Alumni Association intern by week, THON 2017 dancer by weekend

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For 15 hours every week, I am a Penn State student reluctantly wrapping up my senior year majoring in public relations, looking for ways to sneak in an extra semester without my parents noticing.

For 13 hours every week, I am an intern with the Penn State Alumni Association’s strategic communications department, where I help create content for a variety of platforms, namely our monthly e-newsletter and the organization’s social media.

And for 46 hours during THON Weekend 2017, I’ll represent my THON organization, FOTO, on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center as a dancer.

Kendall Brodie_THON photo

Kendall Brodie, far left, said that THON has changed not only the way she sees the world, but also her role within it: "My aspiration to do work that betters the lives of children has, through my experience with THON, transformed into a desire, into a need, into a promise I’ve made with myself." She's pictured with three other members of the student group FOTO. All four students will dance in THON 2017. 

Image: Kendall Brodie

When I think about why I want to dance, I realize there is no one answer — except that, really, I owe a lot to THON.

THON has changed not only how I see the world, but also how I see my role within it, and that is because of the children and families who have shared their stories and their lives with me. My aspiration to do work that betters the lives of children has, through my experience with THON, transformed into a desire, into a need, into a promise I’ve made with myself.

Standing for 46 hours is a really, really long time — my dad still doesn’t understand how it is “a thing,” he says — but it’s something I feel I can give back. And even when my feet start hurting, and I’m so delirious that I start imagining I’m having conversations with band members from One Direction, I’ll stand strong, because that is what these kids have taught me to do.

I expect my 46 hours dancing in THON to reflect my four years with FOTO. There will be lots of laughs and some tears. There will be hard work, random food cravings at random times, and an overwhelming supply of support and love. And most importantly, there will be kids who, for an entire weekend, have the opportunity to just be kids.

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Last Updated February 17, 2017