I always thought I had a pretty good idea of who I am and what I want to do with my life. When I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. I loved animals and wanted to help them. My very first job was at a vet clinic when I was 15. I witnessed some things that haunted my dream of becoming a vet. After months of working there, I decided it wasn't the pretty picture I always thought it was. I stopped dreaming of becoming a vet. Throughout high school I was clueless as to what I wanted to do when I got to college. I thought I had it all planned out, but now I was going into college without any idea of what to do. I've always loved sports and helping people, so my mom pushed me to think about physical therapy. The only thing I could think of was 6 years of college, which I was not pumped on. I've never been an over-achiever, just plain achiever. I settled for Athletic Training. I took a year of it and realized that taping stinky feet and icing athletes wasn't my cup of tea. Maybe I should go for physical therapy? At this point in my life, I had never even thought about becoming a professional snowboarder. I loved snowboarding and wanted it to be a big part of my life, but didn't think I could make a living at it. After winning almost all the amateur competitions in the U.S., I thought, "what now?" I decided right then and there that I wanted to try to make it to the top. And in order to do that, I would need to dedicate myself 100% and stop messing around. I finally found my calling.
A lot of people think that pro snowboarders have it made. But I found out that it is a lot harder than it's made out to be. Sure, it's awesome going to work on the mountain everyday, but there's a lot more to it than that. Sacrifice. I've had to sacrifice so much to do what I'm doing today. First of all, money. I have none. And unless I win some major comps or get sponsored by companies with lots of money, I will probably always be broke. But I'm doing what I love to do. Which is more than I can say for probably 75% of all people with jobs. Every time I whine about not having any money, my boyfriend says, "well you can go work a 9-5er if you want" and I just think about all those people sitting in their cubicle answering phone calls and watching the clock all day. Office Space, such a great movie. I shake my head in disgust. I LOVE my job, even though I don't make much at it, YET. In the snowboarding world, your career is what you make it. You get what you put into it. It might have taken me 10 years of recreational snowboarding to realize this, but now I'm in full force, working toward my goal everyday. It's very important for me to have goals, because if you don't, then you don't know what you're working for. I've always made goals for anything I do. First it was for ice skating, and I accomplished my goal of testing through my gold level. Then it was in high school, and I graduated with a decent g.p.a. and got into college with a fair amount of scholarship money. Then in college, I got my associates degree. If I don't make a goal for myself, I find that I float around aimlessly. And that doesn't get you anywhere. So now I actually have a snowboarding career and all my hard work is paying off. Last year I realized how close I actually am to becoming one of the best girl snowboarders in the world. Crazy. I would've never thought that 3 years ago. I may have been a little slow figuring out what I want to do with my life, but at least I figured it out. I also had to sacrifice family and friends. I spend so much time snowboarding and traveling that I put my family and friends on the back burner. This one kills me. My family has always been supportive of me and my ambitions, and sometimes I feel that I don't give back enough. I try to make the time to spend with them, but it never seems like enough. I find myself surrounded by friends who I ride with, but what about the friends I had before snowboarding? My friendships with them have dwindled. Sacrificing things for your dreams is the hardest thing. I've also sacrificed my love of eating. I am an athlete now, which means you can't just gorge out on a tub of peanut butter or chocolate anymore. It's so hard for me to eat healthy, but it's worth it. Along with diet, comes working out. I finally have a personal trainer now and boy does it show. After having both ACLs repaired, I am determined to get into great shape so I can prevent future injuries. Which brings me to my last sacrifice. My body. I've had my fair share of injuries from snowboarding. Surgery on both my knees, broken ribs, broken neck, jammed fingers, sprained wrist, dislocated elbow and many bruised asses. But this comes with the territory. I don't know any competitive snowboarder who hasn't had injuries. Just part of the game. These are all sacrifices I am willing to make for my career. Sometimes it's hard to see, but it's worth it. There's nothing better than having that feeling of accomplishment. Whether it's just dropping into a line that you hiked an hour for, or standing on the top of the podium, or simply just having an awesome day riding with some friends, I never regret the decision I made when I committed myself 100%. Now my goal is to reach the top, to go beyond what I think is possible, and to surprise myself everyday in some way. I want to push the other girls to progress and I want them to push me. I thrive on challenges and if something isn't challenging, it's boring. I guess I just have a competitive nature, but I've always competed and wanted to be the best at what I do. So now I'm on the road to success and one day I will be able to afford a nice house and start my family knowing I lived my life the best I could.