“Pressure makes diamonds”

Megan Josephs, Social Media Manager

It was the day before the biggest dual meet of the year. My swim team would be facing off against our conference rivals, who had beaten us the past seven years. We were all huddled together the day before the meet on the pool deck after practice. You could feel the anxious energy in the room, yet the excitement to try and do something that we have not done against this team many times before: win. One of my coaches led the post-practice speech, and he said something that really stuck with me. He said “pressure makes diamonds” and that to feel pressure is a privilege. In the moment, I was taken aback. I thought that people would try and put as little pressure as possible on themselves, right? Why would it be a good thing? Doesn’t pressure just lead to stress? 

After walking back to the locker room. I kept repeating what he had just said, that “pressure makes diamonds”. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Being under pressure means that you have the opportunity to do something great. It is a privilege to have this opportunity presented, and it also means you care about the outcome. This can be applied to not only sports, but to school as well. Putting pressure on yourself to do well can make you a better student and even a better person. It helps you align your priorities and helps you establish good working habits. All the hours spent studying and working on assignments will ultimately help you in the end. The “pressure” of the heavy amounts of work will help you become a “diamond” student. Though it may not have felt like it at the time, that pressure was shaping you into a more disciplined and hard-working student.  

When competing at such a high level, pressure to do well is everywhere. We, as athletes, would not have gotten to where we are today at the collegiate level if we had not learned how to handle pressure well. No other feeling compares to when you are stepping up on the block, knowing you must win this race for your team in order to win the meet. The adrenaline rush and the pit in your stomach is a feeling that I would associate with immense pressure. However, it means that I could do something great here. I could win this race and beat our rivals for the first time in years. I am being given the chance to create my own “diamond”. In the end, our team came out on top, beating our conference rivals. It all started with an opportunity and the right amount of pressure. Once you have the mindset that pressure can be a good thing, nothing can hold you back. Everyone wants diamonds, but you have to be able to withstand the pressure.