My grand niece, Siara is going to college in Great Falls, Montana. She is a cheerleader with at the University of Great Falls. It is her first experience at being one her own, and more importantly, the first time away from her family. Most high school kids don’t understand how hard that is. They are so excited about being grown up and on their own…being their own boss, but that is not all that it is cracked up to be. As Siara can tell you, there are moments that life is great in college, followed by moments when you just really miss your family…especially your mom, if you are as close as Siara is to her mom, my niece Chantel. Those are the moments when you have to put a smile on your face and keep going, when what you really want to do is sit down and have a good cry.

Of course, not every moment is that sad. There have been some wonderful experiences already. While 6:00am is not exactly the time anyone in their right mind wants to be up and at cheerleading practice, that is exactly where Siara is every day that she has practice. You see, Siara is a dedicated athlete, and anyone who doesn’t think cheerleading is a sport, simply has not seen the bruises she has had or watched her cheer through sore muscles, because that is her job. And Siara is a National Champion. Her high school cheer team took 1st place is The American Grand National Championship Cheerleading competition, so she knows all about the hard work and dedication it takes to be a great cheerleader.

Not every moment of Siara’s college life is such hard work either. She has made so many new friends, and that may be the very thing that has made life there bearable. Being away from home still hurts deeply sometimes, and will continue to do so, but having friends around you who miss their familes too, and understand what you are going through goes a long way toward healing a hurting heart. This is a group of friends sharing the good times, and being brave together in the bad times. No, it isn’t all crying and being brave. These new college students, of which my grand niece is one, are learning about moving forward, while remembering the past…growing up while still keeping a little bit of the child they were…learning while still enjoying campus life…and yes, being brave when they feel like crying because of homesickness. As I told Siara when she first started college and was feeling like she wanted to come home…it will be hard sometimes, but you will never be sorry you took the journey…and I don’t think she has been…sorry that is. Keep on being brave Siara, the future is yours.

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