By Malani Fenner-Smith, Maxwell’s Playbook Intern
2020 has been one of the most chaotic years we’ve ever encountered. Many tragedies and surprises have thrown the world into a hectic spin, leaving us wondering what each month is going to bring. People have canceled many birthdays, weddings, trips, and visits due to the Covid-19 virus. However, during quarantines and lockdowns, a lot of self-discovery has been on the rise. People seem to be focusing on that “one thing” they’ve been trying to get done, or that goal that they set years ago. As a teenager, I’ve taken the time to focus on my health and my future, especially life skills.
I’ve wanted to pursue acting as a full-time career ever since I was in the first grade. I studied Disney Channel actors and even looked up places holding auditions (which I never actually attended). I’ve performed in many musicals and plays throughout middle and high school, and I explored other unique opportunities. During this pandemic, I started documenting these experiences on my resume. This will make it easy to pull information for college and job applications.
Besides planning for my future, I’ve also been focusing on better eating and working out. Self-care is an essential that I’d been missing out on, and with the stress of school, I lacked a routine that was good for me.
After doing some research, I started by tweaking my diet and trying to eat healthier. I started drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with the “mother,” diluted in a glass of water and lemon juice once before breakfast, and once before dinner. This has helped to reduce bloating that I’d experienced.
I also focus on having a decent number of calories for each meal of the day and have been able to track them by using the app “LifeSum”. I also take daily supplements of biotin, recommended by my doctor, and other vitamins. (Be sure to always talk to your doctor or other health provider before starting any new treatment!)
I started working out for at least an hour a day. I spend about 15-30 minutes doing cardio on the treadmill, and then join my favorite fitness YouTuber, Holly Dolke, with an ab routine and a few leg workouts. Of course, I do this listening to my favorite playlist, which makes it 10 times easier to get through! With all that activity, I started drinking more water, which has also been an all-around game-changer.
During the last few months, I’ve also taken time to focus on my mental health. My therapist has played a significant role in helping me focus on methods and activities that keep my mind positive and my stress level low. It’s been nice to be able to talk to someone outside of the family, who takes the time to listen and offer me different perspectives.
High school was really tough last spring when there was a sudden change in instruction, and my school system implemented distance learning for the first time. I found it frustrating to have to semi-teach myself without a teacher in the room, and circumnavigate my way through subjects I’d never studied before.
I’d just gotten a part in the performance of “Pippin” and was preparing for that by training with silks, which was something new and exciting. I really missed the spring theater performances that I had been looking forward to, and seeing my friends. However, I found that by taking breaks and counting down the days until the end of the semester, I was able to make it through happily and successfully.
Finally, I have had the opportunity to taste what it’s like to have a job! The Maxwell’s Playbook internship gave me a chance to think and plan on my own and to learn new skills. It’s also provided me with the opportunity to work on personal finance skills, especially budgeting. While I treat myself to a few favorites from Free People or Asos 😍, I also focus on saving so that I can build for the future.
This internship has inspired me to develop additional skills that will prepare me for other opportunities. This will be especially helpful so that I have a backup while I pursue acting.
These past months have been a roller coaster, but it’s given me time to learn a lot about myself. I’ve been able to give some real thought to ideas that I had never imagined that I could venture into. For now, I will continue my new-found routine and research colleges where I can study acting. And, I continue to stay open to learning additional skills that will benefit me in the future!
In full disclosure, Robin Fenner is my grandmother, aka “Mimi”, so I had a bit of an in at Maxwell’s Playbook. Still, she made me work for my pay and we plan to continue this beyond the summer!