Freshman year has come to an end, and with that, I have spent a year dancing in college. Being a dancer in college is more than continuing your favorite after-school hobby and working on your dance skills. The year was filled with highs, lows, and everything in between. Looking back on a year of college, dance has impacted my friendships, productivity skills, and been a core part of my memories while also giving me challenges to overcome day to day.
Being on a dance team gives you an automatic in for making friends. You are surrounded by people who have at least one shared interest as you. At my school, our dance and cheer teams were combined which provided an opportunity for a lot of friends. Some of my best friends are from the dance team. It is nice to have people around you who know what it’s like when you get excited about getting a new skill, get stressed about learning new choreography, etc.
Like any college sport, good time management is the best way to make sure you fit everything from practices to classwork into your schedule. I was trying to maintain a schedule of working out, practicing, going out with friends, and doing homework. On top of that, I also have multiple jobs on and off campus which means a planner became my best friend. I had to prioritize what I wanted to do most that week, and overall, as I figured out a schedule that worked for me. I didn’t miss out on any of the college experience.
Stress or FOMO
One of the lows of my first year was definitely being too busy to hang out with friends, go to school events, or even just fit in a nap. This wasn’t an everyday thing, but it was very easy to get overwhelmed and stressed about learning new things, having time for everything, and keeping my mind and body healthy. I also got injured and then had to fit in physical therapy and time for my body to recover while also still showing up for my teammates and team. This is something I overcame, but it was something I had to learn and adjust to.
Some of my favorite memories from my first years as a dancer in college are team bonding nights. We had Lip Sync battles, bonfire nights, game nights, and more. These get-togethers really provided a way for me to become closer to everyone on the team and not have so much fear of missing out on the regular college experience. I will say, my experience wasn’t normal, but I did have just as much fun as everyone else.
Some of my classes cut a few minutes into my practice time, so I would go to class in my dance clothes and then run to practice. That was a bit hectic, but my coaches and teachers were always understanding. My tight schedule usually meant many late nights spent studying to fit in homework. However, dance did help out with some of my classes. My school is mostly an athlete-populated school so a ton of my homework revolved around sports. For example, I wrote a paper on how dance affects students’ mental health for a psychology class. So even though it took away some time for homework, it also provided inspiration for some of my assignments.
Overall, being a dancer in college has shaped me and my college experience into what it is today. Combining dance with my education, gave me friends, memories, something to do, and a chance to do what I love. I am looking forward to continuing on through this journey!