Pursuing Dance Therapy – Olivia Roy

“My journey toward deciding what to study was rocky, to say the least. In my senior year of high school, I had a lot going on – moving back from a foreign country to the States, starting early college, my first job, and competitive dance. I was interested in psychology because I had enjoyed previous courses in the subject and because I wanted to follow in my mom’s footsteps. Dance had always been a constant in my life even before I started formal lessons, but it never occurred to me that this was something I could do as a career. That is until someone very special in my life suggested dance therapy. So, I pulled up an article on dance therapy and knew I had to try it. That’s why I chose to major in psychology and dance. Since then, my studies have only further confirmed this was what I needed to do with the rest of my life.

While applying to colleges, I wanted an “aha” moment. I wanted to step on a campus and know it was where I belonged. Initially, Meredith was not my top choice, however, I received a generous financial aid package so I thought about attending more seriously. My mom and I drove by the campus and it was then that I knew this is where I wanted to go to college. After that, I made my mom drive past the campus several more times; the rest is history!

Coming into Meredith as an early college student was easier in some ways than others. I was already used to the structure of college classes, the expectations, and the course load so that was not a big adjustment. However, going from a homeschool environment was a bit of a shocker, especially since I lived in a foreign country for most of my teens and I was not on social media. The biggest challenges I faced were homesickness, figuring out where I fit in, and finding my voice. Fortunately, I love people and learning new things, so I adapted quickly and found people who accepted me for who I am.

One challenge I am proud to have overcome while at Meredith was my fear of being myself. Instead of letting other people define who I am and should be, I’ve made the decision that I am going to be who I was raised to be.

I’ve learned a lot about growth since I’ve been in college. It is an ongoing journey and rarely does it look the way you think. So many times, I’ve surprised myself with my capability as a dancer, a student, a leader, and a Christian. College is hard but that doesn’t mean it should stop you from going for the limits or testing out uncertain waters.

The faculty, staff, and students have played an integral part in making Meredith feel like a home away from home. I really appreciate the small-town, familial atmosphere here. The smaller classes mean I can get to know my professors on a deeper level and engage with them one-on-one, which would be a lot harder in a bigger school.

Since my first semester, I have been involved in clubs like Sisters United, the Residence Housing Association, Improv Club, and F.I.R.E. (Fierce, International, Rhythmic Expression) and held positions like Wings and Transfer student advisor. Last semester, I was so fortunate to join the Meredith Autism Program (MAP) and I plan to continue that next semester. Each of these groups has been a key part of my journey at Meredith. MAP has given me a possible career field to keep exploring and a community. I am extremely proud of being accepted into the last course of the program and will be able to take the exam to earn my Registered Behavioral Technician licensure.

After graduation, I plan to continue my studies at a graduate level in clinical psychology and dance movement therapy at Drexel University. Afterward, I hope to take classes related to applied behavior analysis therapy to continue working in that field. Eventually, I want to own a private practice in my hometown that will open up the field of creative arts therapy, make it more available, and positively impact my community.”

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