(© Bridget Coyne Gabbe)
It was just about a year ago that I started blogging for TheaterMania as a post-BFA grad of 18+ months, building my credits while learning how to navigate the acting world (still trying). It's been a memorable year and I've appreciated being able to share my hopes and dreams – and my ups and downs – along the way.

As I looked back at some of my blogs, I'd forgotten how my pining for roles had seeped into some of my posts. Take the three times I put wanting to be cast on Blue Bloods out into the universe. Well, this fall the universe heard my call and handed it back to me. I make my TV debut on CBS's Blue Bloods as Kelsey in episode #8, "Higher Education," airing this Friday, November 30 at 10:00pm EST. (Happily, I don't die.)

Being cast on Blue Bloods was an extremely gratifying experience-–beyond thrilling. Just prior, I'll admit to being in one of those "dark places" that all actors go to at some point. While I had made progress in pursuing my acting since graduating; honestly, I felt I should have been further along. I was chomping at the bit for more – but I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen. Then, October hit, and with it a crazy positive week that culminated in getting cast on Blue Bloods.

And what a first television experience it was. Yes, the hair, make-up, wardrobe, trailer, stand-ins, and stunt doubles were incredible (and all of those things made me feel a little heady). I was most touched by the welcoming spirit of the entire cast and production team. They made this TV newbie feel like a valued member of the cast.

So, now, with the holiday season upon us, and 2013 clearly in sight, I'm pausing to reflect on my experiences and the many people to whom I'm so grateful for believing in me. These include:

• So many wonderful friends and collaborators who have come into my life, especially, my dear director friend and mentor, who casts me in roles that make me stretch--each time I feel fortunate because it means I'll be part of a wonderful group of actors.

• The friends I've made on productions who've taken the time to send my information over to their agents. Seriously? So nice.

• The casting director for Blue Bloods who auditioned me in late spring for a movie role (nope, didn't get that one). But she liked me, and brought me back for the role of Kelsey--building relationships is so important!

• My manager for kicking my butt and helping me realize that I DO belong in the room. Confidence is key.

• Pushing myself to go for roles I didn't think I had a chance of successfully portraying--and getting positive responses.

• The heartache of botched auditions; the joy of wonderful ones.

• Being embraced as "family" by a top off-Broadway theatre company. I feel so at home whenever I'm there and am so appreciative for the incredible friendships I've developed. (This relationship dates back to an internship during the summer before my sophomore year in college--internships matter.)

• Learning the discipline of writing for an audience through my blog on TheaterMania.com – and being willing to bare my soul a bit in the process.

• My family for listening to me in those low, low moments (thanks, Mom).

• Gaining perspective that truly can only come with experience – and understanding that the journey is never finished.

One of my major goals this past year was to book a role on a crime drama (have I ever mentioned that I really just want to be a detective like Olivia Benson?). And it happened. Who knows where this will take me, but I've already felt a change, beginning with my own attitude about the future.

As Macy's puts it so well this time of year: BELIEVE!