A Thank You Letter To Cheerleading

A Thank You Letter To Cheerleading

And everything that came along with it.
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To the sport I never thought I would become a part of, thank you for teaching me discipline, how to count (only up to 8, unfortunately), teamwork, how to crack a cheesy smile and most importantly, for teaching me the meaning of a second family.

But cheerleading is not the only thing I can thank for that—I can also give thanks to my amazing coaches. You were able to teach 35 of us and 7 of you how to become a family. Thank you and cheerleading for giving me memories I will cherish for a lifetime. Cheerleading, you've caused me to shed a thousand tears, crack a million smiles and laugh an infinite amount of times. You've allowed me to feel such an adrenaline rush that I had to keep coming back for more -- 6 years, but not even close to enough. You've taught me to appreciate those hard losses and use the defeats to come back even stronger, to hold that first place trophy high enough to reach the stars and be grateful for each experience you've given me.

You truly are a bond that can never be broken. From you, I've learned how to lift more than I thought was possible, how to sell my dance the best that a girl with no rhythm can, and how to give one hell of a performance to leave the crowd wanting more. Waiting in that dark tunnel and feeling things you didn't even know existed, spiriting out to those glimmering bright lights that make you feel like a movie star, hitting your entire routine and hearing the crowd go wild as your coaches are on their knees crying because of how proud you made them—it is a dream.

The best of all? Sitting in a circle with your team at awards and you hear, "In first place, the Keyport Indians," amplify the entire arena as confetti falls from the ceiling. Thank you, cheerleading, for giving me this rush of excitement and the happiness that comes along with performing in front of a panel of judges and an entire arena to show how great my team and I were, and knowing that all of the hours of hard work and dedication had finally paid off. As most people say, it is truly impossible to put the feeling you get into words; being called in first place is absolutely indescribable. Cheerleading, you have made me wish that I was the one still hearing my coaches say, "one more time," to "STS," or the one still able to perform in front of spotlights and a stadium full of people. I have found something that has truly left a lasting impact on my life and will always hold a special place in my heart. So tell me, have you ever wondered what it feels like to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard

Cover Image Credit: Reanna Morio

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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views

It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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College Students Are Highly Susceptible To JUUL Addictions And It's Not A Laughing Matter

I've watched many of my friends go from people who thought cigarettes and vapes were idiotic to people who fiend for JUUL pods when they run out.

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Lately, on every social media platform, you can see videos of college students hitting a JUUL or memes about JUULs. It appears that many students go into college without any intentions of forming a nicotine addiction. However, that changes when friends and other people peer pressure you into trying one. Once that happens, you buy your own, and then you become a fiend. It is quite ridiculous, but that is what ends up happening. I have personally seen it happen to a lot of my friends, especially my guy friends who rush a fraternity.

During college, many people are looking to try new things and experiment, so they are open to more things.

So, this means while many never have any intention to attempt a JUUL, they do because everyone else is doing it and continuously ask them to try it. Also, in the beginning, after you hit a JUUL, you get a big head rush, you are on a high. After that, you chase that high and end up smoking a whole pod. I have watched many of my friends go from people who thought cigarettes and vapes were idiotic to people who fiend for JUUL pods when they run out.

It's ridiculous, I know.

I know getting addicted to JUULs may sound ridiculous, but it is just like any other addiction. Many people do not even know their family suffers from addiction until it is too late. I just discovered that there are some family members in my family tree that have suffered from addiction and I avoid anything that could potentially trigger that. So, people just end up chasing the "dragon" because they do not know they have any preexisting conditions.

It is what it is.

Yes, you should cut out the nicotine addiction, but it may not be easy. Since it is a combination of peer pressure and possible addiction in your family, it may take a while and a lot of discipline. However, that is what it is like for knocking any habit. For instance, it takes years for individuals who are addicted to cigarettes for them to quit.

Stress can also be a trigger, which is why you need to practice techniques that will lower your anxiety rather than giving in. It will be healthier and help you instead of just pushing the issues aside.

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