• Sarah Ballan

Super Senior of the Real World

Updated: Nov 26, 2018

Hi, me again. Super-senior of the real world. It’s pretty hard to believe I graduated from Lehigh University almost five years ago! I grew up in Scarsdale, New York. A rich, white, predominately (99.9%) Jewish town saturated with bankers, businessmen, and billionaires.

I was expected to graduate from a top school and land myself a secure job with benefits and a steady paycheck. I felt pressured to be “successful,” as in having a fancy business card and a personal phone line at your desk. The decision to switch to fitness was unconventional, but I wasn’t happy spending my days on spreadsheets, sulking about how I’d rather be sweating in spin class. I had my eye on a yellow set of wheels.

It’s unclear to me if I quit or was let go at GroupM. I remember marching into HR with a pill lodged in my throat. I had doubled up on klonopin to muster the courage to formally have an honest discussion. Still shaking, I took a seat and the swivel chair rattled against the desk.

“This isn’t working.” Did she say it? Did I? To this day I cannot remember the details of the conversation, only the intense feeling of relief when I was told I could leave right then and there and never come back.

My anxiety robbed my relief when I was flat out rejected my first two fitness auditions. I didn’t know how to speak in front of a room full of people, mic’d up on stage, the spotlight on me. I began to feel unsuccessful. That somehow I was miles behind my friends, many of whom have been promoted several times. Would I even be able to make a career out of this?

It is safe to assume that if I were to run into one of my High School classmates, he/she probably works or has worked at one of the Morgans, JP or Stanley, and may consider other part-time, lower paying jobs a hobby. I imagine our conversation would go something like this:

“Hi, how aaare you?” Fake smile, awkward hug. “What do you do in the city? Are you still spinning?”

“Yes.” At this point, my instagram feed has inundated my followers’ homepages, and therefore they know I am entirely devoted to fitness.

“Oh, wow,” they’ll say feigning excitement. “I have to come to a class!” They never do. “Do you do anything else?”


One time, soon after I began my fitness journey, I ran into Jill Jacobs*, Scarsdale mother of Benjamin* and Lily*, both with whom I went to High School. Jill mentioned Lily wanted to teach spin classes at an exclusive, high end, boutique studio as a fun, summer job, while she was looking around for something more permanent. As if she could just clip into the stationary bike and qualify. You don’t just snap your fingers and magically appear on the schedule. Just like any other job, you work your way up from the bottom. You teach Friday nights and summer weekends. You teach 4:00pm classes instead of prime-time 6:00pm, after work slots. I wanted to rip Jill Jacobs’ diamond earrings out of her rich b*tch ears.

Almost four years later, I still am not a “full-time” employee.

I have much more room to grow, both personally and professionally. Am I exactly where I thought I’d be? Absolutely not. But I’m exactly where I need to be. Jobs. Relationships. Friendships. I feel blessed to be able to wake up at the ass crack of dawn to go to a place that’s FUN and inspires me.

- Sarah :)

*Name change

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