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

Growing up, my life felt encompassed by a whirlwind of the various extracurricular activities my parents encouraged me to try out—from being a swimmer, a dancer, a gymnast, a cheerleader, as well as dabbling in non-athletic activities. I don’t think there has been a year I wasn’t firmly rooted in the world of sports prior to my kindergarten soccer days.

That was, until my freshman year of college. After reflecting on my year off from sports as a sophomore and new member of Cal Cheerleading, I feel much more appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of an athletic team.

While doing sports, I failed to properly acknowledge the convenience of practicing multiple times a week and not feeling the need to work out in addition to that. My freshman year, I felt inclined to walk everywhere rather than take the 51B bus, and I dreaded navigating crowded gym sessions in the RSF. When in cheer, I didn’t feel it was necessary to work out often nor felt guilty about missing a workout when I had practice that day. As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of going to the gym, it’s nice to be able to stay active in a way that I genuinely enjoy. 


Another aspect of sports that I cherish is the sense of camaraderie I get from being a member of a team. The enduring connections I’ve made with strangers, as well as prior friends from being involved in sports, are unparalleled. Three of my closest friends are ones I’ve made from doing gymnastics together in middle school and continuing to cheer together in high school.

Sharing a common interest, merely being in the same vicinity at practice multiple times a week, experiencing the same struggles, and gaining a sense of trust through teamwork are all aspects that contribute to the formation of these close friendships. 

I’m incredibly grateful to now have the opportunity to reap the benefits of team involvement through Cal Cheerleading. Overall, I have a strong desire to be a part of something bigger than myself. Joining a team again has given me something to work for, granting my life a greater sense of purpose.

Kate Corlew

UC Berkeley '26

Kate is a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in English. She enjoys writing articles related to her personal experiences. When she isn't writing, you can find her watching a sunset with friends, listening to Taylor Swift, or cheering on the field as a member of Cal Cheerleading.