Every year, my family and I go to Colorado to ski. Over spring break, we made our annual trip to Vail. Generally speaking, I ski blues confidently and vehemently avoid moguls and black diamond hills. However, over break, I was faced with the feat of skiing a black diamond. This was a complete accident as I got lost trying to ski down the mountain, and I had no other choice but to go down it. Looking down at it, I was terrified and contemplated taking off my skis and just walking down the hill. I knew this would not be a realistic endeavor because the slopes were just about to close, and there was so much traffic going down the hill. I took a deep breath and started my journey down this intimidating path. Despite how scared I was, I reminded myself to make wide turns and not to look down at the hill. Slowly but surely, curve by curve, turn by turn, I made it to the bottom safely without falling or getting an injury. I smiled, proud that I accomplished something I never imagined I would achieve.
In this stressful time as the semester wraps up, I remind myself of this moment during spring break. I was extremely overwhelmed by the sight of that black diamond hill and knew that if I skied straight down it, I would lose control and seriously injure myself. Like that hill, if you attack all of your academic and extracurricular responsibilities at once, you are going to paralyze yourself and will not effectively complete everything. We must remember to divide all of our work into manageable chunks and triage everything based on priority. Making careful turns on a black diamond hill is a perfect metaphor for this: take everything piece by piece. As college students, we are inevitably going to be faced with difficult tasks as required by our classes and activities, but our success in them depends on how we approach these hurdles. If we pile them on ourselves like a giant weight, we are the only ones impeding our success. I cannot emphasize enough how important the first step to manage life as a busy college student is to take a deep breath. We have to remember that academic stresses are like a steep, black diamond hill that must be approached with care and assiduity. Finals are approaching, and to my fellow students reading this, freshmen and seniors alike, I urge you to view them in the same way that I viewed that hill after I skied down it, unscathed. My overarching point is that some things in life can be extremely hard to deal with, but conquering them comes from effectively managing them.
Vineet Chauhan is a freshman majoring in economics and English. His column, The Genuine Freshman, runs every week on Tuesday.