Being a collegiate cheerleader takes a lot of time, dedication, hard work and patience. Transitioning from all-star cheer to college cheer is a lot different than most people think; your priorities change and cheer shoots itself to the top of your to-do list faster than you can blink. My life schedule is made up around cheerleading and I wouldn’t have it any other way! After graduating Little Rock Central High School in 2013, I moved from Arkansas to Texas. I attended Navarro Junior College where I cheered and went to school for two years. At Navarro I learned how to fly as a coed cheerleader, basket at a level 6 difficulty level and stand on boy’s shoulders while holding a girl on my own in pyramids. I basically learned a whole new world of cheerleading. I earned my first two collegiate National Championship wins in Daytona Beach, Florida with Navarro College and then transferred Sam Houston State University where I continued my cheerleading career. The following year at Sam, I won my third national championship title.
In college my cheerleading abilities were put to the test; it’s not all about the glitter and big hair in college cheer. We practice every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from three to six and we have football games on the weekends and during basketball season. We cheer during the week. During our practices, we work on tumbling, jumps, pyramids, stunts and baskets. Everything changes in college cheer...while tumbling, you have to learn to use your own strength on dead floor instead bouncing and using the springs on a spring floor. Jumps are just like tumbling, you can’t whip your jumps as you would normally on spring floor because there is no rebound on a dead floor. Instead of standing on your bases hands and being thrown while being connected to another person, you are standing on shoulders and throwing girls on top of yourself, while still managing to smile. Stunts consist of being thrown in the air while flipping or spinning or BOTH, and then landing on one guys hands; and during baskets you are launched into the air doing flips and spins and landing in a cradle position in your bases arms. Coming from all-star to college, I was shocked at the difference in difficulty and change in skills. To be honest I said many times “I’m not doing a flipping basket where I spin and have to flip at the same time” or “I could never land on his hands doing a front-hand spring with a one and a half twist,” all of those things seemed so scary and mind-blowing to me. In the end, I actually shocked myself after learning all the skills I said I would never be able to do; getting over my fears and pushing myself to be the best I could possibly be. Aside from the skills, college game day is a BIG plus in college cheer! At Sam, we meet before games and warm up our skills and stunts, and we go around the tailgates by the stadium while doing cheers and our fight song for tailgaters. I study during my free time when I am not working or doing things for cheer. I hang out with my friends and try my best to have a social life and keep up with school and cheer all in one, but your friends become understanding that cheer and school come first. After all, you are in college to get a degree and become an adult some day!
At the end of the day whenever I get overwhelmed with my busy schedule or stressed about not getting a certain skill or a better grade, I have to remind myself of all the accomplishments I have made and that it takes a person’s failure to fuel the drive of champion. College cheer is tough, tiring and it takes away from having a “normal college life” but I’ve made so many incredible life-long friendships and adventures that I would never trade for anything. If you haven’t thought about cheering in college yet, I would strongly advise it, it will change your life for the better!