Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Soundtrack to my Life

Hi everyone!  Today I'm going to be joining in the Show and Tell Tuesday linkup and sharing a more personal post.  The theme for today is Soundtrack of My Life, and I'm going to share a song that either meant a lot to me during different times of my life, or the lyrics highlight important events in my life.  This is going to be sort of a cheesy post, but I hope you enjoy a more personal post!


Birth

Step By Step - New Kids on the Block
I was born on June 28, 1990 in Pittsburgh, and this was the #1 song at that time!  It sounds so 90's..right?  


Elementary School

Born This Way - Lady Gaga

Early on in elementary school, I was tested for the Gifted Center, which was a program in the Pittsburgh Public Schools for people that tested above a certain IQ.  My mom always knew that I was different and actually thought that I was being tested for emotional support.  She could tell you a lot of stories about how I was always slightly off as a kid, so she was relieved to hear that I was actually gifted.  

Being in that different environment from a young age definitely challenged me in so many ways. Once a week, I was taken to a different school and instead of a normal science and English class, we had Medieval Studies, computer programming, Think-a-Thon class and more.  Gifted Center day was always my favorite day of the week because I was with other people that were like me, and I had work that was really interesting to me and pushed me both creatively and intellectually.  

At this time I also started to play the violin and fell in love with music.  I loved to play so much and eventually auditioned for the Center for the Musically Talented.  On the weekends, I would go to a city high school and play in different ensembles and groups.  I also got the chance to play in district orchestra and the All-City orchestra throughout elementary, middle and high school!

Middle School

Heart of a Champion - Nelly

Middle School is where I started to run.  I joined the cross country team at school and also ran in a few local 5ks with my dad and sister.  I used to win a lot of races when I was young (the level of competition wasn't the same as it was today!) and I set the middle school record for cross country!  I think that those years of running really cemented my love for the sport, so every time I hear this song it reminds me of middle school and all the great times I had running and winning races.  In fact, I usually add this song to my race playlists to help inspire me!


High School

Enter Sandman - Metallica

I actually really enjoyed high school.  I continued going to the Gifted Center all throughout elementary and middle school, and that fed into the Center for Advanced Study at my local high school.  The group that was in CAS was really close and we did a lot of activities together, like musical, orchestra and student council.  I also ran cross country and was on the indoor and outdoor track team.  


I was still playing the violin, but when I got to high school there wasn't a string program.  The band director came up to me sophomore year and asked if I could switch to the saxophone and join the marching band.  He pretty much handed me a sax at the end of the school year and told me to come back for band camp.  I practiced all summer long, and when I got to band camp I realized that I learned all of the keys wrong and had to re-train myself how to play while I had to learn all of these new songs!  I always loved playing the sax though, and Enter Sandman was the very first song that I learned how to play. 


College


This song is really meaningful to me for a few reasons.  I was in the Blue Band at Penn State which really changed my life and shaped who I am as a person.  I started out as an alternate for the pre-game show (which is what the band is mostly known for) and eventually worked my way up the ranks to be the leader of the sax section in my senior year.  I also met Dan through the band, so I can't imagine how different my life would be if my high school band director never asked me to switch instruments!  This song was one of the main songs that the band would play and the stadium would play to get the crowd excited.  Any time I picture college, I always think about playing at football games and singing this song along with 100,000 other people! 


I also took the words in this song literally and in college never gave up on myself.  I was in the college of Information Sciences and Technology, which is a male-dominated major.  There were only a handful of women in my class, and it was a struggle to prove myself.  During class projects or team work, the guys would always give me the job of "recorder" or some other easy task, so I always worked on being a great leader and gain their respect.  I ended up becoming my college's delegate in the University Student Government and Faculty Senate and made Dean's List every semester of school.

Sometimes at parties or when I would talk with people for the first time, it would come up that I went to an inner city school and occasionally I would get rude comments about how surprising it was that I made it to main campus or they were shocked that I didn't drop out of college already. I always wanted to prove those people wrong and show that no matter where you come from (or what gender you are), if you don't stop believing in yourself you can achieve anything (I told you this post would be cheesy).


Graduation


I did end up making it to graduation, but skipped it to complete my first full marathon.  In college, I pretty much stopped running because of all of the activities I was involved in.  I missed the sport a lot and really wanted to get back into it, so I decided it would be fitting to run a marathon to signify the next chapter of my life.


I always had a big desire to travel and see the world, so after I graduated (and completed my race), I went to Europe with my high school best friend and her brother.  We spent almost a month traveling around, and made stops in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic.  It was such an eye-opening and life changing trip!  Traveling has definitely become a big passion of mine, and I've actually made it out of the country every year since I've graduated college.


Now

Good to be Alive - Andy Grammer

Yes, this is a super cheesy song, but it's really applicable for how I feel at this point in life!  I know that I've been lucky a lot of my life and have so many blessings.  I've also worked hard to get to this point in my life and try to live every day to the fullest!  I can't wait to see what the next chapter in life holds for me.  Plus, Dan's been singing this song a lot lately so I had to include it as the REAL soundtrack of my life right now ;)


Your turn!  What would be on the soundtrack of your life?
What is one of the most memorable years of your life?
Did you ever feel like you had to prove people wrong in your life?

45 comments:

  1. THIS IS AWESOME. It is so interesting that you had to go to another school--we had classes that weren't labeled gifted or whatever for those that qualified. But it was different being taken out of the main class to go to something else. But they made it cool, rather than different. Plus, I went to a school largely made of nerds, so it helped. You would have loved it :D

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    1. I bet I would! It was always kind of weird having to leave the school because I would miss out on field trips or other special things at my regular school. It was fun meeting people from around the city though!

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  2. I love this post and getting to know you more and where you came from! There are so many pivotal things that shape who we are and I love looking back and then and hearing about them from other people. Thanks for sharing this, Gretchen!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked this Margaret :)

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  3. What a super post and it helped to get to know you even better. It didnt surprise me at all that you were gifted. I taught gifted children for nine years and it wasn't hard to recognize you as one of the smartest people around. This post really showed the progression of your life. I can't wait till May when you officially become our family.

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    1. Aw thank you so much for this comment :) You are so sweet and I can't wait to be part of your family too!

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  4. Loved this post so much!! Nice knowing a little more of your background. You have had such a blessed life!!! Awesome :)

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  5. This was so fun to read! Love the throwback photos :)

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  6. You played sax in the blue band!? SO cool! I played the alto sax in my college's band, but I went to a smaller school. Marching and pep band were the highlights of college for me!

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    1. That's so awesome! Love the marching band :)

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  7. Oh wow!! You went to Penn State! I did too! Class of 2004! And you were in the Blue Band? I love the Blue Band ! Whenever we went to the games, we could care less for the football game, but we LOVED the Blue Band Half time show! WE ARE PENN STATE!!

    Great list of songs!

    Whenever I start to think of the soundtrack of my life, I get stuck after 3 songs Dia Cero by La Ley, Fighter by Christina Aguilera and El Extranjero by Enrique Bunbury... after that I just start listing Bunbury songs.

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    1. Haha such a small world! I'm happy to hear there are people who appreciate the band that much! I absolutely love Fighter (and everything by Christina) but haven't heard of the others! I'll check them out asap.

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  8. That middle school sweater is top notch.

    I did a gifted program too when I was younger. It didn't continue past elementary school, they just bumped us up a year when we got to middle school for things like English & Math. Where I got sent to the principals office for adding TOO MUCH discussion to the group discussion. HUH?

    I think the lyrics that describe my life vs what I actually spent my life listening to are way different. High School was pretty much just 4 years of Bad Touch by the Bloodhound Gang on repeat all because my mom told me I couldn't listen to it. HA!

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    1. I was super stylish, right? Haha ! I was all about the turtlenecks in middle school. I can't believe you would be sent to the office for that! So horrible.

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  9. What a fun post! I hear songs that instantly take me back.
    I'm dating myself here... but...
    Elementary School is anything from The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast.
    Middle School is anything by the C&C Music Factory or the Aladdin soundtrack (can you tell I grew up in Orlando?)
    High School would be Gwen Stephani "Just a Girl"
    College is anything by Sister Hazel or Matchbox 20
    I could go on :-) Good stuff!

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    1. Great songs! I used to listen to C&C a lot too :)

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  10. This is such a great personal post for your readers to see where you come from- I personally love the blue band shout out <3 We ARE!

    What a fun post to write... it would take me awhile to thing about a song for all phases of life but I would say right now the soundtrack of my life is Til I Collapse by Eminem. Unfortunately I am going through a very difficult time in my life and it's a great reminder to keep fighting no matter what you are going through.

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    1. Penn State! Haha :) I'm so sorry to hear you're going through a rough time. Love your fighting spirit and I hope things get easier very soon for you <3

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  11. I adore so many things about this post, particularly learning more about you! I loved seeing all of the 90's/early 2000's outfits, hearing your stories about how you got involved with running and music, and reading the song choices you picked! I'm definitely going to have to ponder my own.

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    1. I'm glad you liked this Emma! Would love to hear what songs you come up with.

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  12. Loved hearing the background on your life! I can relate to my parents thinking I was "off" until I was put in a gifted reading program in elementary school, but luckily the leveling at my high school was so good that I was constantly challenged by my classmates. It's always nice to see where we came from to become the people we are now. I'd say we turned out just fine ;)

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    1. I wish my high school was a bit more challenging. The AP classes were kind of tough but otherwise I coasted through. I think that's why I loved college so much because it was the first time I felt in my element and enjoyed the work I was doing!

      I think we turned out GREAT!

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  13. Wow this was such a cool post! What a neat idea! You have had a great life so far and done so many cool and amazing things. I also played violin as a youngster :-)

    That's so rad that you skipped graduation to run a marathon. I'd totally do that.

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    1. Haha I'm not a very conventional person so skipping was a no-brainer!

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  14. I LOVE THIS POST. I'm not surprised at the quirky, brilliance of wee Gretch. You're one of the Greats. I had no idea you ran a marathon so young, too! I was 20. You must have been about 22?

    I'm not sure what my soundtrack would be. It changes every day.

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    1. Suzy- you're the best :) I was 21 for my marathon (june baby so I graduated a little early)

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  15. Ah, I love this post so much! You're so awesome. Love those songs, too. ;)

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  16. What a great idea for a post! I found myself singing and thinking what mine would be :)

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  17. Such a good idea for a post, and I loved your song choice. I also was a little "different" when I was young. I told my mom once that a specific playtime scenario made me feel like a "real kid" which scared her a little, because what was I otherwise? But we all make it to where we want to be :)

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    1. Ugh yes I can relate to that! I remember my parents would tell me to watch regular people and try to act like them haha!

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  18. I loved reading this! One of my most memorable years was my senior year in college. I was surrounded by all my favorite people, proved to myself that I was a leader, and my confidence just really grew. Also, I think it's so cool that you travel outside the country every year. That's an awesome goal!

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  19. What a fun post! I was in a male-dominated field in grad school (history/theology) and relate to what you said about college - that hard work just to prove you can hold your own and that you belong in that field.
    Um, so cool that your school had medieval studies! That was my focus in grad school and you rarely see it taught lower than college level!

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    1. Yeah, the gifted center had to COOLEST classes. I remember in one, we had to make our own little city and each person was a business owner. It was so much fun and I wish I could have been there every day of the week!

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  20. Such a fun post and so creative with the song titles :)

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  21. What a fun post! I find it awesome that you ran aa marathon on the day you were suppose to graduate! 2 milestone completed right there!

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  22. This post was so interesting! I've definitely had to prove people wrong a lot in my life and still do! As a woman with her own business at 23 I'm always proving clients wrong that yes, indeed, I can do the same job as someone double my age (and I can probably do it better!). I've been running my company since I was 17 so it's always been a challenge... and still frustrating that I am still convincing people today!

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    1. Good for you Kristy! Keep rocking it out and proving everyone wrong :) You're an inspiration!

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  23. This was so fun!! I loved hearing about your life. As a teacher, I can totally understand thinking ES or something on that nature when you're gifted. Glad you were challenged though and had a chance to show off your amazingness. LOVE that you skipped graduation for a marathon, haha. Hmm Most memorable year. That's tough! I think getting married/moving in together would be it. But also having Annabelle, sooo not sure haha

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