College Essay

October 8, 2008
By Caitlin Kass, Pewaukee, WI

Twenty seconds. I sat at the top of the boarder cross course for the 2008 USASA Snowboarding Nationals shaking, but not from the cold. It was the thought, of the hours of practice and competitions that put my nerves on edge. My coaches and teammate, Hannah, were sitting next to me as I tried to envision myself taking on this monster of a course against some of the best snowboarders in the country. I had high hopes of placing in this race, but after seeing what it had in store for me, I was terrified for my time trial.

Ten seconds. My two coaches strapped my bindings and pulled me up to the starting gate. I could see Hannah in the lane next to me, quivering; we both knew that the courses at our small Wisconsin hills had nothing on this one. After our practice run, Hannah was set on quitting. She was two years younger than me and far less experienced. She said it was too much for her, but I hid my own apprehension and convinced her to do it. I reminded her of the practice trails we made at home and how we raced down them without reservation. This was just another practice run I told her.

Five seconds. “Hannah, follow Caitlin” one of my coaches shouted. At that point I knew I needed to step up and lead. As the gate opened I let my fears go and held my breath.

Go. I was flying down the course. The bumps and turns conflicted with my tense stance on my board as it jolted me back and forth. Turning the last corner, I reached the finish line. I had done it; I had conquered my latest fear.

I waited at the bottom as Hannah made it past the finish line.

“I couldn’t have done it without you,” she said.

“I’m so proud of you,” I replied,” we did it!”

I’m not sure if I was happier that I had made it down or she had, but accomplishing something that seemed impossible was liberating. I found accomplishments are much more rewarding when they benefit not only myself, but others as well.

I have learned that to complete anything of significance, I must be willing to work harder than what is expected, accept challenges and overcome fears. I think this holds true for all aspects of life. In my academic career, this philosophy has helped me succeed. I feel that how one faces challenges determines their lot in life. I expect that college will challenge me, and as far as I’m concerned, my clock has just started.

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