By Aaliyana Garcia
An essay about the moment I realized who I want to be and how I want to impact the world.
The room was so silent that I could practically hear the thoughts scrambling in my head, almost as if they were bumping into one another. “Don’t screw up.” “Remember to start on the melody, not the harmony.” “Take deep breaths or else your voice will crack.” “Don’t forget to—” but before I could finish my last thought, the colorful lights were on and shining down on me and my band. Nervous and shaking, with sweaty palms, I introduced myself and my wonderful pop rock band. The night couldn’t have gone any better. People were clapping, singing along, recording and, most importantly in my eyes, cheering. People were cheering for me and my band, being loud and screaming at the top of their lungs out of enjoyment for the music that I had just produced. Our first performance ever for my high school’s annual winter performance was a bang! I was on an all-time high, and although I didn’t know what I was doing up until that point, I knew that at that moment I had done something right.
I’ve been in love with performing for as long as I can remember. In third grade I joined my school choir and began singing in talent shows, but that soon grew into something much bigger. We set about doing sponsorships, red carpet premieres, press junkets, radio shows and much more. I took a break in middle school, but soon turned to regret that decision, missing the thrill of being on stage, the late-night practices and last-minute pizza deliveries. I felt as though I had missed three years of valuable time when I could’ve been singing and performing. I felt like I had missed my window, but high school has taught me that I did not miss my opportunity, that there was still time for me to figure out who I want to be and how I wanted to impact the world. Since then I have learned so much about other career paths in the performing arts industry other than music and discovered my love and passion for acting. Entering into the world of my school’s theater program was my way of exploring the realm of musical theater. All it took was one production, The Wolves, in order for me to fall in love with the craft and really dive into the world.
Recently my mother took me to see the Broadway musical Wicked. I had been wanting to go since I was nine, obsessing over the musical and its cast recording since my chorus teacher taught our group “For Good,” a song sung by Glinda and Elphaba. When I heard that song live, it felt like everything came full circle. Tears filled my eyes and this immense weight had lifted off my shoulders, the worry of “what if I wasn’t good enough?,” “am I sure this is what I want to do?,” and “what was plan B if this didn’t work out?” My mother turned to me after the show, wondering what I had thought about it, but all that could come out were sobs. The applause and cheering were nice, but my reason for wanting to make it to Broadway is because I want to make some little girl out there feel the same way that I felt in that theater. With the art I produce, I want to help someone realize their passion and love for the performing arts, to help someone feel that they are not alone, to help people through the motions of life. I want to make a difference in people’s lives the same way that Broadway has made a difference in mine. Shows and plays have helped me feel like I’m not alone. They have helped me deal with my anxiety and submerge myself into a reality that is not my own, relieving the pressure of making it in this world and simply letting me just exist. I finally feel at peace with my decision and can grasp the understanding that this is where I want to be for the rest of my life, with my head buried in a script, creating art.
Before I was blessed with my amazing mentor Rachel, I struggled to come up with a theme for my personal statement for college applications. Initially, when setting out to write my personal statement, I saw it as an assignment, not as a story I wanted to tell. I have about 13 drafts in my Google Docs right now of different personal statements: ones with different themes, different perspectives, different approaches. I finally landed on this idea thanks to my work with Rachel and a Girls Write Now college writing workshop. Writing about my desire to perform musical theatre made me fall in love with my craft more and more as I kept working on this essay.
Aaliyana Garcia is a bright senior that is obsessed with the art of theater and vocal performance. She loves indulging herself in books, astrology, fiction writing/poetry and performing arts. Her dream one day is to become a Broadway star in hopes of inspiring those to take the stage alongside her. She grew up in Washington Heights as a Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican that speaks no Spanish but is surrounded by her culture.