As summer winds down, cheerleaders all over are back in school. You have your new outfits, new shoes, and new school supplies, but coming off a relaxing summer, how are you going to juggle schoolwork, practices, games, and work? It can be overwhelming for cheerleaders in any grade. Freshmen are getting used to a new school and new friends. Sophomores are going into one of their hardest years as far as schoolwork and classes are concerned. Juniors are preparing for the SATs and ACTs, while seniors are heading into your final year of being a kid. You have a lot going on and your teachers, coaches, and parents all understand, but you have also dedicated yourself to your team and teammates. Learning how to prioritize is one of the most important things you can take from any high school sport. Here are some simple tips to follow to ensure your team, social life, and, most importantly, schoolwork, will not suffer this year: Plan Ahead Planning your time is the biggest key to successful prioritizing. Things will always come up last minute. Pop quizzes happen, more homework than expected is inevitable, and a night out with that cute boy you’ve been thinking about will pop up, but knowing what to put first is the most important factor. When you have some free time, do that homework that is due at the end of the week or start studying before the night before the exam. You will be happy you did when your teammates ask you to go out for fro-yo after practice Thursday night. Get a Job That Keeps You Active Many student athletes need to find a job during the season to help with the cost of their cheer fees. Find a job that keeps you active with your sport. Get a job at the local gym or coaching youth cheerleading. Many cheerleaders work at local gymnastics studios and sometimes are able to work on their own tumbling at the facilities for free. Tumbling classes and work…kill two birds with one stone! Ask for Help You have a team of support around you every day. Your coaches, teachers, parents, and counselors are all there to help you when you get stuck. Need help with math? Ask for help from a peer tutor. Have a question about how to nail that back tuck? Ask your tumbling coach. Feeling overwhelmed? Ask your counselor if you can switch up your schedule. Adults are here to help guide you. Use them! Prioritizing your time is the key to many successes in life. Learning how to prioritize now will help you prepare for a successful college life and future work life. And when you get overwhelmed, remember that your teammates are all going through the same thing. Take a step back and remember what is important to you and put that first.