Our cheer sponsor, Marlon Lozano always had a funny saying and no matter how much we all wanted his statement to be false, we all knew it was truer than ever: “you can’t major in cheer-leading”. How perfect of a world would that be if it was actually an option! As much as it felt like cheer consumed our entire lives, we had to make the time to prioritize and place school first, as hard as that was at times.
Everyone is quite aware of all the stereotypes that come along with being a cheerleader, and I enjoyed being able to prove one particular stereotype wrong all through college, majoring and excelling in chemistry. When adults and my peers would ask me what I was studying, it was a lot of fun to see their puzzled faces when I told them I was a chemist. A cheerleader studying chemistry? It didn’t seem to quite add up, and I enjoyed this.
Coming into college, I changed my area of study quite a bit; I had no idea what type of career I wanted to pursue. Medical school was always a goal of mine, but as I began my courses, I soon realized that it wasn’t for me. I tried journalism, nutrition, business and somewhere through my sophomore year of college, I realized that Chemistry was what I found fascinating. I decided to pursue a degree in Chemistry while minoring in Business, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Now don’t be misled, the material didn’t always come easy. In all actuality, it was a struggle and a very stressful couple of years trying to work through all the requirements, but it was the most fulfilling and accomplishing feeling when success was the final outcome.
Having a challenging major was not an uncommon thing on my squad. My squad was composed of a group of very driven, hardworking young women who challenged themselves in their studies. During the week when we weren’t at practice or cheering for our volleyball, football, or basketball teams, you could find us at the library in a group studying together. It was reassuring having that drive from my teammates to excel in my studies.
I think that being a part of the cheer squad really helped me with my studies. A common physics law states that bodies in motion tend to stay in motion and that was very true in my life. My busiest days were also my most productive ones, school-wise. Choosing to be very involved pushed me to manage my time well and to be driven in everything I did, including studying. There wasn’t very much downtime, and I had absolutely no problem with that.
So as the start of a new school year is drawing near, it’s important to remember why you are there, first and foremost to receive an education, and that cheer is icing on the cake. My advice to you is to push the limits; don’t let stereotypes hold you back. To work hard and to surround yourself with people who have the same goals as you and who are capable of pushing you to excel. Because as much as we all wish that we can cheer forever, life continues on after cheer is over and there is nothing more important than finding something you think is truly captivating and fascinating and pushing yourself to be the best you can be in your studies.
When I first got the news that I had made the cheer squad at Nebraska, all kinds of emotion and excitement overwhelmed me. I started imagining all the great benefits of making the squad; performing in front of thousands of fans each weekend, being a part of such a long time standing tradition, all the free gear we would get, all the amazing people we would meet and all the fabulous places we would have the opportunity to travel to. But looking back, one of the greatest benefits that stuck out in my mind was none of those things, and absolutely topped them all. The great privilege we were given to be role models was the most rewarding part of my time at Nebraska. Growing up, I had looked up to so many people; their successes and how their successes and happiness pushed me to want to excel just like they had. I never thought that through cheerleading, I would get such a great opportunity to provide a positive example for people all over the state. Our squad really took a strong pride in what we stood for, as well as the image we wanted to portray to everyone we came in contact with. Starting out, I didn’t realize the impact we had on others, but started to see it very quickly the moment I had the opportunity to do my first philanthropies and appearances. Fan Day – 2009—the day before fall camp for Football started where fans had the opportunity to take pictures and receive autographs from their favorite athletes and show their support for the upcoming season. Running high with nerves and excitement, all of it turned to complete humbleness when a line of little girls formed to talk with us, their huge beaming smiles, tiny cheerleading outfits, big red bows and of course their red and white poms. The look of pure innocent joy on their face was unmatchable to anything I had ever seen and it absolutely melted my heart to know that these little girls probably didn’t sleep last night because they were so excited to meet us. What a humbling feeling.Seeing the smiles on those little girls faces made us appreciate even more, the great opportunity we had been given. It really made me stop to think about the impact we had on everyone we came in contact with, from cheering on the sidelines of a football game, to walking through campus, to being present at community events. It was important to remember that people looked up to us and they were looking at our success and using it as motivation to achieve theirs. Just knowing the impact we had on people’s lives really helped me to cherish every moment in that uniform. We were representatives of the University and people looked up to us for direction and motivation. But there were also those who watched and waited for us to fail. Just knowing that those individuals were out there watching our every move really helped keep everything in check and helped me to remember the image I wanted to portray in and out of the uniform. I think this is a good rule of thumb to live by at whatever stage of cheer-life you are currently experiencing. From high school to college, you are making an impact on people’s lives. You are people’s inspiration and your actions on and off the court/field will speak volumes to them. Even out of the uniform, you are a representative of your school and community and that’s a very humbling position that holds a great amount of responsibility.