Facing Fears

Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.


My heart is booming. My pulse is rising. My stomach is churning. A drop of sweat rolls down my face. I can barely breathe. "You've already made it so far Cayley, you can do this," exclaims one of my more stable team members. I take a deep breath and look down: the ground is roughly 12,000 feet away, separated from me by miles of jagged crags and magnificent boulders. I take another deep breath and look up: Peak Elle – a few hundred feet away. Two of my team members refuse to summit as the rest of the team continues. I think to myself, "You can always do that," but am I really going to let my fear of heights hinder potentially one of the best experiences of my life? Did I travel 17 hours and 1,189 miles from home to only halfway face my fears?

I recall my wake-up this morning: the ever-so-lovely alpine start at 3 A.M. with my enthusiastic instructor dragging me out of my tarp by my feet, exclaiming, "It's peak day, gang!" I return focus to my current situation: I came 1,189 miles from home for this experience and I am not going to let my fears take this from me. Several of my teammates have already begun summitting when I slowly lock my carabiner into the fix line. With tears strolling down my face, I carefully find a place to...

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