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over 1 year New York, NY, USA Story
Lessons from the Dominican Republic

On my recent trip to the Dominican Republic, I was astonished by the lifestyle and quality of life. I stayed in Punta Cana, land of sunshine, smiles, and sand. It truly was the best trip ever. I went with two of my best friends and from the minute we got off the plane in Punta Cana International Airport, the island lifestyle swept me off my feet. There were musicians at the airport playing authentic music and singing along with what seemed like the biggest smile I had seen on anyone ever. The first day we went to the beach there were Dominican dance lessons at the beach given by the resort we stayed at, and not to toot my own horn, but I won at salsa and bachata so toot-toot. Everyone was always smiling, the resort was incredible. At night, they had parties and DJs for people 17+. So, my friends and I went to the party, and WOW. They would do a show and then all the dancers from the show would come out and party with all the guests. I did bust out a few of those moves I learned on the beach. Everyone was carefree, enjoying every moment. At that time, it didn't seem like anything mattered. All that mattered was that moment. 

Some of you may recall that my last post was about college and why we stress so much. After seeing the lifestyle of the Dominican Republic, to stress the small things seems so pointless. Yes, we should work hard, but we should find time to unwind, to party. Truly, nothing could stress me out on that trip: not friend drama, not schoolwork, not family stuff, nothing. That was perhaps the one thing that I learned that was most valuable on my trip. Even if you don't go to the Dominican Republic soon, the lesson holds true. We spend so much of our time worrying and working, and working and worrying, that there really is value in taking a step back and listening to music and just having a party (the cute dancers that invited me to dance with them in DR definitely helped with that LOL). I also learned to step outside of my comfort zone. On the last night, they had put on a show named "Fiesta Latina" and who am I to turn down a fiesta? So my friends and I went. Next thing I know I am being taken on stage by the hand by 4 really cute guys and being asked to follow the dance steps of one of the dancers on stage. Whoa. I could not have been more nervous, but then one of the guys, who I later found out was named "Maximo," told me that no one knew me there except my two friends and that it didn't matter. I followed along with her steps and danced on stage--something I probably never would have done in New York. And it taught me this: the best moments are the ones where you take a risk and step outside your comfort zone. So, thank you Maximo for that. 

Now, as I write this article sitting at my desk with a bag of Dominican candy open next to me and bachata music playing in the background, I cannot help but cry a little at the thought that my vacation is over, and just think about the next time I can go back. 

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I am a junior in high school in the Law and Society major. I am the child of two South Asian immigrant parents. At school, I am on student government as the Student Advocate and am responsible for overseeing 5947 students. I also participate in Mock Trial and Moot Court. I founded the Legal [...]

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