As you can see from the title, this is post 1 out of 25 posts. If you caught my post yesterday, in honor of my 25th birthday, I will be doing a blogathon for the 25 days leading up to my birthday. I’m so excited to share my stories and my journey thus far with you. I’m hoping that these posts will give you a deeper look into me and what I’m all about as well as some insightful lessons, bits of motivation, a sprinkle of entertainment and a whole lot of inspiration. To continue on the fun, check back here each day and also follow me on IG (@threethousandmiles) where I’ll be posting using the hashtag #25for25yrs.
Today I want to share one of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned in my short journey through life. It may sound cliché and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that:
“It’s NEVER too late!”
Growing up I was a competitive cheerleader and a gymnast. Don’t ask me to tumble now but I used to love vault and bars and competed on both in high school. My competitive cheerleading team was nationally ranked and we consistently placed within the top 3 at nationals within our division. We were awesome and I have so many memories with them.
Unlike the other girls on my team I was relatively new to the world of cheer. A lot of them started as little kids and they had amazing tumbling skills to show for it. I was an ex-dancer/ gymnast and wanted a fun way to make friends and stay active. My background made it easy for me to pick up on cheerleading but even during my gymnastics days I HATED tumbling so much. So I was less than amused when my coach made it mandatory for all of us to tumble during our routine at competitions.
Me and a few members of my old team before a competition!
One season, I found out about this awesome summer camp called Woodward. If you’re into cheer/ gymnastics you’ve likely heard of it. Basically, it’s an intensive camp for cheer and gymnastics enthusiasts to train and learn new skills. After months of begging my mom, I visited campus in Pennsylvania and fell in love. I knew that a few weeks at camp would help bring back my confidence in tumbling and that I would come back to my cheer team ready to flip across the mat.
After much convincing, my mother agreed to let me sign up. Except the thing was I never went. For whatever reason I decided that 14 years old was too late to learn to tumble and to learn new tricks. I figured I was too old and it was too late for me grow as a gymnast and cheerleader. In other words, I gave up before I ever got started. After that summer I started a new cheer season and continued with minimal progression in my tumbling skills. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how stupid it was to hold myself back.
During my time as a cheerleader, I always regretted not going to Woodward for the summer. Even if I didn’t come out as the next Gabby Douglass the training and the experience would have been so beneficial for me.
“I let myself quit before I even got a chance to really start”
It’s really hard to get into something, especially when you feel like you’re perpetually behind or when you’re starting later than everyone else. Whether you’re new to the cheer team, or you’re the nontraditional pre-med who decided she wanted to go to med school later in life, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others.
But regardless of where you are in your journey, don’t ever deny yourself the opportunity to learn and grow. I made a mistake by not going to cheer camp. How many times have you denied yourself an opportunity to do something great out of fear of failure, or because you felt like you were too late or too old? Looking back, I had 3 solid years of competitive cheer left and that doesn’t include the additional 4 years of cheer I did in college. It was silly of my to feel like training at 14 years old was worthless, especially since I had so many years left to compete. Who cares that I wasn’t tumbling at 4 years old like my other teammates? The sad part is, I watched cheerleaders who were even newer and older than me learn and master skills that I denied myself from learning. The difference between them and me was that I gave up and I wrongfully decided it was “too late”.
An old photo of my old Harvard Cheer teammates and I at cheerleading nationals in Daytona, FL!
Maybe you’re in a position where you’re looking to change paths or perhaps you’ve had opportunities to develop and grow. Whatever your situation may be, please don’t give up. Go to cheer camp, sign up for the post-bacc, switch your major, take that dance class, etc. There are already so many obstacles and hurdles many of us have to cross each day, don’t become an additional barrier to your success.
Since forgoing cheer camp, I have tried to not make the same mistake twice. I now take every opportunity I can get to further myself and to get closer to my dreams. Even if others around me got a head start, it doesn’t mean that I can’t finish the race, and the same goes for you too! Since then I’ve advanced myself in so many ways. I’ve learned to bake and decorate cakes, I decided to change my path in my medical journey, I’ve set new goals, and so much more.
As I’m approaching 25 it’s so important for me to remember these lessons. I’m only getting older and I refuse to limit myself and my growth. Here’s to never limiting ourselves and not allowing doubts and fears to get in the way of our dreams!
My old cheer team and I at a competition. Big bows, glitter eyes, and lots of blush was the trend that season lol!
P.S. Thank you for joining me in my 25th birthday countdown! Check back tomorrow for a new post and don’t forget to follow along on IG using #25for25yrs!