by Sammi Wendling
Deciding whether or not you want to cheer in college can be both exciting and scary. You probably have questions about college cheer, or are feeling unsure about being a collegiate athlete. Here are some answers to questions that may be on your mind!

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Time management is a must.
College cheerleading is definitely something you must be willing to dedicate your time for. You will be asked to participate in parades, games, local events and competitions. Like high school or All Star cheerleading, college cheer requires you to give your time for more than just practices. Balancing school, grades, friends, and cheer isn’t impossible, though. Time management is key! Adjust your schedule to make room for homework, practice, and maybe the occasional Netflix show! If you can balance your time and understand that cheering in college means giving up some free time, you will be a successful student and athlete.

Understand that your college experience will be different from a typical student.
This is definitely not a bad thing – but it is important to acknowledge that your college experience won’t necessarily be the same as a non-athlete. Weekends will be filled with games, competitions or other community events. You might have early morning practices – or late night ones. You will have to eat healthy, work out and take care of your body. Understand that you will have to spend your free time studying and doing homework instead of always going to a social event.

From personal experience, I wouldn’t trade my college cheer experience for anything! Being in front of a crowd on game day, or representing your university through competitions or community events is one of the best memories you will have in college. Having a cheer family was something I wasn’t ready to give up – and I would never change my decision to cheer at my university!

You are the literal face of the university!
What an amazing experience! You will be a physical representation of your college. People will recognize you from games, parades, volunteer opportunities, or even from the news. You will be a role model to the children you interact with. The university’s homepage or even an advertisement might have your picture on it. You will have the opportunity to build a relationship with the school’s officials like the dean, chancellor, or the athletic director. Professors and students alike will associate your name with the cheerleading program. However, this means that you will be watched more than other students. Understand that your grades reflect on the team. Also, be smart about social media. Everything posted on the Internet can be retraceable, and you would not want the Chancellor to see a post that could damage your reputation – and the team’s image- permanently.

You will be closer to this team than any other team you’ve been on.
College has a way of bringing together a group of people and forming a tight-knit bond that nothing can break. You will live together, eat together, and mature together. The team becomes your family – a home away from home! Being able to share similar feelings of homesickness or your excitement from acing an exam is something that no other team will be able to give you quite like a college team. Each person is going through the joys and hardships of college together – and you will have a group of amazing people to lean on to get you through it.

Bottom line?
If you want to cheer in college, you will need to manage your time and represent yourself in a positive way. You will experience things that no ordinary student does, and you will build incredible relationships with university higher-ups. The team will become unbelievably close because you will be discovering who you are together. If you cheer in college, your memories will not necessarily be about going to the best parties. Instead, you will look back at your college experience and remember the feeling of being in front of the entire student body, united by your team, smiling to the crowd and wishing you could pause this moment in time forever.

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