The life of a college dancer

The True Life Of A college Dancer: Brittany Ferguson

"... have confidence in yourself and trust in God's plan."

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Meet Brittany Ferguson.

She's a 21 year old college student at Grand Canyon University studying Business Management with a minor in Entrepreneurial studies. Brittany is getting ready to enter her senior year and her fourth year on GCU's Dance team. Brittany started dancing with GCU in 2015 and as she is getting ready to begin her final college chapter, I sat down with her to reflect on her college experience as woman of intelligence, dedication, beauty and faith.

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What made you first interested to pursue dance in college?

Brittany: I started dancing my sophomore year of high school for my high school's dance team and that's when I first fell in love with dancing. I went to a few GCU dance clinics and couldn't really decide where I wanted to go to college. I loved the GCU dance clinics, most importantly the environment. We watched the girls dance and listened to them talk about their experience at GCU. I was really drawn to how it was a Christ-centered the team was. I said to myself, "I want to be a part of a community like this." Then, I decided to audition.

Describe to me your first audition experience. Do you have any tips for anyone who is interested in auditioning for a college dance program?

Brittany: I was in high school when I auditioned, so I was very intimidated. This was my first time really seeing the college team experience and it was different from what I was used to. The girls who have been on the team for awhile were so nice and welcoming. They took the time to help us compared to try to compete with us.

For anyone auditioning, I would have to say be confident in yourself and trust in God's plan. Know that if He feels you should be on the team then He will allow that opportunity for you. Most importantly make sure your heart is fully in it because joining a college dance team is a big commitment. Once your heart is in it, show up and show them who you are. Don't worry about trying to be anyone else in the room, being true to yourself is more than enough.

What is your favorite experience you have had being apart of GCU dance program?

Brittany: The camaraderie. And Midnight Madness!

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Haha! I love Midnight Madness!

Brittany: I'm lucky to attend a school that puts on really cool events that dance gets to be a part of. Of course, basketball season is also really special.

The Havoc section must be so fun to perform for! I feel like the whole Havoc section is another player on the team.

Brittany: Oh, for sure! Being in front of the Havocs is so awesome and it makes it so much more fun. I feel like we all contribute to the team and get them hyped up.

Is there anyone on the team who has changed your life?

Brittany: Madi Reimers, one of my fellow dancers, has been my partner in this whole experience. We have always had each other and encountered every situation side by side. We are both dancers, plus full-time college students, plus student workers so having someone who I can relate with has been so imperative to me. We constantly push one another not only in dance but our faith, academics and life goals as well. We have so many memories I will forever cherish and I could not feel any more blessed to have someone like her in my life.

Brittany and MaddiBrittany

Do you have a favorite Bible verse that helps you through difficult times that college can bring?

Brittany: I have so many verses. I love. Some of my favorite verses are Proverbs 4:23, Peter 5:7 and Romans 8:28.

I LOVE Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Brittany: Me too! These are the verses that have caught my eye and made me think about everything I do. It's so important to know that what no matter what you're going through, you have to put trust in God's plan. You have to stay as positive as possible because there is no reason not to be.

How has your faith shaped your experience as an athlete?

Brittany: People know me as "Brittany the dancer". They look at me and say if she acts a specific way then all dancers must act in that specific way. Faith has reminded me to be loyal to myself and my teammates. Being a dancer I am constantly representing my whole team. My team prays at the end of every practice and we ask for prayer requests to make sure we are all there for each other. We just want to lift each other up and help each other and that results in our best performance as dancers.

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Compare your emotions and thoughts going into your first year on GCU dance compared to going into your senior year.

Brittany: I didn't know what to expect my first year. I was so intimidated my freshman year, for the college experience and the dance experience as a whole. My senior year I'm more secure in my place with GCU and GCU dance. It's so bittersweet knowing this is my last year and that the best experience of my life is coming to an end. I have put in so much hard work and time into this team and dance has been a huge part of me. I'm also looking forward to seeing what life brings after this.

Change is always scary but it can be a good thing.

Brittany: Exactly!

If you could give advice to yourself before you started the GCU dance program, what would you say?

Brittany: I would say no matter what, always be on time since being late is never acceptable in our team. Don't stress yourself out even though it's a big workload. As hard as it is sometimes, in a blink of an eye it's gone. Everyone says college goes by quickly and they're right. Live in the moment.

Brittany Brittany

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47 Things All Female Athletes Have Said

Yes, I know I am sweating a lot. No, I do not enjoy practices. Yes, I have said all 47 of these.
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Whether you're a collegiate athlete, or a high school one, you have probably found yourself saying most of these phrases. Us athletes know that the athlete life isn't for everyone, and we often find ourselves questioning if it's still for us. So, this is for all my fellow athletes.

All my fellow athletes who know the struggle is undoubtedly real, and who find themselves saying these 47 phrases almost as often as I do.

* * *

1. Do you have an extra hair tie?

2. What if we just said no? What if we just didn't run when the whistle is blown?

3. I, like, really, am not feeling practice today.

4. Do these pants make my quads look big?

5. Are you going to eat before or after practice?

6. I'm so sore.

7. Want to get McDonald's after practice?

8. Did you see that she wore makeup to a preseason practice?

9. I actually looked like a girl today.

10. I wonder what college would be like if I wasn't an athlete.

11. We're up before the sun way too often.

12. Is it gross if I don't shower after weights?

13. How hard do you think practice will be today?

14. Coach is literally crazy.

15. I ate like 20 minutes ago, so there's a 50% chance I puke during this practice.

16. I'm not going to drink the protein shake they gave us because it's going to make me gain weight.

17. I think my legs are bigger than his, so I can't date him.

18. I think my arms are bigger than his, so I can't date him.

19. Today in class a non-athlete was talking about how busy her schedule is. It was so annoying.

20. Thinking about preseason makes me want to cry.

21. Is it even healthy for us to have this many practices in one day?

22. I'll be right back, I'm having PGD (pre-game dumps).

23. I think I'm going to throw up.

24. I should have worked out more on my own.

25. How do other girls have the energy to put makeup on for class every day?

26. My legs are dead.

27. Why did we think being a college athlete was a good idea?

28. Do you think coach will be mad if I have to go pee?

29. I think I peed my pants a little bit during conditioning.

30. Should I wear my hair in a pony-tail, or in a bun?

31. I should probably start eating healthy soon.

32. Only six more practices until the weekend, we can do this.

33. I'd rather be sore for a week straight than climb into this ice bath.

34. They might have beat us, but at least we're still pretty.

35. I can't wait to celebrate our win this weekend.

36. How many hours of sleep did you get? I got 6, it was crazy, I feel so refreshed.

37. I look like such a boy right now.

38. Will you braid my hair?

39. That referee totally rigged the game. We should have won.

40. I think I'd hate being a reg (regular student).

41. It's OK if I eat this since we had conditioning this morning, right?

42. If you're not doing homework, get off the bus Wi-Fi, everybody.

43. These pants fit my legs perfectly but are huge on my waist.

44. I smell so bad right now that I can smell myself.

45. I bet my grades would be so much better if I wasn't an athlete.

46. Coach only gave us, like, one water break during practice. It was horrible.

47. I am so happy that I'm an athlete.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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I Wouldn't Trade My DII Experience To Play DI Athletics Any Day

I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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As a high school athlete, the only goal is to play your varsity sport at the Division 1 level in college.

No one in high school talks about going to a Division 2 or 3 school, it's as if the only chance you have at playing college athletics is at the DI level. However, there are so many amazing opportunities to play a varsity sport at the DII and DIII level that are equally fun and competitive as playing for a division 1 team.

As a college athlete at the DII level, I hear so many DI athletes wishing they had played at the DII or DIII level. Because the fact of the matter is this: the division you play in really doesn't matter.

The problem is that DII and DIII sports aren't as celebrated as Division 1 athletics. You don't see the National Championships of Division 2 and 3 teams being broadcasted or followed by the entire country. It's sad because the highest levels of competition at the DII and DIII level are competing against some of the Division 1 teams widely celebrated across the country. Yet DII and DIII teams don't receive the recognition that DI athletics do.

Not everyone can be a DI athlete but that doesn't mean it's easy to be a DII or DIII athlete. The competition is just as tough as it is at the top for DII and DIII athletes. Maybe the stakes are higher for these athletes because they have to prove they are just as good as DI athletes. Division 2 and 3 athletes have just as much grit and determination as Division 1 athletes, without the glorified title of being "a division 1 athlete."

Also, playing at the DII or DIII level grants more opportunities to make your college experience your own, not your coach's.

I have heard countless horror stories in athletics over the course of my four-year journey however, the most heartbreaking come from athletes who lose their drive to compete because of the increased pressure from coaches or program. Division 1 athletics are historically tougher programs than Division 2 or 3 programs, making an athlete's college experience from one division to another significantly different.

The best part of not going to a division 1 school is knowing that even though my team doesn't have "DI" attached to it, we still have the opportunity to do something unique every time we arrive at an event. Just because we aren't "DI" athletes, we still have the drive and competitive spirit to go to an event and win. We are great players, and we have broken countless records as a team.

That's something we all have done together, and it's something we can take with us for the rest of our lives.

We each have our own mission when it comes to our college athletic careers, however together we prove to be resilient in the fight for the title. Giving it all when we practice and play is important, but the memories we have made behind the scenes as a team makes it all worth it, too.

The best part of being apart of college athletics is being able to be passionate about your sport with teammates that embody that same mindset. It's an added benefit to having teammates who become your best friends because it makes your victories even more victorious, and your defeats easier to bare.

No matter what level an athlete is playing at in college, it's important that all the hours spent at practice and on the road should be enjoyed with teammates that make the ride worthwhile. The experiences athletes have at any level are going to vary, but the teammates I have and the success we've had together is something I cherish and will take with me forever. I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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