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Stage and Crowd at THON 2023
Stage and Crowd at THON 2023
Photo by Sophie Yadzinski
Life > Experiences

Penn State THON Dancers on Preparing for the 46 Hours

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

THON Weekend 2024 has arrived and the Bryce Jordan Center (BJC) is thriving with students and families that are eager to support the dancers for this year. 

THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy dedicated to helping children and families impacted by childhood cancer.

While THON is held over one weekend, the preparation begins months in advance. 

“I usually eat out a lot, so I cut down on that and cooked my meals,” Kara Mcguinness said. “I incorporated a lot of veggies and salads in my diet.” She also adds that closer to THON Weekend, “Since I’m 21, I didn’t go to the bars for the last three weeks.” 

Meanwhile, Gabriela Baez said, “I cut out caffeine just to keep me prepared for staying up for those full 46 hours.”

Mcguinness, a fourth-year student dancing for the Nittany Dance Project, shares that she had a specific stretch routine she did before bed as well as meditating to get not only her body ready, but her mind as well. As for her sleep schedule, she says, “I didn’t really have a set bedtime, but I made sure to get eight hours of sleep, regardless.”

While preparing for THON, Mcguinness still had to juggle school work into the mix as well. Despite being a senior, her course load wasn’t too heavy as Mcguinness, a fourth-year student says, “I saved a lot of my GenEd requirements” for this last semester.

However, Baez, a first-year student, says “I did more schoolwork than preparing for this” and took this approach so she wouldn’t have to stress or worry about any work during THON weekend. 

For Baez, she enjoyed preparing for this weekend by exercising with her dance team as she is a member of the PSU Urban Dance Troupe. 

They are a hip hop dance team, which she enjoys being a part of outside of school. Baez, a first-year, also shares that her dance team will be performing some time this weekend, so keep an eye out for them.

As the weekend progresses and the hours decrease, many dancers participate in activities and events to keep their minds off the clock. 

Baez, a first-year student, mentions that she brought many different fidget toys such as pop-its to keep herself entertained. 

As for the various activities taking place around the BJC, she says, “I’m just excited for the whole thing.” Coming all the way from Florida, this is a new experience for her. “I did mini-THON at my high school and I’m just really excited to be here surrounded by all these people and really get the atmosphere and seeing all the families,” Baez said. 

Mcguinness, a fourth-year student, says that she’s excited for the line dance and says, “I want to try to do it every time it happens because I’ll never get sick of it.” 

As for activities that she brought herself to give her mind a break, she shares that she brought her own Rainbow Loom and says, “I told everyone on my dance team I’ll make them a bracelet because I have the time.”

While THON Weekend can be challenging, every moment truly matters, so enjoy it to its fullest extent!

A third-year student at Penn State studying English with a passion for Journalism. When she is not writing, she is making Pinterest boards, painting, curled up with a good book or listening to Taylor Swift!