Get to Know Katie Wilkinson - Distinguished Young Woman of Arizona 2013

Name: Katie Wilkinson 
Age: 18
Hometown:Chandler, Arizona
College: Pepperdine University
Major: Sports Medicine with a minor in Communication
What is your favorite food: Teriyaki chicken with rice. It’s always been my go to food since I was a kid.
What is your favorite Olympic sport: Figure Skating. I used to competitively figure skate, so since I was little I’ve always loved watching the pros take the ice with such skill and grace.
What is your favorite Christmas/holiday tradition: I was taught at a very young age the importance of serving others. In the spirit of holiday giving, each year my family adopts a Salvation Army Red Kettle for a day and rings the silver bells. We invite our friends and family to come join us to give back to those less fortunate. It always proves to be such a rewarding experience as shoppers pass by and are so willing to give their spare change. I am reminded each holiday season how fortunate I am, and that true happiness comes from serving others.
What is your favorite quote: “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” ~Judy Garland
What is your favorite time of year: Definitely, Christmastime! I love all of the decorations, music, delicious desserts, chilly weather (low 50s in Arizona), and the overall holiday spirit.
Plan ahead OR procrastinate? I definitely like to plan ahead, however, sometimes I find myself procrastinating. Having a planner helps me so much to stay on top of everything and not get behind. I feel so much better when I plan ahead and don’t have to stress at the last minute to get something done.
Paper OR plastic? Plastic
Glass half-full OR glass half-empty? Glass half-full. I always try to look on the bright side of every situation and make the best of it. I make a goal everyday to have a positive attitude no matter how sour the day may turn.
Introvert OR extrovert? Extrovert! I’m pretty loud and outgoing and love to meet new people. However, there are definitely times where I like to have my “me” time and choose to be an introvert.
Cats OR Dogs? Dogs! I even used to dress my dog, Rosie, in doll clothes and put bows in her hair when I was little.
Morning person OR night person? I am most definitely a night person. I don’t know how I woke up in high school at 5am when I can barely wake up for classes at 9am now. I have the hardest time getting up in the morning, but I can stay up until the late hours of the night if I want to.
What is your most embarrassing moment? Oh gosh. Well, my freshman year I was so excited to have made Advanced Dance at my high school. We had rehearsed hours on end all semester for the big Holiday Dance Show. Opening night of the show I had butterflies in my stomach and could not wait to perform in front of all of my friends, family, and most of the student body. I was standing on stage holding my opening pose while shaking in my tights. Then the curtains opened, lights came up, music started, show time! I was grinning from ear to ear while dancing my heart out in the routine. We had made it through about half of the dance and I was doing great! I hit every turn and pointed every toe. Then, my shining moment. I was front and center during the group part. I made it through about three eight counts, then nothing. I completely froze and forgot what I was doing. So of course I did the worst thing possible and just stood there smiling. And of course the part I forgot was the single stag jump to the ground. So when everyone went in the air to the ground, there I was, front and center, grinning like an idiot, with no clue what to do. Soon, our group part was over and we all run into the wings. Luckily I wasn’t too mortified and I was able to easily laugh it off with my friends in the wings. However, I did freak out, worried that my teacher would get mad and yell at me, but he ended up not saying a word. To this day my friends and I still joke about this and it’s just become a funny memory.  
If you could be any color crayon, what would you be and why? Hot pink. It’s always been my favorite color. My bedroom walls are pink and most of my closet contains pink clothing. It’s just such a happy and fun color and quite perfectly exemplifies my personality.
What is the one thing you wish someone had told you about college life that you had to find out on your own? There’s no such thing as extra credit. In high school, I knew if I did poorly on a test, I could easily make up for it with the easy homework and extra credit that would boost my grade. But in college, most classes are based off of three or four exams that determine your entire grade!  
Sum yourself up in three words. Confident, positive, and compassionate. 
What do you want to be when you grow up and why?Throughout my life whenever I’ve been asked this question, I always answer with successful and happy. I wasn’t one of those kids that knew exactly what career I wanted to have when I were five years old. However, I’ve always known that with determination and hard work I will become a success in whatever I choose to do. No matter what I’m doing or where I am, I just want to be happy, because life is too short to be anything but blissfully happy.
Describe your single-most favorite moment from your Distinguished Young Women experience. My journey at the Nationals’ competition for Distinguished Young Women began very differently than most. While the others were busy swinging on ropes at Camp Grace, line dancing on the USS Alabama, and touring Bellingrath Gardens, I was in my bed in Arizona, heartbroken. I had been diagnosed with mono five days earlier, putting into jeopardy the entire trip. Ultimately, I arrived four days late and in a somewhat fragile condition. Before arriving in Alabama everyone knew me as the “sick girl”. Then, as I walked into my first rehearsal, I could barely get my foot through the door before feeling the embrace of my brand new sisters. These amazing young women threw their arms around me, introduced themselves, and every sense of “being left behind” was totally erased. Throughout the two weeks of rehearsals I rarely had enough energy to get up and rehearse with the girls, but I had so much fun being their biggest cheerleader from the bench. As the preliminary competition was right around the corner, I started to get a little nervous about the fitness routine because I hadn’t practiced it in over three weeks. Ultimately, I was only able to practice the routine on stage a total of two times before competing in the preliminaries. While waiting in the wings before going on stage with the Yellow Group for fitness, I remember thinking, “It’s only ten minutes, Katie. Just smile, push through it, and FINISH! You can take a nap after.” We all ran out on stage with our ponytails high, towels around our necks, and styling our cheesy smiles. I pushed myself throughout the whole routine, had the best time, and finished! Even though it may not have been my best performance, I was finally able to know what it truly felt like to be proud of myself. Before going to Mobile, my doctor questioned if he would even permit me to compete in fitness. It was the best feeling in the world to be able to prove to myself that I can do anything, no matter what the circumstances.
  • Sumiko Glenn

    21st Nov 2013 at 18:01

    Great blog, Katie. I am so proud of you!

  • debrajo

    22nd Nov 2013 at 19:11

    Katie Wilkinson, you’re the BEST! Those are great quotes, fun stories, and I wish you had a picture uploaded of your dog with bows. :)

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