“Let us just step in the hall and discuss for a minute, and we will be right back in to let you know the results.” I might as well have just left right then and there. I was thoroughly embarrassed. I knew along with everyone else in that room that I did not make the team, and that the last three hours were just as painful for everyone else to get through as they were for me. This is a typical scenario I found myself in during my first few months of college.
After attending the student involvement fair, to say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. A big understatement.
I spent about two excruciating hours one night shuffling through the countless half sheets I managed to gather from the daunting rows of tables shouting at me to audition or sign up for a number of clubs or teams. Like the majority of other Boston College students, I was the one in high school who did every activity possible. Dance, Step Team, Choir, Soccer, Theater, the list goes on.
Needless to say, my first week of college went something like this: stressing out to find my classrooms, running around like a lost duckling, attending meeting after meeting and audition after audition. For some reason, I found myself at auditions for the Boston College Pom Team. Now, I never did cheerleading in high school. Yes, I danced but not competitively.
God knows what made me think the Pom Team would be a good fit for me after seeing the pretty, perfectly in-shape girls dancing around with pom-poms at the first football game. The thing about the Pom Team is that they are not even the cheer team. They are a cross between dance and cheer, and they compete in dance competitions but also cheer at sporting events for football and basketball.
I have absolutely nothing against the Pom Team. They are an extremely talented group and I truly admire the commitment and dedication they put into their team. I believed I could successfully be a part of this team. And so, at 9 a.m. one Saturday the fall of my freshman year, I found myself sitting in a room with about four or five other girls. I believed I was ready to audition for the Pom Team.
Now, one year later, I realize I was the opposite of ready.
I didn’t know what the next three hours had in store for me. I cannot accurately describe the feelings and emotions circulating through me as I sat there, filling out the sheet with my name, availability, clothing and shoe size. The minute I stepped into the room, my heart raced. I did not belong here and I knew it. I could have turned around and left before we even started. However, I was no quitter. I felt determined to be involved in as many things as possible in college.
Denying the fact that I deserved time to settle in to college and take my time, the schedule they described to us seemed perfectly fine in my over-achieving, unrealistic and determined freshman mind. “No problem,” I thought to myself when I had three-hour practices three nights a week until 11 p.m.
I know that 11 p.m. is not truly that late. However, I had the blessing of living on another campus as a freshman, meaning I had to take a bus back to my dorm each night. The thought of getting on a bus in the dark three nights a week and not getting back to my dorm until midnight should have seemed a little overboard in my overly optimistic mind. Looking back, it was completely unreasonable for me to join this team amidst the numerous other clubs and activities I was planning to be involved in.
Not to mention the whole point of me being at Boston College: school and classes.
However, I stayed in that room for the entire three-hour audition. I still do not know why or how they didn’t just ask me to leave. We learned a dance routine, in which I could not do several parts because I had lost my ability to do the splits after taking up running in high school. I also could not complete the calypso jump, a crucial part of the dance routine. I completely humiliated myself, asking one of the current members to help me with the routine. I still see her around campus to this day. Though we have never spoken again, I always wonder what she thinks when she sees me.
I was not as unqualified as I may make it sound. I have been dancing since I was three years old. Ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and lyrical all made there ways to my weekly agenda. However, as I entered high school, I never joined a competitive studio, and my dance studio was small, with only two other girls in my group. Dance had never been a dominant part of my life. What had started as a very definitive part of my life turned into a small complement to a variety of other extracurricular activities such as sports, theater and piano. As I continued through the audition along with the other five girls, each clearly more qualified than I, I pretended I was completely confident in my ability to be a part of the team.
When the auditions finally concluded and the coach stepped in the hall with the captains of the team, I would have much rather disappeared into thin air.
Of course, they came back in to list off the names of every other girl—excluding me—as a new member of the Boston College Pom Team. Feeling defeated and like a complete failure, I gave a soft smile, thanked the coach and quietly left to wait for the bus that would bring me back to my far away dorm.
As embarrassing as this entire morning was for me, that is all it was. One morning. Granted it definitely did not end in the happiest way, it did teach me an important lesson to my life in college. It taught me that regardless of the way others make it look, it is not possible to be involved in everything. The girls on the Pom Team may be amazing at what they do, but for most of them, that is what they choose to do: Pom Team.
That has become their entire lives at Boston College.
That is what is right for many people, but not for me. I wanted to be involved in a variety of things, so a dance team as intense as the Pom Team was not the right fit for me. I needed to take more time to figure out what I enjoyed and what the best activities and clubs were for me.
Despite the humiliating audition, it actually ended up giving me more confidence and pride for trying and challenging myself to stay for the whole three hours. I started to become independent and figure college out for myself.
Even though I see the one member who I felt so silly for asking her to help me with the routine, I know that when she sees me, she isn’t thinking anything. In college no one really cares about others and their mistakes. Everyone is worried about figuring it out for themselves, just as I was, and still am.
The failures and embarrassing moments are the crucial moments that help one to grow and become one step closer to being an expert at college life. Although becoming an expert at college life is something no one will ever achieve, that doesn’t mean the small failures along the way aren’t a step in the right direction. At least for me, making a fool of myself at Pom Team auditions sure did make me want to crawl under a rock for a few days. However, now I have confidently emerged from that rock and continue on the path of college, which is really just finding yourself on the larger path of life.