Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Everybody's Doing It!

Writing ELPs are great because…
They’re cool!  Units! Everybody’s doing it! A reason to go to the library!
Seriously; writing ELPs are great because the process has been both personally and professionally rewarding. The ELP writing process has proven I do know more than I know, it gives me the opportunity to get some much desired academic credit, and I’ve now begun to read articles in magazines, texts, and newspapers with a whole new perspective. J
As “cool” as writing the ELPs has been, the process has been like expecting my brain to run a 2nd marathon while doing 90 second planks every 3 miles. I’ve written papers before, I’ve run several marathons, I do planks all the time, and I’ve spent plenty of time thinking about  my life, but if someone expected me to go and run a marathon while throwing in some planks, without proper training,  I know I wouldn’t be a success. However, if there happened to be a college for “brain-planking-marathons” I’d sign up, take the course, and kick some “brain-planking-marathon” bootay!
As fun as a “brain-planking-marathon” sounds, I am sure it would be about as “fun” as the ELP writing process has been…not exactly fun, but definitely rewarding! Now that the finish line is in sight, and my brain is finally realizing that all the hard work and trust in the process is paying off, I’m beginning to realize:
I CAN do it!
Though writing the ELPs has been challenging, the process has been reflective, enlightening, humbling, and helpful for what I intend to be doing professionally in the future. The process has helped me hone much needed organizational skills for conveying information and putting my ideas into focus, along with affording me a lesson in time efficiency.  
Another enjoyable, yet totally unexpected, side effect of the ELP writing process is I now have a better understanding why I prefer some articles compared to other that I read in health, fitness, and running magazine. The most enjoyable articles are the most organized ones; they possess an air of professionalism and authority, without being stuffy. I’ve noticed many of the articles that flow with ease, have clarity, and follow a Kolb-esque format. The articles have the ability to hold an expert’s interest while engaging a recreational enthusiast. That’s exactly the type of writer I want to be. J
Thinking about why it’s great writing ELPs, made me realize, the discomfort the process brought in the beginning, is now beginning to bring me almost as much enjoyment as a really great workout:
Starting the process is the hardest part, getting down to business and writing is a test of confidence, strength, and endurance, I don’t exactly enjoy doing it, but I’ve felt a deep sense of pride and satisfaction each time I’ve completed one. J
“Hard work, a little discomfort, humbling realizations of weakness...Must remember it will all be worth it. Move your body, exercise your mind, challenge yourself and thank the people who support you.”
-Melissa Adylia Calasanz
-Melissa Adylia Calasanz
-Melissa Adylia Guteirrez
Learning Process Paper from PPA LEAP100 Course

"The Process" can be a Rabid Monster!

Everyone has weaknesses; finishing the last ELP was mine. Or so I thought. What the heck is my problem?! “Trust the Process…” My A**!
The process mocked me! It tormented me! It was a nightmare! I obsessed over it! It was more personally humiliating than crying in class. Really?...
"The Process"
; )

The moment I sent ELP #1, the obsessing began again.
I thought I had given myself permission to send “ten pages of crap” after I spent over six hours thinking “I just couldn’t make it come together.” I was obsessing about clarity, credibility, and the peer review. However, my obsessing was more a symptom of something much deeper. Anger! Frustration! Helplessness! Something I didn’t realize till we were reviewing my paper in class. I was trying to control a paper that really didn’t need any strong-arming, because I am losing control.
I spend so much of my life taking care of other people’s bodies, with the care and consideration I give my own. I am the cheerleader, the motivator, the inspiration to so many people. No one sees my weaknesses. I refuse to show them to the public; why burden others when I am certain they have enough baggage to deal with too.  However, on Monday night’s I find myself an open book-basket case, crying for no reason.
Perhaps it’s the odd, intimate anonymity the PPA class provides that gives me the venue to be a blubbering mess. No one in the PPA class has any expectations of me, except for me. None of my peers know of my accomplishments, failures, hopes, or dreams. I am just that girl who sits in the same seat each week. It’s comforting, knowing that no one there expects anything of me. It’s liberating knowing I can just be human, weak…no one will judge me because they don’t care, but…I NEED someone to care! Not the students; I don’t need them to care about my papers, my education, my past, or my future. I need a doctor! A doctor who will give a shit about me the way I’ve cared about my clients. A health care practitioner who will follow up, show concern, check in and see how the tests are going or let me know any findings.
What does this have to do with class? Well, it was while reading my paper at the same time the others were reading it. I read it through their eyes: Unbiased, and without expectations. Halfway through reading it, I felt a bit of pride. That was a surprise! It felt good. I really do know my stuff, have tons of experience, and nothing but success with my clients. How great is that?! Well, it’s great, but then I began to feel sad…then mad.
I’m mad! No matter how well I have cared for my body, something is wrong and I can’t find a health care provider who gives a shit! The doctors are perplexed when they see me, send me off for more tests, but do they ever check in to see how I am? Do the show concern? Hell no! They don’t give a shit! And it pisses me off!
The bottom line is that the last class, the peer review, and the paper brought to my attention that I do know more than I know, I did a pretty good job of conveying information, and I’m excited to integrate the suggestions from peer review into my paper. The class also made me aware that one of the main reasons I am so successful is because I CARE! I care about each client that comes to me and trusts me with their time, their health, and their future physical well-being. I am frustrated with the lack of concern that well-paid, highly capable people in the health care industry are lacking in something I take great pride in: caring about the individuals that come to them.
Yep, it’s really not about the paper, but this paper is a part of my future…

-Melissa Adylia Calasanz
-Melissa Adylia Gutierrez
Learning Process Paper from PPA LEAP 100 Course

Trust the Process...

“Trust the process…” That is what I must do.
I have been an instructor, teacher, and motivator to many amazingly capable people over the years. My work in the health and fitness industry has put me in the position to impact many people’s lives in a positive way.
The experiences I enjoy while working in the health and fitness industry continue to reward me daily. Last night was no exception. However, I was not rewarded while working with a client or by doing some insanely challenging workout, I received my gift by realizing that I needed to practice what I preach:
“Trust the process…”
Oh, how many times have I spoken those words to my clients over the years! 
Now it’s my turn to “trust the process.”
Clients come to me thinking that I have the answers they need. These people trust me with their lives. They share their secrets, their insecurities, and they are willing to have me be the witness to their weaknesses. Little do they know, it is not answers they seek from me, it is the experience of being capable of achieving what they have been too frightened to tackle. I am their guide, their mentor, and their educator; the one who will dish out tough love when they want to give up. I am the one who guides them through the process enough times till the process becomes a habit, then a lifestyle. I am the one who will be there at the finish line, and will always be available when they need help getting back on track.
Since establishing myself as a business owner, the creator of Controlled Burn Fitness, and a driving force in the health and fitness industry, not once have I questioned my knowledge, my process, or my ability to help my clients achieve their health and fitness goals. Not once have I been intimidated by training highly educated business people, peers in the health and fitness industry, or Olympic athletes. Not once have I lacked confidence while being measured up to other fitness professionals, nor have I questioned my ability to successfully convey the knowledge I possess.
So why did I have a moment last night where I was petrified?
The answer:
Because I was/am in school/college. 
School/college is the one place I have failed. L
My clients’ successes give me so much pride.
I am proud, not only of their accomplishments, but I am also proud of what I have accomplished. My client’s successes are the fruit of what I have created. It is my process that they have trusted, and it is their success that validates what I do.
I have to trust the process my professor is helping me with in order to succeed in this program. I have to trust this process will help illuminate my strengths, showcase my knowledge, and nurture my ability to complete these papers.
A healthy, happy and fit lifestyle cannot be handed to a client in the form of answers. Just like I cannot expect my professor to hand me the answers on how to edit and make decisions with revisions.
A healthy, happy and fit lifestyle is attained through experience. Finishing the first PLAP and subtopic was a great experience-a bit frightening, definitely and education, but still, a great experience.
Nothing makes me happier than to witness my clients’ progress throughout their process, and to see them become strong, capable, and trusting in their own self worth, physical ability and discipline.
I am continually rewarded by the joy the process of positively impacting their lives always brings to me, and I trust that my professor has my best interest and success in mind while helping us through this process.
-Melissa Adylia Calasanz
-Melissa Adylia Gutierrez
Learning Process Paper from PPA LEAP100 Course

Re-igniting Fires! Stories come from experience!

Last night’s PPA Class was a great experience.
It re-ignited a fire in me that has been sitting on the back burner for far too long. By interviewing Evan and seeing him begin to examine the journeys he’s been on, it reminded me how the process of storytelling has been so rewarding to me. It was great to witness his hesitation, and it was wonderful to be able to spur him on and let him know there are people who would want to know his story.  If he writes, even a little bit, the way he talks, I know I’d want to read more! He comes across as witty, thoughtful, articulate, and humble, and I bet his stories would be captivating. I wanted to know more, I wanted to ask more questions, I was just like all the people who used to pull stories out of me.
As I was driving home from class, I began to talk to myself. I spoke out load and with confidence; telling my story as if I was sharing an adventure, the way I’ve done so many times while on planes, on trails, in campers cabins, and in communal kitchens. I’ve always had a knack of drawing people in while sharing my adventures. It always surprises me when people ask me to continue with my stories. “Tell me more…then what happened?” and “Did you ever see him again?” are questions I’ve heard so many times. Even when I’ve exhausted myself, and think there’s no way this person wants me to keep babbling about airplane sized mosquitoes, trench foot, and water spouts, they continue to ask for more.
The fascination in people’s eyes when I would tell them about where I had been, where I was going, and why I was on my way, would fuel me. The look on my captive audience’s face was so similar to the eyes of people who I used to hypnotize with my body, my movements, my ability, while I was a dancer. 
There is something so powerful, humbling and exciting about being able to transport a person to places where I’ve been. Stories come from experience; my experiences have all been adventures, my adventures have all contained personal epiphanies, and all of my personal epiphanies have coincided with my wilderness adventures.
This PPA Class comes as I’m embarking on several journeys. Journey #1: I’m jumping back on the trail, of formal education, that I left a long time ago. No one ever gave me a map. I had no idea where to purchase one, but thankfully I have found my way back, thanks to much inquiry, and by surrounding myself with productive and supportive people. Journey #2: I am trying to recover from the loss of my most recent identity of being a Business Owner, after losing my fitness studio to a fire in May. This event spurred me on to pursue the LEAP Program. I had been on the fence about pursuing it, out of fear of my ability, or lack of ability, to succeed in a Formal Education program. Journey #3: Taking a Hike! I need to disappear in order to find myself. Anytime I’ve ever been on the brink of a new and intimidating personal journey, I’ve made it a point to head out on a physical, solitary adventure. I’ve found these getaways to be so helpful with gaining perspective on my intentions and expectations, and these adventures give me uninterrupted time to really map out a plan of action.
Last night’s class highlighted the fact that all of my adventures, both personal and physical, required a shift in perspective, a testing of my comfort levels, and throwing myself headfirst in to the unknown. It also proved that the process of personal exploration, required during the PPA Class, is really going to be a trip…

Can’t wait! J
-Melissa Adylia Calasanz
-Melissa Adylia Gutierrez

Learning Process Paper #2  from PPA LEAP100 Class

Looking Back to See Where I'm Going

Three years ago, I felt I had finally come to where I was supposed to be. I was a proud business owner; I loved my clients and couldn’t wait to start each day. I had finally come to terms that I was content with being single and that I had achieved as much as anyone, with my familial, cultural, and educational background, could achieve.
I am happily aware that I am still in the process of learning about myself. I’m realizing, learning about myself will always be an adventure. Just look up “Adventure” in the dictionary! It’s defined as “an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.” The only thing certain about this process is, the day I stop writing my Developmental Autobiography will be the day that I die.
It’s been a bit overwhelming to realize how much emotions were stirred while re-visiting my developmental journey. I have a tendency to become overwhelmed with too much information, too many options, and without clear direction. When investigating my past, I realized there is so much tied into my relationships with my ability to learn, my relationship with dance, my desire for adventure, and my desire for a stable and loving home. It’s the relationships I have with those components that have gotten me to where I am today, embracing yet another adventure.
I had no map and no one was asking me for directions when I embarked on my personal journey towards being a Fitness Professional, Business owner, and Wife. I had spent much of my life waiting for the future to happen to me, or the end to come. I was content either way. I had no regrets, and figured that my life had already been filled with so many wonderful adventures that I should not want for anything else.
Looking back, just 3 years later, I know I was trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t want form more. I’d been fortunate enough to have experienced glorious amounts of romance during my traveling days. Kisses atop glaciated mountains in Tasmania; 2 gents at one time following me across the country trying to win my affection; flights to Las Vegas for amazing 13 course meals and Jimmy Choos, songs written for me; dishes made for the menus of amazing restaurants in order to woo me; a fine man who hiked 15 miles to bring me a bottle of wine and then sent a Coast Guard boat to bring me back to the island the next week for my dream meal. I knew that none of the married women I knew could say they had experienced such romance. But I wanted more.
I secretly yearned to share a home with a wonderful man who would inspire me, grow with me, challenge me, and be happy eating the wonderful meals I would be cooking with the beautiful things that I would grow in our garden. I had been convinced by my peers that I had set my standards too high and that I would never find anyone who would live up to the expectations I had set for a husband. Many people said that I was setting my sights too high in order to set myself up for failure. Most of what they said I believed was true, because part of me believed that I wasn’t worthy of a man who would be deserving of such a great woman. I never really felt worthy of pursuing the type of man I wanted. Even though I knew I’d be wonderfully loving, devoted, and hardworking, I felt inadequate for not having completed college.
Having been a successful Fitness Professional for over 10 years and by becoming a business owner, many people had assumed that I did have a college education. All of my clients and Fitness Professionals who have read my bio and resume are aware of all my well respected certifications. Many assumed I also had a degree. It was not until I had announced I was going to be enrolling in the LEAP Program that I found out how others perceived me. Many of my clients wondered why I wanted to get another degree. Many of them assumed that I already had a Sports Medicine or Kinesiology Degree considering the knowledge I possessed and the success they had achieved while I’ve been their Personal Trainer. I was flattered with the impression they had of me, and happy with how satisfied they are working with me. But instead of feeling proud, I felt like a fraud.
When I told them I had not completed college, they figured it was because I was a professional dancer. I’ve had no problem letting them believe that. Sadly, the truth is that even though dancing is one of the most demanding things anyone can ever do, it was actually the easy way out for me. The mere idea of trying to go back to college was more frightening than the idea of juggling rabid bob cats.
I’ve always found learning and retaining information to be a very challenging, although rewarding, endeavor. My outward confidence; my ability to articulate ideas and convey information as a well respected, knowledgeable Fitness Professional and (now former) Business Owner; and my broad range of knowledge, betrays the fact that I’m lacking in formal education. It has not been my lack of enthusiasm to seek knowledge that has kept me without a degree, but it has been my lack of degree that has left me with a lack of confidence. I did go to college for a time, but I did not stay long enough to get a degree. I pursued a dance career, but to be completely honest, I really didn’t know what else to do.
I was always on the move but never had a clue where I was going. I had barely realized that I had graduated from high school when I found myself enrolled, with a full course load at Glendale Community College, thanks to the Fine Arts Grants my Photography and Ceramics teachers had applied for on my behalf. I’m sure most kids would have been jumping for joy at this opportunity, considering the praise they would have gotten from parents, family, and friends. Sadly, I had none of those things. The Grandmother who had raised me had suffered a stroke a year earlier, and my mother had gone off the deep end, leaving me with nowhere to live. This situation didn’t leave much for celebration, nor did it help to give me any direction. Not once was I asked by my family, “What do you want to be when you grow up.” I had never considered an option, any options. So when the scholarships came my way, I went to college, but with no clue where I was going.
Not once did anyone suggest I see an academic counselor; I didn’t even know they existed. I was just told to enroll in all the required Fine Arts classes. So I did. Not once did anyone ask how I was supposed to complete these classes while living on my own, working 40 hours a week, managing a retail store in the Glendale Galleria. Not once did someone ask how I was going to manage my time between work, studying, and classes, while not having a car, and not having any roommates, friends, or family to help.
I appeared to have it all in the eyes of my living-at-home fellow students. Looking back, I can see why no one bothered to ask. I’m sure they figured I knew what I was doing, because I was doing it. Little did they know, I was failing. Not just my classes, but personally too. I felt so lost, and so out of control. I had no idea how life was to be done. I knew how to pay bills, how to get up and go to work, and cook great meals, thanks to my Grandma being an excellent example of great work ethic. But sadly, no one prepared me for college and living alone. No one in my family had done that. Still, no one in my family has done any of this, except for me. I was so young, and so alone, and so badly wanted to still be taken care of, but that was no longer an option.
When I realized that I was not going to succeed in the college classes I had enrolled in, I didn’t want to admit it. No one knew but me. I still appeared to be such an “adult.” I had a great job, by the standards of an under 21 year old college student. My bills were paid, I had freedom, I had dates, I had paid to put braces on my teeth, and I could come and go as I pleased. I was independent; something my Grandmother took great pride in. My Grandmother, a very hard working immigrant from Mexico City, who was proud to become an American, and worked for Lockheed for over 20 years, always stressed how important it was to never depend on anyone, especially a man. She was so proud to be the first (and only) woman in our family who got a divorce, lived on her own, and cut her hair, so “I would never be a stupid, subservient, wet back.” I wanted to be as independent as my Grandma since she was no longer around to enjoy her freedom.
I may have been independent, but really, I was just alone. What I really wanted was to feel confident, safe, and happy. I needed some direction. I wanted some direction. I wanted to feel confident, competent, I wanted a home…I wanted to go back to dance class.
Some could easily call it a regression to go back to a safe place. I like to think it was a brilliant survival instinct! What I was really craving was direction and discipline. A great dance program definitely delivers that! Most college students can’t wait to be on their own, but I was on my own without choice, at age 17. When college and my new independence became tough, I craved the structured atmosphere that I remembered from when I was young. I started skipping my academic classes and started going to Ballet Classes instead. I loved the discipline and the learning process. You don’t think, you “DO.” I loved being told what to do. I didn’t have to think, I just had to do well and all was right with the world. By giving up all the control in the dance studio, it gave me the power and the confidence to take control of my life for the first time ever. Or so I thought.
Dance also gave me the perfect substitute for an intense personal and physically rewarding relationship, which was perfect for someone who couldn’t afford to get too close to anyone. I thank dance for keeping me out of “trouble.” Dance class was the parents that I never had. In a dance class I had demanding, disciplined, and beautiful ballet mistresses who were confident and elegant and gave me plenty of attention. In ballet classes I had handsome dance masters that were masculine, demanding, yet unattainable. Dance was the easiest hard thing I have ever loved to do. I danced when I was happy, I danced when I was sad, I danced when I needed attention, and I danced when I wanted to be alone. Dance was my lover, my mentor, and my teacher. Dance became an adventure.
I have always been drawn to adventures. Since I was a young girl, I was always reading adventure and survival stories. I loved reading about new cultures and exotic places; different countries, food, drink, religion, and rituals. As I became a stronger dancer, more doors opened and I was exposed to new styles of dance, new cultures, new rituals, just like in the adventures I had read about. But I was never completely satisfied exploring these new experiences through dance. It was as if I always had a chaperone, and couldn’t really let go to enjoy the journey. Looking back, it was if I were an adolescent finally wanting to leave the nest. I wanted to spread my wings and explore the horizons. I wanted to explore the world without my parents. I wanted an adventure away from dance.
The transition was difficult; probably more difficult than leaving the nest of parental figures. By this time, dance was not only my family structure; it was my identity, my income, my excitement.  At this point dance was becoming my torment. I still loved dancing but I knew that dance careers are short lived. I also knew I wanted something more.
Dance had been the vehicle to so many wonderful life experiences and it had become a great excuse for why I had not finished college, but it was also keeping me from enjoying other things. It was around this time when I became aware that short lived dance contracts weren’t good for setting up great patterns for cultivating lasting relationships. Three months here. Six months there. Hello Goodbye.
Life was beginning to feel a bit creepy and impersonal. I was always keeping boyfriends at arm’s length because the contract could end at any time and I didn’t want to have to deal with goodbyes. Yet, I wanted more. But part of me knew that the “more” I wanted would be a shame to the Grandma I missed and loved so much. I wanted a relationship with a wonderful, respectable man, I wanted to have a stable home, I wanted to cook and care for the ones I loved. I knew I couldn’t have the “more” if I kept the dance. And if I had the “more” I wanted, it would disgust the memory of my Grandmother.
Then, dance was gone. Just as fast as my Grandma was. I was injured. I felt that dance had sent me divorce papers. As if I had been thinking of cheating on it and it found out. I hadn’t planned on my dance career being over before 30. I wanted to tell dance “I take it back! I wasn’t going to leave you! Give me at least 5 more years! Please give me another chance!” But just like when my Grandma had her stroke, I had no choice. Dance was gone, and so was my career, along with my identity, and my income, and my comfort. But this time, I had something else. I had passion, I had savings, I had my work ethic, I had my personality, I had experience and I had freedom. I had the freedom that comes with choice. I chose to be alone.
My solitude lasted a very long time. About 5 years. I learned a lot during that time. I learned to slow down, I looked before I leapt. I started making decisions vs scrambling for the next life preserver. I started spending more time alone in the wilderness. I learned to be still, to be quiet; to observe. When I would come back to reality and spend time with people, I would hold onto the stillness that I found when outside; it gave me the calm and clarity to observe others. I learned from others successes and failures. I chose to observe the people who had the lives I most wanted.
 I began working more hours as a kayaking instructor and wilderness guide. These days were relaxed and enjoyable. One day lead into the other with ease. I had gotten my CPR certification followed by taking an intense 10 day, 80 hour Wilderness Medicine Course, which opened more doors for me to begin guiding multi-day kayak camping trips, and leading hikes and fitness classes for wealthy people who also paid for my fitness certifications. I began creating custom Moonlight Kayak trips for several kayak companies in the Midwest, which included gourmet wine and cheese pairings. I decided that I was going to enjoy these adventures until I figured out what I would do next. I had no idea until about 5 years later that I was already living part of my dream.
The process of writing this paper helped me to see where I made some exciting steps in my personal growth; steps that I am really proud of, and have gotten me to where I am today. I can really see where I brought my dreams and abilities into reality, when I began placing some value on the things I desired. I can see where I finally gave myself permission to strive for the things I valued and desired most.  
Three years ago, I had a friend who I used to think was out of my league. I valued his work ethic; he was athletic, handsome, and so fun to be around. We also had the best group of friends in common. It was around this time that I had grown happy and content with my life, and my accomplishments. I loved having him as a friend. His approval meant nothing to me in a romantic sense since I had already come to the conclusion that I was passed the prime of being desirable as a wife, especially for such a wonderful man.  One night, while out with our gang of friends for a celebration, I decided to give him a kiss. I knew I’d be able to blame it on the champagne if it backfired. We went on our first date two days later. We were married on July first of this year.
The day after I began to write this paper, I left on a two day adventure. I knew the miles would bring movement to my body, stillness to my doubts, and clarity to my mind. I have grown to depend on these miles when I need them the most. My times alone in the wilderness have never failed to bring me to a new awareness.
I’ve enjoyed over 18 years of solo adventures and I never once understood people when they spoke about being homesick. I would usually just dismiss their sentiments as a sign of weakness, or I came to the conclusion that they were boring people who couldn’t be happy alone.  I still believed that until Thursday night.
I smelled like a dirt bag, with random tan and sunburn lines, and a big bruise on my behind. I had just completed a little over 38 miles of Hiking in 2 days, with over 8000ft elevation gain. I had also lost over 4lbs. These accomplishments are usually enough to make me feel as if I had enjoyed a thoroughly productive day on one of my adventures. But something was missing. I decided to walk down to the beach at sunset. I figured, “What’s another 2 miles after 38?” I was really missing my husband and was hoping he enjoyed the meals I left for him before I left. I looked down and found a tiny leaf shaped like a heart. I started to cry. I was homesick for the first time in my life.
I've lived alone since I was 17, it was always just me. When I used to go away there was no one waiting for me, missing me, loving me, and hoping for my safe return. There was nothing to miss. I was leaving nothing behind.
I had left on this adventure hoping to find some academic confidence and clarity in order to help the revision of the paper I had written the night before. Instead, what I found is what I was hoping for all of my life. What I have been working so hard for and didn’t even realize until I was typing it out and crying.
I have a home. I have the man I respect, love, and have always wanted. We work hard, we support each other, we deserve it, and it feels so good. J

-Melissa Adylia Calasanz
Developmental Autobiography for PPA LEAP110 Course

I Love an Adventure

10 Weeks ago, I set off on an exciting journey.
An academic Journey.
I enrolled in the LEAP Program via Saint Mary's College of California.

About 10 weeks ago, I began my third class; the Personal and Professional Assessment Leap100 Course, where each student has the opportunity to challenge 4 upper division courses by writing papers that prove our expertise in several subjects. 
I was assigned Kinesiology, Sociology, Psychology, and Small Business Administration.
In my last post I had stated that I would be posting tid bit on my experiences during the course. Well, I've been a bit overwhelmed with all the papers, so I'll go ahead and post some of the "free write" LPPs (Learning Process Papers) that we were assigned each week after attending each class.
We were told to write about any fears or concerns  we had about the PPA course.
Keep in mind, this is a program where 18 former/current professional dancers are enrolled every 18 months. Many of us had not completed college when our professional dance careers had taken off, and most have not been in school for over 20 years.

I love an adventure, and I thrive on exploring the unknown. It is why I travel. It is why I explore my physical and mental limits by going on endurance solo-backpacking and solo-kayaking trips, climbing expeditions, and humbling myself by doing marathons.
Sitting in the Newport Public Library, on a perfectly sunny day, trying to find something to be frightened of, or concerned about, regarding the PPA Class is becoming a pleasant challenge. I know I signed up for an adventure when I enrolled in the LEAP Program, and I am certain the PPA Class will deliver an excellent adventure.
The rumors I’d heard about the PPA class, from fellow LEAP students, had painted the weeks ahead to be filled with some of the most challenging assignments that I would encounter during my time in the LEAP Program, due to the demands of writing so many papers, in so little time.
Had I been given this assignment the night before I attended the first class, I would have written many pages about my fears and concerns regarding my ability to endure the rigors of what was to come. The rumors were so vague regarding what I was going to have to write for the assignments, that I couldn’t help but feel a bit insecure, since my last attempt at a “scholarly” paper, for my Kinesiology class, was a disaster.  
My fears were put to rest after attending the first class, last night.  All I can feel is excitement! I feel as if I am getting ready to go on an adventure, one that I’ve been putting off for so long; putting off because, as with all journeys, I know I will have to say goodbye to the old me once I come to the end of the road. I guess that can be a little frightening. I am human, and I am not immune to sentimentality.
It is not always easy to say goodbye to the old to make room for the new. I have done it so many times, but this time I get something more valuable than just a stamp in my passport, life lessons, and stories to share. At end of this journey I will receive validation via Course Credit towards my education. And this adventure doesn’t even require a map! I get to explore me! I get to revisit the old me. I will get a chance to really see how it contributed to the “Me” I am today, and how it will influence the “Me” I will be someday.
I am excited this class will give me an opportunity, the permission, to discover the sum of all my parts. For some that can be frightening. For me, it is what I crave. I love a good adventure, and this adventure is a welcome challenge; a test of endurance and discovery, that I am sure will be filled with many highs and lows; an adventure that will leave me a new person once I come to the end of the journey. A journey that will be all about me, what I am, what I have been, and what I will become. I look forward to this intense, enlightening, and most likely, humbling adventure. I will welcome it with anticipation, not fear.

-Melissa Adylia Gutierrez
-Melissa Adylia Calasanz