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My grades this semester are a reflection of how much more effort I put into extracurricular activities and my social life than I did my schoolwork.

I am not blaming anyone at all, though, and I leave my junior year behind with my head held high.

Even though everyone knows how seriously I take my schooling, I have to say that though I may not have reached my full potential academically, I surely overcame a hell of a lot this term and am truly proud of myself.

For those of you who know me well, I am sure you know that this semster was more than a handful for me. I was enrolled fulltime, working my first job, pressured into joining a pageant (take a moment to absorb that last bit) . . . And sorting out what I needed to so could go abroad for the summer. All of this meanwhile trying to find internships for my last year and build up my portfolio by writing articles for the city’s newspaper.

If it sounds like a mouthful imagine doing it.

The pageant took up almost too much of my time. We had practice every day for close to three months, sometimes going as late as two in the morning. Because of it, my Editing teacher actually looked at me one day and said “You are late to class every single day. What is it? Are you late to every class like this? If I was to write you a recommendation letter that’s the first thing I’d have to say.”

Needless to say, that made me feel quite shitty awful. But it being a 9 a.m. class on Monday and Wednesday made it slightly hard to be early, what with being up late mostly learning how to dance, walk and speak loudly.

I admit it was a huge commitment, and though many times I found myself wanting to quit, I didn’t. I overcame my shyness, even just for a bit, and managed to string together all the bits and pieces of courage I had inside to sing before an audience. (Yes, that’s right. For my talent I chose to sing. Believe it.)

Not only was it my first time singing to anyone at all, but it was also my first time on stage alone. My nerves were seconds away from getting the best of me, forcing me to walk right off the stage and throw away all of my hard work. But something put me on that stage. Something helped me keep my calm as I realised halfway through the first verse that my mic was not on. Something kept me going through the dance practices that reinforced why I have never joined a dance team, and in the end, I made it. I made it through the long practices, the choreographed dancing, the poised walking, the loud animated talking . . . and came out a better person.

Now, here I am; writing to you from Sydney as the current Miss CSA one day away from starting my very first internship with a weekly news magazine. I left the pageant with new friends, the semester with new skills and the country with new destinations before me.

To say it all came together in the end would not do enough justice.

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