band.
I wish I could say say that I immediately felt comfortable and confident with my decision, but that would be a lie. I was terrified that people were going to judge me for doing something different.
Our first performance at our high school was to welcome the new students, and it was a total mess. I was so awkward and practically froze up the moment I walked onto the stage. When the show was over, a science teacher tried to politely encourage me to relax and smile more when I'm in front of a crowd. I can't even imagine what I looked like up there!
I was determined to try again. I refused to let my musical career come to a close as quickly as it began. But there was one major problem: Our next performance was on the same night as my swimming championships.
Many swim practices and band rehearsals later, we reached the big day, but I was still without a solid plan. I woke up that morning and stuffed my swimsuit and my concert clothes into my school bag. I spent all day staring at the clock and hoping for the best.
First came championships. I went to the meet directly from school and I swam my heart out. I had much more adrenaline than usual, so I even won my longest event, the 500m freestyle, and beat my best time. When the meet was over, I ran to the locker room and threw on my dry clothes. My band was set to be one of the last performances of the night, and I was praying that I'd make it. Oh and yes, my hair was still soaking wet from the pool.
After tons of stress and anxiety, I made it to my show with a few minutes to spare. So worried about being late, I didn't even have time to stress about the crowd! I came onto the stage with my band and rushed to mentally prepare myself to give it my all.
That night felt surreal. Singing in front of the chill crowd, I just felt happy and accomplished. I loved every moment of that show, and by the time I walked off the stage, I felt like I could do anything.
I suppose you could say that I'm just the female version of Troy Bolton.