Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Lessons I've Learned by Hannah Roque

Hello Section 36!! My name is Hannah Roque, and I currently hold the title of Miss Addison County in Vermont - I’m so excited to be back with another guest blog. The Miss Vermont 2024 competition is less than two weeks away, so I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over my 5 years of experience competing. While this is only my 4th time competing for the title of Miss Vermont, my first time competing was in 2019; If you want to read more about my competition journey, you can take a look at my guest blog series here


In honor of my fourth time competing, I wanted to share the four main lessons that I’ve learned while competing in the Miss America Opportunity. 


1. Stay grateful, always.


Since I started competing, I’ve been so lucky to have incredible opportunities presented to me: I’ve attended Miss America, touched hundreds of stroke survivors’ lives through publishing my book of resources, been invited to dozens of impactful events, and many many more. Sometimes it can be hard to believe that this is my life! To keep myself grounded when I feel like I’m living my dream life, I’ve learned that it’s important to be grateful for every opportunity that comes my way. Being grateful helps me stay humble and present in every moment. I frequently think about the fact that I’m living the life I dreamed of when I was younger, so I want to treasure every moment, and being grateful helps me to do that.


2. Be your own advocate and cheerleader.


It is SO exciting to compete for a state title, but it can also be an incredibly stressful process. In my first year, I had so many questions: Where should I buy my evening gown? How should I develop my CSI? How should I do my makeup for competition, and how does that differ from my makeup for events? And so many more. It was through my experience leading up to the 2019 competition that I learned that there are resources and people who are excited and willing to help you, if you ask. It can be incredibly overwhelming to start out, but if you advocate for yourself and the things you need to succeed, you will be in amazing shape! In a similar vein, while scheduling and traveling to events across Addison County this year, I’ve learned that being your own advocate is incredibly important when reaching out to community organizations and event organizers. There are many people, especially in Vermont, who don’t understand what the Miss America Opportunity is, or what being a titleholder means. When communicating with these community members and while attending the events, it’s my job to be my own advocate and share the messages of my values, my community service initiative, and the message of the Miss America Organization. In a recent mock interview, I was told that if I’m not going to toot my own horn, then who will? This is something that I’m still working on, but I try to be my own cheerleader by sharing my accomplishments, my passions, and the qualities that I have that make me a successful titleholder. 


3. Always, ALWAYS, take the leap.


I’ve talked very candidly about the fact that I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life, especially in unknown situations. Deciding to compete was the ultimate leap, especially because I was making myself vulnerable in a way I never had before. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am endlessly thankful that I took that first leap and decided to compete. I gained confidence and an acute sense of self that I didn’t have prior to the competition. Since then, I’ve taken many leaps in my life: moving out, making major life decisions, changing careers, just to name a few. Competing has taught me that you should always take the leap when you have the opportunity. I think about all the things that I would’ve missed if I hadn’t taken that first leap, and I have absolutely no regrets. Trust yourself, and do the thing that scares you. I promise that you won’t regret it! 


4. The girls you’re competing with are not actually your competition. 


Of course every year that you compete, you’re competing against other women who have the same dream as you. Even though that is true, I’ve learned that your biggest competition is not the other delegates, but rather yourself. It’s so easy to get caught up in what the other girls are doing, but that can only hurt you onstage. The most rewarding part of competing has been meeting women from Vermont that have become my very best friends. I can’t imagine what my life would look like without these women, and our friendships were born out of supporting each other rather than being competitive. Preparing for competition is a mind game. In order to succeed, you need to focus solely on yourself and your performance. If you are confident and secure in your performance, you will do well on stage. The Miss Vermont 2023 class was the most supportive competition class that I’ve ever been part of, and it’s because no one brought a truly competitive mindset. I’m truly thankful for that experience because it was so eye opening - it showed me that I’m the only person that I needed to worry about. I’m bringing this mindset into the 2024 competition weekend, and am so excited to show my best self onstage while also supporting my sisters backstage! 


I’ve had such a wonderful time reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned in my time in the Miss America Opportunity. Each year, I leave the competition knowing more about myself. I cannot WAIT for Miss Vermont 2024, and to see what I will learn through that process. If you want to follow me on my journey, and see all my competition weekend updates, follow me at @missaddisoncountyvt on Instagram! It’s so surreal that we’re so close!


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