No one wants to feel alone. When I arrived at Cal Poly to begin my first quarter of college I felt excited, eager to study, pleased with my increased independence—I felt anything but alone. The first few weeks of college life were filled with meeting new people and adjusting to a new schedule. After those weeks passed, the euphoria of beginning life as a college student was replaced with stress from studying and depression from a social life that consisted mainly of smile-and-nod greetings. I felt as though everyone around me was quickly becoming good friends, especially on those weekend nights when the majority of people in my dormitory dressed up to go party and drink alcohol. I felt alone. I missed my friends that I left at home, I missed having Friday night plans, and I missed dancing salsa.
Then I noticed the stakes set up around campus, those brightly colored beacons advertising Friday night salsa dancing on campus. The very next Friday evening I found myself wandering around campus, searching for the Architecture building, where the salsa dancing took place. I heard the music before I found the right room. The trills of the trumpets grew louder as I followed the music, and when I walked into the dim room I was enveloped by the passionate and lively atmosphere. I felt my body begin sway to the beat as I watched the dancers on the floor (and on the side) having so much fun. As I put on my dance shoes I felt a thrill of anticipation course through my body. I was nervous about asking people to dance, but despite my being new, someone asked me to dance at once. The exhilaration of dancing drove my nerves away, and as I spun and stepped to the music, the accumulated stress dissolved and the feeling of being alone disappeared.
Dancing every Friday night kept my spirits up throughout my first quarter of college. It broke up the monotony of everyday life and provided a temporary escape from reality. On Friday nights, my world shrunk to the size of the dance room and my only worry was stepping on someone’s foot. By regularly attending Friday night salsa, I met many people who have become good friends because salsa dancing is a passion that we share. The days I spent on campus became more fun because I recognized more people and I often found friends to sit with for lunch. I eventually joined the CP Salsa club, which I think is one of the smartest things I have done since coming to college.
Salsa dancing has greatly improved the quality of my life. I have become more self-confident. My social life grew, and in turn I became more open and friendlier. I have a positive way to relieve any stress from school, and I spend time participating in something that I love. Salsa dancing is a hobby that I will enjoy for the rest of my life. Wherever I go I will be able to meet and connect with other salsa dancers. I will be able to enjoy myself no matter what hardships come up in my daily life. I believe that having a passionate hobby is an integral part of becoming a happy person.
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