University of California - San Diego
Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
From the age of five, I've had an irrational fear of heights. Maybe because, as a short child, everything seemed to tower over me. Or maybe because, as a Floridian, I had not known any height above sea-level until later in my life. As a boy, my fear of heights was a constant source of regret each time I found myself in a place above a young Floridian's natural elevation. That all changed, however, when I shot through Northern California's redwoods hundreds of feet in the air.
Paying the fare. Strapping on the harness. Hiking to the top of a cliff. Crossing a makeshift bridge that connected the edge of the mountain to the nearest redwood. Supported only by a thin wire attached to the broad branches overhead, I stood on a wooden platform that was far too small, staring into a void that extended one hundred and fifty feet below. At this point, all thoughts of it being my dad's birthday abandoned me - and I was overcome with anxiety. My fear exploded when the tour guide lead me to the edge of the platform, attached my harness to the zip-line, and told me to get a running start. I swallowed and, to the coaxing of my family, reluctantly complied. Running forward, the crisp morning air whipping against my face, I leaped. That terrible...
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