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Dancing My Way Through It: Shannon Soboslay’s Senior Column

“The lamest person at a party is the person who isn’t dancing.”

— Shannon Soboslay 

I joined Onward State my freshman year and remember reading senior columns thinking, “Why the heck are these people so sad?” Since then, I have come to realize that graduating from college is perhaps the saddest thing in the world. 

Looking back on my four years at Penn State, I have so much to be grateful for. Even saying that I had the opportunity to spend four years at a good college makes me feel pretty grateful. I had good grades, great friends, and so many amazing memories. But I feel like I deserve to finally give myself some credit, too. 

In my first year or so here, I didn’t have too many good friends and definitely felt a little lost at times. I was always so worried that I wasn’t “cool” enough for people, and they wouldn’t want to hang out with me. I was too busy thinking about how I looked or what I was saying to realize how much I was missing out on. I never felt like I was “good enough” for other people.  To solve that, I started dancing at parties. 

I know that sounds stupid, but dancing at parties is the purest form of not giving a crap about what’s happening around you. You just let go, have a good time, and your biggest problem is running out of breath and not being able to scream the lyrics as loud as you possibly can. If you look at someone’s face while they’re dancing at a party, it’s just bliss. You don’t care what you look like or if people are watching you, and you definitely don’t need to be a good dancer to break it down.

I’ve kind of taken this weird advice I made up for myself and tried to live through it in every way possible. Oddly, dancing my way through parties has helped me figure out a lot about confidence and being myself, which is something I have always struggled with. In a world where there is always someone to compare yourself to, it’s hard to like yourself and want to be you. It’s hard to wake up every morning and be happy in your own skin. But there is a point where you need to really look at yourself and think about all the good parts of yourself that you do like. Give yourself credit for all those great parts about yourself and use them to fuel the way you look and talk about yourself.

I have always been someone who listens, and I have always made the effort to be the best friend possible to those I care about deeply. These are two things that I finally feel like I have given myself credit for and say with confidence. 

Being a part of Onward State for the past four years and ending my career by photographing the best I probably ever have at the Michigan State football game, I finally am giving myself credit for being a damn good photographer.  

I’m not afraid to say what I think or feel, and maybe sometimes I offer up an unpopular opinion. But hey, I said what I wanted and didn’t agree just for the sake of how it made me look. I am finally giving myself credit for all the times I put myself out there. 

Choosing to dance through everything that college has thrown at me has made me a better person, and I will continue to dance through whatever else life has in store. I’ll make sure that I am always myself and keep trying to find the good parts of myself that make the dance easier. 

Now that this chapter of my life is coming to an end, I’ll have to find some new things to dance about, but I’ll always remember how fun this one was. 

In a year that I didn’t feel at home in my own life, I still chose to dance through it. I filled the gaps with laughter, memories, and friends that have been the greatest support system ever. 

At the end of the day, I am good at being myself.

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About the Author

Shannon Soboslay

Shannon is a Sophomore at Penn State with an undecided major. She's from the great city of Pittsburgh, and you can usually find her spreading an even amount of jelly on one slice of toast with an even amount of peanut butter on the other. Contact her at [email protected] or shansobo on all social media sources

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