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Sometimes all you need is for those you love to cheer you on from the sidelines.

Every couple of months, a new TikTok template pops up and a new trend starts taking over everyone’s “For You” page. Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of TikToks with a template from the movie “Cars.”

Every video that uses the template starts with someone describing a personal struggle, like “me going through grad school and wanting to give up” or “me starting a business and not making many sales at the beginning” while showing the person working on that goal or objective. Then the video turns to a short clip from “Cars 3” of a fan on the crowd dressed up as Lightning McQueen cheering him on his race, with the text saying who in their lives represents this little car. Here is one of the TikToks that has the clip.

I don’t know if it’s the nostalgia and love I feel for the movie, or the fact that I understand the feeling of having a couple people who cheer you on no matter how rough your life gets, but every time one of these comes up on my feed, I tear up a little. So, I decided to dig deeper into that feeling and think about who the little fans in my life are.

I’ve always had big dreams and ambitions, I never wanted to limit my goals based on my circumstances so I always set the bar for myself very high and hoped that I could somehow reach it. That attitude has helped me achieve many things, but it’s also led me to a lot of disappointment. 

Ever since I had a conscience, I knew I wanted to move to another country and study there. I didn’t have any actual plans or the means to do it at 10 years old, but I wrote it down as a goal in my torn-up notebook and started working towards it. Eventually, for reasons of destiny and with the help of my dad, I did end up moving, but the realization of my dreams had consequences, since I had to leave the country without my mom.

The rest of the goals from there were not any easier. I wrote a bucket list when I was nine and it included travelling, learning languages, writing books and becoming famous. Needless to say, the things on the list were not all realistic. But the ones that were realistic still required an effort, so I always aimed to give my best at everything, I always wanted to be the best, and whenever I was not, I felt like I had failed.

Any grade lower than an A, any student election I didn’t win, any job that rejected me, any plan I could not see through, they always weighed on me heavily and made me feel like all I did was fail.

Yet, through all the crying about grades and classes, all the friends I fought with and the people I lost, my family has always been there for me. They’ve been there through the breakups and heartbreaks, and they’ve been there through the wins and achievements. No matter how broken down or torn-up my life felt, no matter how far behind I felt I was, they were there on the crowd cheering me on.

The biggest example I can think of is during high school. I was in the International Baccalaureate, an advanced program of classes, and was taking courses I did not understand (e.g., physics). Sometime around October of my senior year, I had a heavy workload, issues with my friends and the pressure of college applications, and it felt like my entire world was crumbling down. I struggled a lot with motivation and started to feel like giving up. But when I started the journey and decided I wanted to be in advanced classes two years before, I had told my parents that I knew there was going to be a lot of crying and trying to give up but that I needed them to be my anchor through all of it. They promised to do that, and they kept their promise. There were a lot of tears and a lot of late-night conversations on the kitchen table about how my efforts were going to be worth it in a near future. 

Then June came around and I could not believe I had made it. I didn’t do a graduation speech or become the valedictorian (although I was on the top five of my graduating class), but when I threw my cap into the air and cried tears of happiness for my achievement, I knew who had been there with me every step of the way.

We all need loyal fans to cheer us on; they are the support system that keeps us going even when the going gets tough. Sometimes it’s your family, sometimes your friends, sometimes someone unexpected that reads every article you post and congratulates you on them. But we all have our little supporters, dressed up on the colors of our team, cheering as we go through the race of our lives.

Valentina is a second-year journalism major at the University of Florida. She is passionate about freedom of expression, gender equality, and the plot of most Barbie movies. Whenever she is not writing or studying, she likes painting landscapes, reading about celebrity and sports drama, and making oddly specific Spotify playlists.