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Attending Your First THON As A Dancer: Expectations vs. Reality

THON is finally upon us, folks. While some students have fond memories of the past few THON weekends, others may be attending for the first time. One of our staffers, Carly Weiss, was sick last year and couldn’t go to THON. This year, she’ll attend THON for the first time — and she’s dancing.

We set up an expectations vs. reality to document her journey through THON. We’ll update this throughout the weekend after each category takes place to see how the reality compares. For now, here are Carly’s expectations.

Human Tunnel

Carly is especially excited about the Human Tunnel, although she knows a little on what to expect from videos of past events. She’ll wear a GoPro for this, so we’ll upload the video here when the time comes.


The DR committee told Carly the food dancers get to eat at THON is “so good” but we’re not sure how they would know since the food is only for dancers. Overall, she’s not worried about having options because she knows there will be plenty of support to make sure she’s eating enough and eating often.

The Line Dance

Carly’s excited about the line dance but is also nervous about how long it could take her to finally learn it. Luckily, she’ll have 46 hours to practice.

Pep Rally

“I am definitely expecting it to be one of the most energetic periods of the weekend,” Carly said. She hopes the pep rally will give her motivation to pull through the tough hours.

Dancer Mail

While Carly hopes her family and her org will send her dancer mail, she’s even more excited about seeing her mom, her sister, and people from her organization on the floor to visit her.

Dancer Relations Committee Members

“As of right now I don’t think I’ll be too high maintenance, but I hope [my DRCM’s] shifts will be at times I will need her support,” Carly said. “She has fairly warned me about the number of times she will be stretching me!”

Slides of Strength

Carly thinks her 10 second laying on the floor will probably be the fastest 10 seconds ever. “I’m hoping the massagers know what they’re doing!” she said.

Dancer Storage

Because Carly knows the lockers are small, she’s trying her best not to over-pack.

The Final Four

“I rarely ever cry, but I am completely expecting to be bawling my eyes out at some point(s) of the final four,” Carly said. “Spending time with the kids and witnessing the result of all of the hard work that my organization and I have put into our first year is going to be very emotional and satisfying. This feeling along with the physical exhaustion is going to take a toll on me and as much as I try to prepare for that, I have no idea how it is going to feel. I am so excited to experience this as I’ve heard it is life changing.”

Total Reveal

Carly said the total reveal is the “ultimate goosebumps moment” but she thinks she’ll feel satisfied knowing she made a difference no matter what the total is.

Other Thoughts

“I am expecting to be more affected by the no sitting than the no sleeping,” Carly said. “Almost everyone that I’ve talked to about dancing has said that it is way more of a mental and emotional struggle than physical, so that’s what I’m most nervous about.”

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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