Name : Gracie
Major: Biology major on the pre-vet track at Mercer University.
Years Cheering: I’ve been cheering since 6th grade
What is a typical week like for you? Wake up, workouts, classes, homework, 3-4 hour practice, shower, sleep. Same routine unless its a game day, in which instead of practice its a game and we have off days once a week.
What is a typical practice like for you? Roll mats out, run half a mile, stretch, discuss our game plan. Generally we work the routine from top to bottom, spending time on each section. For example, we’ll do opening, then stunts, baskets, main stunts, and if we have any time left we’ll start our pyramids and dance. Afterwards, we’re welcome to stay and work tumbling and depending on my homework level, I might stay.
What is your favorite thing about cheering in college? In my college, the cheerleaders are recognized as a sport just as much as the others. We’re constantly busy and it’s nice to have a group of people around that I can go to when I have questions. As a freshman, its nice to know I have friends that I can go to who have already gone through what I’m going through.
How do you balance school, cheer, and a social life? Balancing school, social life, and cheerleading is really hard for me right now. My school is quite difficult (not saying others aren’t) and have very strict policies on homework and GPA, etc. Equally our athletic president wants us to all get high GPAs as an athletic program as a whole to get some trophy things (I don’t remember the name- forgive me), so we are put onto really high standards. Therefore, I take my homework to practice and spend study hall hours in the library trying to keep up and stay ahead. As for social life, I have a few really close friends that I love to talk to and keep close. I don’t see them every day, but we do like to hang out and do fun things on my off days or when I don’t have a lot of homework.
What would you to someone considering college cheerleading? If you’re considering being a college cheerleader, consider if its something you really want to continue doing. I loved all-star cheerleading and high school, however college cheerleading was quite a shock. It’s quiet a commitment and requires a lot of time and dedication. I practice almost every day, and I’ve definitely have had to make some sacrifices (time taken away from breaks, weekends taken away, sleep, parties missed, etc). Also, be conscious of cheering in a completely new environment. While it doesn’t happen to everyone, I know a lot of the freshman on my team started losing skills at the start of the season. A lot of girls had never left their coaches and gyms, so it was a shock. However, once you get comfortable in a new environment with new people, I promise it’s a group you want to be in. The friendships are great and it’s really nice to be able to know I have the group to fall back on and someone to always sit with. While it is exhausting, it’s definitely worth the fun and hard work. Plus, if you compete at nationals, RINGS RINGS RINGS!
Most important thing you have learned from college cheer? Really, I just grew up. I learned responsibility and to not quit when things got tough. I belonged to a team and that helped me a lot.
I love the family environment my school has. Everyone’s so sweet here and it’s fun to cheer for the teams, cause the fans cheer with us! It’s just great to feel like I belong somewhere.
Favorite animal: Wolves!
Favorite book: All the Harry Potter books
TV Show: I don’t really watch TV, but I’d have to say 19 kids and counting or Nanny 911, hah!
After cheering: I’m going to go to grad school (Hopefully at UGA) for Vet school and hopefully go from there! I also want to coach!
Slippery Rock, Rutgers, Delaware, University of Rhode Island, Monmouth University, Hofstra, Villanova, and Penn State. Also Maine, Boston University, Bryant University all compete at either UCA or NCA