Don’t we all wish we can relive the sweet torture of applying for colleges? Sacrifice months of sleep and sweat and hope on bullshit resumes and essays for a bunch of rejection letters. Best bargain I’ve ever made. But I guess it was all worth it in the end, because I can’t imagine having a better time at any other school than NYU. Anyway, the following essay is the only one I didn’t get to use at all, and being the narcissist I am, I figured it would be such a shame to let such a rare piece of literary genius go unread. I’m kidding. Sort of.
Excitement surged through me as I zoomed down a familiar double-black route on Mammoth Mountain, relishing the crisp scent of the pines and the gentle swish-swash of my snowboard against the soft snow. The biting wind sliced into my cheeks as I descended the almost vertical slope. As I leaned on my heels to make a right turn, I lost balance and crashed into something sharp. My torso lunged forward in the familiar manner that preceded a painful fall. I dived into the snow and felt ice seep into my fleece jacket, piercing my skin. Gasping with the cold, I sat up and ripped off my goggles. The sepia landscape blossomed into vibrant colors. Pine trees blotched the bumpy snowy slopes like splashes of green and brown paint spattered across a rough, white canvas.
I found myself in a vividly familiar yet unsettling situation. Lost and alone.
Seeing bark and rocks scattered dangerously over the snow, I realized that I had landed in the off-boundary territory, far from the lifts and farther from the lodge. The darkening sky indicated that I had less than a half hour left before the lifts closed for the day and I would be stranded. I was about to dig out my cell phone to call my parents when I remembered that there was no signal at this altitude. I began to panic. Taking a deep breath to calm myself, I assessed my options. There were but two: to head down this haphazard route or to walk up the steep hill, carrying my board. While the latter was much safer, it may not take me back before dark. My gut instinct was to storm down the rocky slope and take the last lift back to the lodge, but images of broken limbs kept flashing through my mind, like a typical scene from Wuthering Heights. But I was accustomed to taking risks. Taking risks handed me detentions and injuries, but it has also fostered my decisiveness.
Deciding to trust my gut again, I dashed down the craggy hill.
Getting lost on a mountain may not have been particularly profound, but it demonstrates the potential of my tendency to take risks. If audacity combined with naive curiosity was the catalyst that drove me to wander off so much as a child, perhaps it can give me the courage to find unexpected opportunities as an adult. Though life in college will undoubtedly present more complex dilemmas, I believe I will manage as long as I remain calm and take calculated risks.