I have to admit that I’m disappointed with some of today’s youth. Most of us want to get high-paying jobs that don’t require tedious work. They want to forget college, to forget the future. They don’t care about the outcomes of their doings. They think that school should be something that shouldn’t be taken seriously. What they don’t know is that drinking, partying, and putting off their schoolwork can only take them so far.
I, however, worked hard to get to where I am. I didn’t get to where I am by slacking off and letting life pass me by. I’m not saying that I’m perfect; nobody is. It’s just that I’ve been through a lot of things that have made me who I am; I’ve had experiences that have made me stronger, experiences that taught me valuable lessons. Like any other person, I’ve made mistakes and I’ve learned from them.
I joined the varsity cheerleading squad back in sixth grade. Then, I was clueless about what it was, what its true purposes were. I just knew that they wanted someone like me, someone who had had years of dance experience behind them. I was shallow. I used to think that it would be a piece of cake.
I didn’t expect for it to be so difficult. It was different from my years of formal ballet training. Our coach scared me. Everything had to be perfect. He would make us repeat the steps over and over and when we would get it wrong, he would yell at us. I was terrified. I remember asking my mother if I could quit. She threatened to tell my coach. I felt as if I had no choice but to continue what I started.
I spent the next few months working harder than I ever had. I trained four hours a day, three times a week. My coach pushed us all to do our best, to exercise our strengths and to work on our weaknesses. On top of it all, I had schoolwork to do, and I had exams to study for. The trainings pushed me to my limit; it disciplined me and taught me the value of perseverance.
I was slowly conforming to the team. I began to appreciate all the efforts my coach put into making our routines. I began to make friends with my teammates. It felt good, being part of a group. I felt accepted, and I knew that I could run to my team if ever I needed anything. It was like all of us were important parts of a well oiled machine. We worked together.
Our team was gearing up for the Women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association Cheerleading Competition. We were the defending champions, having won the championship twice in a row already. We were confident, and we were getting better. Our team started training harder than ever, even scheduling trainings days before exams just to prepare.
I felt the pressure to do my best. The school was counting on us. The competition day came, and I felt the need to do my best. All of us did. God blessed my team and me that day, giving us our third consecutive championship.
The same happened in the next year. We trained hard, under extreme pressure, but we still won. We were “four-peat” champions. I can’t describe how exhilarating the feeling of winning something for my alma mater is.
Towards the end of my second year, shortly after performing a perfectly executed routine in the National Cheerleading Championship, my coach announced me as the co-captain for the upcoming year; which meant that I was going to be the captain in my fourth year of high school. I was happy. I thought that having been a part of the team for almost three years then, everything would be easy.
Again, I was mistaken. The year didn’t go as smoothly as the other years did. Some of my new teammates made excuses to be absent from training, and we had more incomplete attendances than not. Most of us started slacking off,...