I am a physics major and a professional skier hailing from Park City, Utah. I’m extremely proud of my achievements in my skiing career, which include two X Games silvers and an Olympic bronze. I’m also proud that I’ve been able to continue my academic career while training and competing in slopestyle and big air.

CC’s academic calendar has allowed me to take classes when I’m not training or competing, and to work my schedule around the winter when I’m traveling and skiing the most. I love being able to focus on one class at a time and complete it in 3 1/2 weeks. This allows me to use the intensity and focus I’ve harnessed throughout my skiing career on my academic studies. Many professors have accommodated my training schedule, whether allowing me to take a test early, catch a flight for a competition, or extend a paper’s deadline during a hectic season. CC fosters a safe learning environment where everyone understands the pursuit of academic and extracurricular passions, as well as the balance between them and mental health.

This isn’t to say it’s been easy.

While the Block Plan and my professors have been extremely accommodating, the biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome is mental burnout. This past year I experienced a lot of it — the pandemic combined with concussions and a pelvis injury, which kept me from my dreams of competing in the Olympics, have meant my mental state suffered. It complicated the time I was dedicating to schoolwork during the winter. The fact of it being my fifth year attending CC contributed to this burnout. I had, for four consecutive years, been living in a delicate balance between applying myself athletically in high-anxiety competition/training settings and applying my mental skills in demanding classes.

This back and forth was initially enthralling. Never being one for downtime or sitting still, I enjoyed the lack of breaks. I considered my athletic and academic careers and corresponding personalities separate. Participating in one meant time off and a mental break from the other.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to respect my body and mind and realized the importance of slowing down, taking time to heal, and being OK with failures or setbacks. The forced time off I’ve taken this season due to injuries has given me time to reflect. I’ve learned to listen to my body, to allow myself to accept  help, the power of visualization, and determination and grit.

As I head into my last semester at CC, I am reminded of all the amazing opportunities I’ve had at this school; from meeting some of my best friends, to the amount of fun I’ve had learning on field trips, to the relationships I’ve built with incredible professors. It has, without a doubt, been the best and most fulfilling few years of my life.