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College vs Skiing. A reflection

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So the question often comes up here about college vs skiing choices and I thought it might be helpful to provide a reflection for people.

 

ANSWER FIRST:

 

Skiing alone is not worth the sacrifices I made. I didn't get grad school out of the Air Force Academy like I wanted and I ended up in Albuquerque which was one of my last choices. However, the friends I made and the self discovery were well worth it. What I mean by this is that I am extremely glad I didn't go to college with all my old friends and close to my parents. I grew a lot as a person because of it. 

 

So let's give the background information:

I grew up in Atlanta and began skiing in 6th grade( aroudn 11 yrs old). That however was onyl because some family friends moved to Breckenridge and I skied less then a year a week. I immediately fell in love with the sport and bugged my parents noon stop about it.  So college rolled around and I was given a choice between Ga Tech and the Air Force Academy. Both are high ranked engineering schools ( well the academy is technically a liberal arts school now). I immediately chose the Academy and while there where several driving factors a big one was the proximity to skiing. (Full disclosure: both my parents where military but ask them 5 yrs ago and they would likely tell you neither of us would end up military and some how both of us did.) No one I knew would have predicted me going to the academy. I was infamous on my cross country team for losing stuff and kinda being the opposite of what you would picture for the military

 

The actual reflection:

Current situation:

Single

Living in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Limited number of local friends

 

 

I am now 5 months out of the academy and while I may eventually look back in 20 years and have additionally opinions I think I have some insight that can benefit the people that often come looking here for the answer about skiing vs education.

 

The Academy provided a unique situation that will certainly not be for everyone but I did chose it largely because of skiing. To provide the amount of skiing I did:

 

Freshmen year: aprox 20 days

Sophomore: aprox 25 days

Junior: over 30 days

Senior: aprox 50 days

 

 

To be upfront I did often put skiing before school and to be honest at the risk of sounding arrogant, I was lucky to be smart enough to pull it off. It's not something I would recommend.

 

If response shows interest I will elaborate on the subject 

post #2 of 12

Sounds like you chose a path and pursued it. Good for you. I'm sure that relating your experience will benefit some just starting out. You will never know who. Looking back is and wondering "what if" is helpful if you keep it healthy. Friends will come. True friends will develope and if you are lucky, a best friend will appear. Stay thirsty my friend.

post #3 of 12

I am interested in hearing more of your reflections on this experience, lonewolf. I went to college in Portland, OR, and though my school had a ski cabin at Mt. Hood I seldom skied the four years I was there because it was still hard to arrange, money was tight, and I had this thing about needing to study all the time (not being as smart as you). I was lucky to go to a school with a winter break so I could do some skiing on my parents' dole back at home, but I remember college as the worst skiing drought of my life. 

post #4 of 12

First, congrats for getting into and graduating from a service academy.  That's a tremendous accomplishment.

If I read your post correctly you are recommending that young people following in your footsteps put their academic goals first and their skiing goals second?

I’m sure that is good advice and will serve folks well over the course of a lifetime/career.  But I see no reason for you to have any regrets.  You have a job straight out of college in a noble and patriotic profession.  Whether you stay in the military for 5 or 25 years you’re in for a challenging and growth-filled ride.  You may be able to pursue post graduate studies at some point.  It seems that the USAF is pretty good about nurturing scientific experts, but it may not lead to the highest rank/commands.  Albuquerque is near some pretty good skiing, for example Ski Santa Fe and Taos (world class black diamonds).  I hope you get to enjoy your time there.  It was impressive that you squeezed in so much skiing at the academy.

 

I went to college to run varsity cross country and track, this was back in the 1970s.  School was secondary, but thank goodness I at least had enough discipline to graduate.  Skiing took a back seat to running during my college years, but I was able to ski almost daily over my Christmas breaks and I got in about 50 ski days in my last year after leaving the track team.  After graduation I had a bit of a personal letdown as I tried to establish a career, but after a year or so my employment steadied and I also met the love of my life and we have been fortunate to raise a great family.

 

My son is in his senior year of college in western PA.  This winter will be his third as a ski instructor at a ski area nearby.  He's been able to get in about 40-50 days of skiing every year in college while seeming to succeed with his computer science major.  He was interested in going to school in VT or the Rockies, but we felt being closer to home (4 hours) was an important criteria.  He gets his big mtn ski fixes going on trips with me during his school breaks.  His ski skills have progressed tremendously during his college years.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Wow this actually got a lot more responses than I expected. I guess the tone I was looking for didn't come through properly. When I say I have regrets it's not that I am not happy with where I am, I think I would do exactly the same again given the choice but I have had to face a couple of the consequences as a result. I am actually starting to really enjoy Albuquerque but it was one of my last choices , that being said very few people got to go to my first choices so it may nor even been anything in my control.

 

The point I was trying to get across and hopefully this will be clearer now that I'm not half a sleep( couldn't sleep last night), but I was trying to get across that skiing was not made my choices worth it but the friends I made as a result of my choices and the experiences I had with many of which weren't skiing. Maybe that doesn't make sense, I guess I am trying to tell people that exploring new things is better than playing the same old thing every time.j

post #6 of 12

Thanks for posting. My son is a hs senior and we are going through this process now. I left Colorado for college, went to Texas, but gee, I ended up coming back on far too many winter and spring weekends (or at least plotted to come back ... it isn't exactly an easy trip). My grades sucked and I was unhappy, so I transferred back to Boulder. I don't want my son wishing he were elsewhere, so when he says he wants to be close to skiing, I'm not going to worry about it too much. Being 30 min from skiing might be a distraction, but not as much as it was for me, when I was a few states over, lol. 

 

Sometimes I wonder if getting farther away would be better for him, but most of the schools he's looking at are at least 4 or 5 hr from home, so I think that's far enough. 

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Thanks for posting. My son is a hs senior and we are going through this process now. I left Colorado for college, went to Texas, but gee, I ended up coming back on far too many winter and spring weekends (or at least plotted to come back ... it isn't exactly an easy trip). My grades sucked and I was unhappy, so I transferred back to Boulder. I don't want my son wishing he were elsewhere, so when he says he wants to be close to skiing, I'm not going to worry about it too much. Being 30 min from skiing might be a distraction, but not as much as it was for me, when I was a few states over, lol. 

 

Sometimes I wonder if getting farther away would be better for him, but most of the schools he's looking at are at least 4 or 5 hr from home, so I think that's far enough. 

Not to get off track, but I think 4-5 hours is a great distance for college.  Close enough that it logistically easy to do the move in move out and holiday thing, but far enough to keep parents from just "dropping in" and kids from coming home because it is so close.

 

My daughter is a hs junior and her passion is bicycle racing.  Although she could get scholarships at some of the schools in NC or Tennessee, she has her sights set on Ft. Lewis in Durango because she wants to get a degree in Geology and she is ready to get away from the southeast and experience something different.  While we would certainly rather have her 4-5 hours away versus half way across the country, I can't argue with her desire or her reasons.  On the down sider for her is she will probably see more of me than she might like because visiting her is a reason to skiing!

post #8 of 12

IMHO, if you're having a great university experience, skiing won't be the center of it all unless you're on a race scholarship. Went from 100 day seasons growing up to attending school in a pretty flat place with a very large football stadium and  a couple of small areas 30-40 or so minutes away. Still went and did laps now and then, and of course skied while visiting home on break, but the overall days dropped to about 20 a season. Honestly, I had a blast at school and really learned to love studying. Didn't regret the relative lack of skiing a bit at that point in life. Did grad school very close to major skiing. Days dropped, but still managed around 20 a season including some touring... at that point, I just didn't have time or much $$$ for any more. School was great, but at that point, I'm not entirely sure it was worth it. The lesson? DOn't know if there is one.smile.gif

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post

Not to get off track, but I think 4-5 hours is a great distance for college.  Close enough that it logistically easy to do the move in move out and holiday thing, but far enough to keep parents from just "dropping in" and kids from coming home because it is so close.

 

My daughter is a hs junior and her passion is bicycle racing.  Although she could get scholarships at some of the schools in NC or Tennessee, she has her sights set on Ft. Lewis in Durango because she wants to get a degree in Geology and she is ready to get away from the southeast and experience something different.  While we would certainly rather have her 4-5 hours away versus half way across the country, I can't argue with her desire or her reasons.  On the down sider for her is she will probably see more of me than she might like because visiting her is a reason to skiing!

 

Indeed! But you'll be skiing all day rather than hanging around her, until dinner, right? That's what I tell myself. I might even start looking at Crested Butte real estate, actually.... hmmm.....

 

Will she ride at Ft Lewis? Not a bad place for it... ;-)

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

 

Indeed! But you'll be skiing all day rather than hanging around her, until dinner, right? That's what I tell myself. I might even start looking at Crested Butte real estate, actually.... hmmm.....

 

Will she ride at Ft Lewis? Not a bad place for it... ;-)

That is her goal.  We shall see.

post #11 of 12

I have a very different experience. I grew up in Whitefish, MT and went to college in Bozeman, MT. Due to the fog and cold temperature, I hated skiing in Whitefish, and refused to go to either Bridger Bowl or Bigsky in college.

 

As it turns out, since I didn't have a car, and was an engineering student, I would not have been able to do much skiing anyway and it would have been a distraction from my primary responsibility of skiing. I don't regret not going more, although do wish I lived that close to two great resorts today!

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

IMHO, if you're having a great university experience, skiing won't be the center of it all unless you're on a race scholarship. Went from 100 day seasons growing up to attending school in a pretty flat place with a very large football stadium and  a couple of small areas 30-40 or so minutes away. Still went and did laps now and then, and of course skied while visiting home on break, but the overall days dropped to about 20 a season. Honestly, I had a blast at school and really learned to love studying. Didn't regret the relative lack of skiing a bit at that point in life. Did grad school very close to major skiing. Days dropped, but still managed around 20 a season including some touring... at that point, I just didn't have time or much $$$ for any more. School was great, but at that point, I'm not entirely sure it was worth it. The lesson? DOn't know if there is one.smile.gif

I think that this is what I was trying to get at. That I don't think skiing would have made up for some of the other things I gave up but it became secondary  anyways. It was much more about my friends did help they happened to ski too thou rolleyes.gif

 

Really it comes down to the fact that every college is going to have lots of distractions and awesome things to do pick one with an environment you enjoy

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