Dancers in the community come from all different backgrounds. Some of us may be used to practicing seven days a week, while others may be struggling to understand how to cope with the idea of hell weeks, but balancing school and dance is no joke.
Going to school while dancing for a team is a great way to make new friends, feel a sense of community, and become a better dancer, but with it comes a lot of sleepless nights, a few mental breakdowns, and a good amount of sad Facebook posts about how hard life is…
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No worries though! If you haven’t mastered it by now, here are a few ways to help you balance out these two important parts of your life.
Accept the fact that a healthy 8 hours of sleep a night is not going to happen.
Let’s face it; college screwed up your sleep schedule once you found out what ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ were… followed by 8am lectures on Fridays.
The idea of a good night’s rest each night is like Gretchen trying to make ‘fetch’ happen. It’s not going to happen.
Instead, try to work with what you can.
When you’re super tired after that 3am practice, try your best to gauge whether or not you really need to go to class the next day – I’m here to tell you that just because it is podcasted DOES NOT mean you should automatically skip it.
If you don’t have time to sleep, will you have time to catch up on that podcast? Think about it. Also, I suggest you understand and fully grasp the concept of the zen traditional art form of napping.
Don’t forget that Redbulls, shots of espresso, and concealer can be your best friends; there’s no shame in having bags under those eyes… as long as they are designer, haay.
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Use your calendar/buy a planner.
You get a syllabus on the first day of class, so I suggest you syllabust it out and write down all of the important dates of homework assignments, quizzes, and tests.
When you see these dates in your planner, you’ll have an idea of how much work you have before it is due, and there will be no excuse as to why you didn’t have enough time to finish studying or turn in that homework assignment.
Make time to study early, and study with your teammates! Chances are, they’re the only people who are awake to study at odd hours when you are.
Also, ask your directors/leadership for a calendar of events throughout the year, from tentative competitions to DEFINITE performances.
This way, you’ll know if you have any conflicts from the get-go, and there won’t be any surprises when you know that finals week and The Bridge SoCal are on the same weekend. Make sure to leave room for inevitable HELL(a fun) WEEKS as well!
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Realize when you should choose your academics over a performance.
If you have a midterm the day after Vibe, I suggest that you start studying for it weeks in advance (you’d know because you wrote it down in your planner, haaay).
If it’s really really hard and you’ve just been procrastinating, I suggest you figure out if it would be best to opt out of the competition – though competitions are fun and may feel ‘onCe iN A LyFetYme’ -esque, if this midterm is going to signify you failing and then dropping the class and crying for days and days because you feel incompetent… I suggest you skip the competition.
If you do feel confident enough, bring a few study materials to the competition and review during down time. And I better NOT see you at the after party. Parties are fun… until you fail your midterm, drop out of school, get kicked off the team, lose all motivation to audition for any other team, and then find yourself only dancing on Thursday nights on the street corners of Frat Row.
Yeah, life just got real. Make good decisions. And whatever you do, do not succumb to #FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out is dangerous.
Practice is no place for a bad attitude – leave your academic stress at home.
I know, I know. You just did awfully on a quiz, and you just realized that you might not have the GPA to get into that business program, you didn’t get that internship, you haven’t slept in months…it’s inevitable that you’ll feel some resentment towards your team from time to time.
If you didn’t have to practice so much, you would have been able to study more for that quiz. If you weren’t in that sectional that lasted til 5am, maybe you would have passed that final. If you didn’t start practices at 7pm, maybe you would have been more available for that internship.
I get it, there are a lot of hypothetical situations, and your team can be the easiest thing to blame. However, no matter how stressed you are about that midterm or how unprepared you are for that presentation the next morning, just remember that you are here, in the present. You are in that parking lot/studio, and you made a commitment.
There will be no point in brooding for the next few hours that you’re there, and you can’t really do anything about it, so why not have a good time and alleviate some of that stress by dancing and having fun with people you love doing something you love? Trust me, practice is no place for attitude, so leave your stress and worries at home and, as Lady Gaga once said, JUST DANCE.
See Related Article: A Dancer’s Guide To Being On A Dance Team: 13 Tips To Make The Most Out Of Your Dance Career
Live by Hannah Montana….
By realizing that nobody’s perfect (did you see that one coming).
You need to realize that it’s okay to slip up once in a while, even though I just gave you great tips on not slipping up… ever. We’re not perfect, and we are attending school to learn and grow, not to prove to ourselves that we never make mistakes.
So you had a bad day and bombed a quiz, so you forgot to do the reading for class and made a fool out of yourself in a discussion, so you fell asleep in class and the professor had to wake you up… twice.
I’m here to tell you that in 20 years, you most likely will not remember that one failed quiz in that one upper division class, but you’ll probably remember that really awesome and inspiring 5am practice you had before Fusion, that practice where you realized that you and your team were truly a family.
This isn’t a scapegoat or an excuse for you to fail, but merely a reminder to just look at the bigger picture when you’re feeling like you’re just an incompetent failure. Trust me, you’re fine.
Balancing dancing on a team and being a good student is a very tricky thing, but it’s not impossible – these struggles are prepping you for the future when you’re working at an incredibly demanding work place and making 6 figures weekly. Maybe.
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What are YOUR tips and tricks for juggling school and dance? What other commitments have you had to juggle with dance that you want to share? Leave a comment below!
Busy with school but want to train? STEEZY Studio lets you take class anywhere, anytime! After all, you do deserve a study break.