There’s More To This Cheerleader Than Meets The Eye

Molly Arseneau

Sophomore Advertising major, Communications minor

What are you involved in on campus?

I am involved in the University of Illinois Cheerleading team and Chi Omega Sorority.

What's your major/minor(s)?

I am an Advertising major and also pursuing a minor in Communications.

Do you have any ~cool~ talents or hobbies? If so, what are they?

Recently I have gotten into painting. My roommates and I started painting canvases in an attempt to decorate our apartment on a budget. What I make isn’t Picasso-worthy or anything, but I have found it to be a great way to tune everything out for a moment and just focus on making something. I’m excited to see what else I love to do when I’m not studying, cheering or working out! Oh, and I can also do this creepy evil laugh.

Where is your favorite place to eat on campus?

My favorite place to eat on campus is definitely Sakanaya. I recommend this place to everyone! I had actually never had sushi before eating at Sakanaya, which I explained to my friends the first time I dined there. A guest at the next table overheard that this was my first sushi experience and bought me a piece of their favorite item on the menu. It was a very memorable first time there!

Where is your favorite place to study on campus?

I have a few places I like to study just to shake things up every so often. I love to study at Irwin, the Chi Omega Sorority house, the Union and BIF.

Who do you look up to most and why?

I look up most to my mom. She has shown me what it means to be a strong, wise, classy lady and to always be true to who you are, no matter what. She has also taught me to be kind and courageous through everything and in everything. She is my rock and I am so proud and blessed that she is my mother.

Who is your celebrity crush?

I can’t decide between Chris Pine or Dave Franco!

What is the highlight of your college career so far?

The highlight of my college career was probably when I finally learned to be comfortable in my own skin, embrace my personality, and stopped worrying about pleasing everyone.

What's your best memory of college so far?

My best memory of college so far was probably taking the field as a cheerleader at my first home football game. I had tears in my eyes as I looked around the stadium and couldn’t believe I was standing there getting to do what I have wanted to do since I was a little girl. To this day, when I am in the stadium on game day, I am still sometimes in disbelief and I am blessed to be able to have this experience.

What do you think is your greatest accomplishment and why?

My greatest accomplishment would have to be when I made the University of Illinois Cheerleading team, not just simply because I made the team, but because preparing for this goal took a lot of determination and motivation when I felt a lot of odds were against me. For a little backstory, my freshman year, I attended community college and worked about 30 hours a week. I was very unhappy because, for me, I wanted to experience going off to a new place and I was under the impression I was never going to cheer again after getting cut at the last round of the University of Alabama cheerleading team tryouts. At first, I felt completely defeated and was feeling sorry for myself. I soon became sick of feeling bad for myself and living a life I wasn’t satisfied with. I then decided to take the energy from feeling sorry for myself and put it towards working for the goal of changing my situation. I had to discipline myself to train for the UIUC cheer tryouts. This included going into my old cheer gym and tumbling, improving my strength and cardio, and eating the right food that would fuel me to be able to do these things (which, sadly, did not include ice cream or bagels and cream cheese that I hold dear to my heart). I had to do this on my own time all while working a job and maintaining a high GPA. Once I made the cheer team, I was ecstatic and felt as though that was a turning point in my life. Even though I achieved a goal I set for myself, I still make sure to work hard at my sport and attempt to earn my spot every single day to become not only a better athlete, but a better teammate.

If you could go back in time and tell your freshman-self something, what would you tell her?

I would tell my freshman-self that even though something seems to be popular doesn’t mean you have to go along with it. Stay true to your values, embrace your unique qualities and you will find people who will respect that and love who you are. It may take some time to find those people, but life is too short to not surround yourself with people who love you for you.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I hope to have traveled around, done some mission work, and I see myself, at this point, about ready to start the adventure of having a family. I hope to have found a job in a field that I am passionate about, one that helps people and brings them happiness. My goal for when I am older is not to have a lot of material possessions, but to have a lot of memories, experiences, and to have bettered others’ lives.

Why did you choose the University of Illinois?

I chose the University of Illinois because of its traditions, prestigious academic programs, and the beautiful campus. I never thought I would want to go to a school in-state until I visited UIUC. Now, I call Champaign my home away from home.