Almost exactly one year after my 5th tandem jump, I had saved enough money for the student program.
The first jumps are a bit of a blur to me, as I was fighting fear so large; every jump seemed an impossible task. I can’t say I ever enjoyed any of those student jumps while they were happening.
Because I always wanted a perfect jump (as well as survival from intentionally flinging myself out of an airplane at 12k feet), my stress level was very high.
I had to fight nerves before getting on the plane, fight panic during the flight, and retain focus during intense sensory input during the actual skydive.
The strongest thing that kept me going back every weekend was my will to complete it.
I wanted all of it: the family, the fear-conquering, the adrenaline high, and the ability simply to say I did it.