Author: Kayleigh Fay

How UConn Fit into a Lifetime of Dance

When I was three years old, my grandparents bought a VHS of “Feet of Flames,” an Irish dance show. The first time I watched it I was mesmerized. By the 23rd time I asked for lessons, and my lifelong passion for Irish dance began. My competitive years have been comprised of highs and lows, but where it is somewhat atypical is that college has been its highest point. While many dancers find it difficult to continue dancing after high school, I have been able to continue to improve due to the support of my dance teachers, my UConn community, my family, and the opportunities that exist at UConn. I have been able achieve goals I had at one time given up on, and set new ones that I never before dreamed would be possible.

My senior year of high school I emailed the Gray School of Irish Dance to ask if I could train with them. I had not attended a dance class in four years, but they were happy to take me on as a student. One of their dancers who also attended UConn agreed to bring me with her to the studio and invited me to join UConn Irish, an on campus organization.

UConn Irish
UConn Irish

Upon joining, I was welcomed and essentially handed 35 new friends. UConn Irish members range from complete beginners to a mini-community of competitive dancers who are still actively training and support each other in the quest for practice space on campus. It is one of the most accepting clubs on campus and has been an integral part of my college experience. This year, I have the opportunity to help the club grow and develop as a Co-President and Co-Choreographer, and I could not be more excited.

The most surprising opportunity that I received while at UConn was the ability to focus my Honors Thesis around dance. Starting at Orientation, everyone Honors student hears about the giant paper they will have to write before the end of their senior year. Some upperclassmen truly enjoy the experience and are excited to tell you about their project, while others share horror stories. Regardless, the process of finding a mentor, completing a project, and writing upwards of 50 pages about it is quite intimidating. Last semester, I had the idea to tie my major in Nutritional Sciences and my passion together and teach Sports Nutrition classes at my dance studio. With the help of my advisors, Dr. Hedley Freake and Dr. Nancy Rodriguez, I applied for a grant from the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) and received funding Continue reading

Exam Week Survival Guide

Right around the time of the first wave of midterms, you start to see a change on campus. Once fresh faces start to look tired and stressed, caffeine consumption goes through the roof, and late night orders to insomnia are at an all-time high as students try, through any means necessary, to prepare for their exams. Stress is a natural part of college and will likely continue to be a part of our lives after we graduate. It can push us to be more focused, work harder, and accomplish incredible things. Too much stress, however, can negatively impact academic performance, mental health, sleep patterns, immune function, and many other aspects physical health. Worrying about an exam is one thing, but when your stress levels spike to a nine out of ten for your first midterm and then stay at a nine until winter break, it becomes very likely that you’ll start to see some of these negative side effects. Studying is only a part of college, and it’s important to remember to enjoy your time here at UConn. So, on that note, here are some on-campus resources for stress management:

Yoga, Lyn Tally
Flickr: Lyn Tally
  1. The Relaxation Station.  Health Education offers a relaxation area that includes full body massagers, massaging back rests, and more. They also offer resources on how not to sweat the small stuff, such as aroma therapy and relax packs. Stop by Wilson Hall to visit the relaxation station.
  2. Special events. Also provided by the Health Education Office in Wilson arespecial events like free massages, pet therapy days, and progressive muscle relaxation workshops. Check out their calendar for more info.
  3. Clubs. There are plenty of clubs on campus that focus on activities that relieve stress including the Yoga Club, Knitting club, and the Stamina, Energy and Exercise Club. You can find more information on UConntact.
  4. Recreation. Exercise is a fantastic way to relieve stress. Student Recreation Services offers Intramurals, hiking and camping trips through UConn Outdoors, and Bodywise classes that include Yoga, Spinning, Cardio-Kick, Zumba, Pilates, and Stretch and Sculpt. Go to the Recreation website for more info.

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