A few years ago, over ISU’s siblings weekend, my sister invited me to see the Gamma Phi Circus perform in Redbird Arena. I remember sitting in one of the very top rows looking down on the stage and thinking to myself how some of these performers were higher than I was, that they were flying. Having the opportunity to witness such talent, grace and strength from students I hoped to soon call my classmates, amazed me beyond measure. To say the least, the show was brilliant, leaving my intentions to attend Illinois State undeniable. The idea of being a part of such a unique and hardworking community intrigued me. Prior to the show, I had never truly been exposed to the art of circus and all it entails. As the curtain closed and the arena emptied, my excitement and curiosity persisted.
Fast forward three years and I had officially committed to becoming a redbird. I remember talking back and forth with my family as move in day neared. My anxieties and fears of moving out were irrefutable. I could not shake the feeling that I would soon be utterly alone. I have never been happier to be proven wrong. If you have been following along my journey thus far, you know that transitioning into college has been the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I was finding it difficult to engage and participate at a university two hours away from my home and I was not happy. I was beginning to form amazing friendships, but when I was alone, I could not help but feel lost. I have the Gamma Phi Circus to thank for introducing me to an amazing family, giving me the ability to explore a new passion of mine, and above all, for giving me the courage to find myself.
In early September, I started hearing about circus open houses and the opportunity to see the gym and begin to learn skills. All of the excitement and intrigue I was feeling towards circus began to resurface. My apprehensions remained, but with each passing day, my worries started to lessen as circus began to consume me. Within a matter of weeks, I auditioned for the Gamma Phi Circus. The audition process, like one can imagine, was not easy. I remember falling on one of the skills I was attempting for the German Wheel. But, what I will never forget, was immediately sitting back down to a friendly face congratulating me on a job well done. I can never say thank you enough for that.
I was quickly able to discover that the circus is full of friendly faces, positivity, encouragement, and kindness. Also, as our director Marcus always states, the circus contains some of the most talented, hardworking individuals on campus. I am continuously impressed by the capabilities Gamma Phi members possess. Not only are these individuals gifted physically, they have amazing character. I find great comfort in knowing that I have a role model, a mentor, and a friend in each and every member. Gamma Phi has not only taught me discipline, dedication and friendship, it has given me a purpose, a reason to stay.
Now, as we are approaching the last few weeks of the academic school year, Gamm Phi is preparing to enter the Redbird arena once again. A girl who once watched in amazement from the crowd, now has the opportunity to help inspire another little girl from the stage. Not only will this year’s performance highlight amazing aerial and ground work, it will include a world record attempt. Mark your calendars and clear you schedules because you will not want to miss it!
Gamma Phi will be performing its Broadway themed show on April 7th and 8th. Tickets can be purchased at GoRedbirds.com/GammaPhi