Erin Maidman: When it becomes too much

Erin Maidman

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There are times in everyone’s life when they are overwhelmed. Sometimes, they are overloaded with schoolwork, or their schedules are too tightly packed, or they are just plain tired. I am currently all three of these things.

I absolutely love living here in Mammoth and am having a blast skiing, but it’s all becoming much harder. I’ve added one class and my other five have become increasingly time-consuming. I have more school to do everyday, and less time to do it. Between races, training, workouts, and race prep, my schedule is crammed. I am now often physically tired and mentally drained, so working has become even more difficult. Right now, I feel as if I have too much to do in too little time, and I don’t know if I can do it all.

But I am up for the challenge, because, in order to keep skiing, I understand that I must uphold a high academic standard. The initial opportunity to move up here and ski full-time was completely dependent on my grades in freshman year. There is absolutely no way I could possibly be living in Mammoth if I didn’t work for it earlier, and there is no way I can continue without putting in more work. {sidebar id=65}

If I am truly dedicated and passionate about skiing, I have to work harder in school than most kids my age. I have to prove to my parents, my teachers, my coaches, and myself that I am capable of balancing rigorous school with daily training. Good grades show responsibility, dependability, work ethic, and dedication, which are all essential in building trust between myself, my parents, and my school. I have a lot of independence solely because I have proven that I can handle it.

There is a lot of pressure to continue proving myself, too, because I know that my family will take me right home if I begin to have trouble in school, and for good reason. School should always be my top priority. But I will lose so much time on snow if I dare to slack off, and that will make achieving my goals much harder. My success in ski racing is contingent on my success in academics, so I can’t afford to do poorly.

I am aware of this high pressure every day, because, without a teacher or even a parent to motivate me, I must depend on my individual drive to get things done. I teach myself the concepts, and I choose when I do my work, so I have a great level of responsibility. When I don’t want to keep doing work and need motivation, I remember why I’m doing it: because it’s the only way I can ski. I’m sure that any student who has done independent or online study can understand this level of self-motivation and responsibility.

The expectations of everyone around me have been getting to my head lately. I stress out over the smallest mistakes because I don’t want to give anyone any reason to take away this opportunity. I love it here too much to lose it to some childish irresponsibility. I don’t want to leave until my season’s over.

I am now experiencing a new level of pressure; the pressure to be perfect. I have the misconception that I cannot make a mistake, because I mistakenly believe that I must be flawless to secure my spot here in Mammoth. I have become paranoid with perfection.

But this idea is both horribly unrealistic and completely unachievable. I am going to make mistakes. I am going to get a few bad grades or have a few bad runs. I am going to screw up sometimes, because everyone does. I can’t expect myself to be perfect, especially now. I have so many more responsibilities than I had last year, and it is overwhelming. But, even when things become too hard to handle, I must remember how strong and capable I really am.

Living up here isn’t just making me a better skier; it’s making me a more mature and responsible person. 

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