Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. While for many, this word might bring back vivid memories of watching a nanny creepily fall out of the sky, for me, it connects me back to my experiences as a gymnast and the important lessons so deeply ingrained in me because of them. The Mary Poppins Medley was the name of my floor routine music; a lovely arrangement of “Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilistic-” and “Jolly Holiday,” among others. Putting my coach’s interesting choice of music and choreography aside, I loved the medley; performing the routine was my time to feel powerful, independent, superior. It was my two minutes of fame, two minutes of knowing I could wow the audience by doing something they couldn’t do. It was the two minutes that I was the best at something and allowed me to be proud of it.
I did gymnastics for as long as I can remember—I was practically doing somersaults as soon as I could walk. I began taking lessons in elementary school, and soon started to compete in state competitions. I joined my school’s Varsity team in 7th grade, after deciding that six days a week at the 92nd Street Y was definitely not doing wonders for my social life. On Varsity, I practiced four days a week, competing with other schools around NYC in beam, bars, vault and floor.
We all have a sport that we are good at. Maybe mine was gymnastics because it was just meant to be, or maybe it was because I never seemed to make it into the 5-foot club. (Still not a member). Either way, there was nothing better than finishing a routine and presenting the judge with that huge smile as everyone cheered. By the end of my senior year, I had been through many bruises, callouses, and a few too many splits on the beam. But by then I had also received many awards, ribbons and trophies. At my final championship meet, I placed first on my team and third all-around among all the others. I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment and pride that day.
It was really fun being at the top of the totem pole, and truly gave me a huge boost of self-esteem. Who doesn’t want to be #1? But when I left my tiny high school and ended my gymnastics career to join the real world, I was terrified to learn that there was no longer anything I was “the best” at. But now I realize that it is all okay. It was definitely scary going to college and realizing that there were so many other people out there smarter than me in class. It was also definitely scary coming to my first internship and seeing how many people wrote and phone-pitched better than I did. But from these experiences, I have learned that while being the best at something is great, so is having more experienced people to look up to. How else could I be able to learn the PR lingo, build word clouds, and media monitor so gracefully?! On a serious note, I am so eager to continue gaining as much knowledge as I can this summer, and am so grateful for the lessons MWW has already taught me!