Posted by: Lauren Gaskill | December 21, 2010

The Learning Curve

Hello everyone! I decided to take a short hiatus during my first week of winter break to “detox” from fall semester classes, if you will.  How wonderful it was to relax without work on the mind.  I finally unpacked my bags for winter vacation this morning, and thus have chosen to return to some writing.

The downtown Elkhart Nibco Skate Park will be open until March 6, 2011.

Last night Alex and I ventured to the downtown Elkhart Nibco Ice Park (if you have not visited this place, I definitely recommend it!).  I say ventured because that’s exactly what I was embarking on, a venture.  The last time I picked up a pair of skates was nearly five years ago in the 8th grade.  By stepping on the ice last night, I was potentially putting my health, pride and skating reputation at risk.  I made sure to warn Alex that “I might be very bad at skating,” but he just chuckled lightly in reply.  Alex is a hockey player, so I was already at a huge disadvantage.

After much trouble we managed to fasten the cheap rental skates snugly to my feet.  Walking with caution, I reached the silver gate.  Ice stretched out endlessly in front of my eyes as I wondered what had convinced me to do this.  With open arms, Alex helped me onto the splintered rink entrance.  Then he let me go, and I found myself longing for anything to hold on to.  Surely enough, my worst fears were realized with my first wobbly steps: I was a terrible skater.

If I had a videotape of last night, I would imagine myself looking like some sort of clumsy penguin on the screen, sliding and falling on the ice beneath me.  At first, I laughed at myself as I re-learned the skills I had once mastered.  Thirty minutes passed, and I still was not getting it; for some reason unbeknown to me, I could not comprehend how to push the ice with my skates.  I could feel my initial humorous spirit melting into the ice as I grappled with this concept.  My feet began to tire after about an hour and a half of skating, and although part of me was determined to keep trying, I knew it was time to leave.

After last night’s experience, Alex assured me that I made good progress, however I know I still have a lot more to learn.

My skating was rough but one thing was certain: by the end of the night, I did not have to rely on Alex to propel me forward anymore.

I tell you this story only to talk to you about my experience with risk-taking and the learning process.  To be honest, I am not a fan of feeling inferior or unskilled.  I like to be confident in myself when I undergo a task; even if I don’t know how to do it properly, I will figure it out.

If I only take one thing away from my freshman year, fall semester it will be the following: sometimes you have to fall on your face, literally and figuratively speaking, when you are learning something new, whether it be inside or outside of the classroom.  Sometimes you have to look like a fool before you can achieve pro-status.

College has taught me that learning requires risk-taking.  As I retain and experience new information I take risks in applying that knowledge to areas of my life, knowing that I might apply that information incorrectly.

I still don’t understand skating entirely, but I am willing to risk failure to learn more about it, even if I make a fool of myself.  I want to get better and I want to skate fast, however I realize that my progress will come in baby steps.  Maybe someday, all that I learn about skating will come full circle, and I will be able to step fearlessly onto that rink, ready to race any challenger.

Just remember: when you fall, don’t be afraid to get back up and try it again.

There is a great chance that the person standing next to you fell when they first learned it too.



  1. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favour”.I am looking for ways to add things to my blog!Is it ok if i use some of the things i saw here?!

  2. I appreciate your interest in my blog, however these writings are mine and I wish for them to remain that way 🙂 Feel free to come back and read more though!

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