“The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

If only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it.” – Amanda Gorman

Last week, we heard the harrowing words of a history-making young woman. Though these words had an entirely different purpose at the time, they inundated my mind as I wondered how we move forward with this year as new beginnings flourish. In addition to the cleansing feeling of a new year and a new administration, we begin a new semester today.

I know that the new year is almost a full month underway, but there’s nothing quite like the start of a new semester – especially when that semester has DanceBlue in it.  For some of us, this is only our second semester on campus, and for others, it’s the last. Regardless, we each have goals we want to achieve, and DanceBlue is ready to dance. But with all of this change, things can seem scary, uncertain, or exhausting.

Since 2006, DanceBlue has been a beacon of light in the darkness, unified by the passion of young hearts to create a change – to strive for something. And this, as Gorman is saying, is part of the light that remains present because of people like you and me. In a world seemingly clouded by darkness, we see the light every single day – in the eyes of the clinic staff, in the presence of alumni, in the passion of the dancers, and in the joy of the children and their families, despite the pain. Anyone who has ever participated in DanceBlue knows how to face change and fear head on in order to make a difference. Our nature is to turn pain into joy by dancing for an impact much greater than any one of us.

So, as we begin this semester, I challenge you to add two goals to your semester plans: to see the light and find the courage to be the light. We each have so much to be grateful for, and in order to appreciate the gifts around us we must be prepared to recognize them. Practicing gratitude can be journaling in the morning or making sure those around you know how important they are to you. Once the habit is there, you begin to see the light everywhere.

But most importantly, I challenge all of us to be brave enough to be the light – to dedicate yourself to a cause like DanceBlue, to volunteer, to practice inclusivity and to remember that unity is the ultimate goal. On UK’s campus, we are an ecosystem reliant upon one another, unified by our experiences as students. We need one another. We need the good each of us holds in our hearts.

As we prepare for DanceBlue, let’s take a note from the kids who are so brave and full of childlike joy. I’ve always believed that children are the reminders that this world is not always what our adult minds perceive it to be. We see it, now let’s be brave enough to be it. DanceBlue is wishing you a semester full of light!