Hidden Talents: The Skydiver
Written by Bwog Staff
Internship, schminternship! In Hidden Talents, Bwog exposes your classmates as the weird and glorious wunderkinder they truly are. Bwog’s Jack-of-All-Trades Matthew Schantz brings you a profile of the high-flying Logan Donovan. Would you like to share your talent? Is your talent exposing other people’s talents? If you satisfy one or more of these conditions please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org
Logan Donovan is an engineering student at SEAS, but her suitemates introduce her as the “skydiving girl.” Her enthusiasm for the sport is obvious. While discussing her passion in a recent interview, I hardly had time to ask any questions as she interrupted herself to explain a specific piece of gear or drop me some lingo (airports are “drop zones,” a backpack is a “rig,” most dramatically, the sign up kiosk at a drop zone is a “manifest window”). Some people think of life in terms of money, or family, Logan thinks of her life in terms of jumps.
She made her first jump a few days after her 18th birthday while flying over New Zealand. While for some, metaphorically flipping off gravity for the first time would be horrifying, Logan recalls her first jump with a grin. She remembers thinking to herself, “Oh that’s cool, I just wish I could do that every weekend,” but didn’t consider getting her license, a process that usually takes 2 to 3 months, at the time. It didn’t take much longer for her to come around to the idea. She got it in two and a half weeks.
Skydivers joke that once you get your license, you quickly lose touch with your non-skydiving friends. As Logan put it, jumping out of planes with strangers “creates an unusual bond.” Skydivers chat at the drop zone, exchanging tips and tricks, and at the end of the day “everybody stays, hangs out, and you’ll crash on somebody’s couch.” Thanks to their tight-knit communities, drop zones grow their own culture, often manifested in quirky games.
At a drop zone Logan frequented in Virginia, jumpers set up a circle of cans for skydivers to compete to “take out as many soda cans with their feet as possible.” Currently, Logan frequents a drop zone outside of Poughkeepsie named “the Ranch.” Every Friday, divers compete for accuracy while trying to land on a target the size of a dinner plate. Winner gets free dinner.
Logan’s enthusiasm for the sport coupled with her nonchalance in the face of freefall is contagious. By the end of my interview with Logan, I was eyeing the sky through Lerner’s glass façade and asking if the weather was good enough to skydive the next day. I’m not her only (potential) skydiving convert: Logan convinced her mom (who loved it) and had Dean Peña-Mora willing to jump with engineering students clutching a Columbia engineering flag before the general council said that it’s “not something the school is willing to do in terms of liability” (but, pleeeeasse PrezBo?!). While club requirements and logistics have kept Logan from forming a Columbia skydiving team, she is still more than happy to bring any daring souls with her to the Ranch.