Peer Leader Perspective: Selina Li

We’re excited to feature this piece by Selina Li ’11 (The Winsor School ’18) who writes about a moment when she stepped out of her comfort zone to achieve something she really wanted. This article originally appeared in the March 2016 Steppingstone Support Services Update.

What do you get when you mix water with freezing cold temperatures? Ice. A moment when I stepped out of my comfort zone to achieve something that I really wanted was when I began to ice skate. I am by no means a professional ice skater. I cannot pull off an edge spiral like Michelle Kwan (much less any spiral or twirl). I still, to this day, do not fully know how to stop myself on the ice or the proper way to ice skate. Although I will never make it into the Olympics for ice skating, ice skating has taught me the importance of balance and independence.

When I first started to skate, my grip was tight on another person. Someone else had to help me balance and move forward on the ice. I also fell a lot. Hard. Falling would leave me with ice imprints and bruises. The wind was brutal. The cold bit into my face and turned my hands red. My ankles would ache so much that putting shoes back on seemed like the best feeling in the world. With all of these negative factors that played out in the art of ice skating, it seemed like there was nothing good that would counteract it.

To be honest, most of the things that I enjoyed from ice skating were not from the act of ice skating but came from the effects of it. Sure there was the adrenaline and the feeling of flying, but more important were the things that made me able to feel these experiences. The scariest and best thing was when I finally let go of the bar or the friend that supported me. I was able to maneuver my way around the rink by myself. I had found a new appreciation for my body and how every single bone and muscle in your body operated to help you keep moving. My legs were the wheels that keep turning, my hands were the wings that keep me balanced, my torso was the steering wheel, my eyes were the map, and my heart was the engine. From every fall that happened, I was able to repeatedly get up and keep moving forward. That is the way that life works as well.

Even if you are not the best student, scared of something, or are prone to selfishness, egotism, or pessimism, remind yourself that these things are only temporary. To me, my fear was falling and hurting myself on the ice. The one thing that I thought would keep me from falling was the rail, but I was wrong. What prevented me from falling was when I took away those safety wheels off and faced my fears. Do not let your flaws control the way that you perceive or live life. I believe that our fears and our flaws are prevalent in our lives because we do not accept them. I think that when we do, we will also begin to accept ourselves.