Meet the UO student who can’t stop sky diving

‘I’d rather die doing something I love than live cautiously in fear of death’

For many college students, extracurricular activities are a popular and fun way to get out of the classroom and spend time outside. From playing intramural sports and joining on-campus clubs, there’s something for everyone, and for UO junior Connor Gallegos, he finds himself skydiving at 14,000 feet.

‘I did my first tandem skydive when I was sixteen, just for fun, just for the thrill of it,’ he said.

Connor’s passion for sky diving started when his English teacher challenged each student to find something outside of their comfort zone. For Connor, that meant he wanted to get his sky diving certification so he could do solo jumps.

Connor has sky dived 307 times

The two-day course involved seven solo jumps with an instructor flying alongside making sure everything was going well.

‘After that two day course I was pretty much addicted and I started jumping every weekend,’ he said.

After the class he continued to jump, and soon had completed two hundred jumps, the number needed to earn a certification in wing suits. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, as Connor practiced as often as he could.

‘I actually skipped some days senior year, sick days, and went and sky dived,’ Connor said.

With the help of his off days, he hit one hundred jumps in an incredible three months.

Connor and his dad often sky dive together and both are certified to use wing suits

While his teacher’s challenge initially helped him find his passion, Connor also credits his dad for fostering his passion as well. His dad joined him for his certification jumps, and at times was jumping more often than Connor in his determination to reach two hundred jumps and be allowed to wing suit.

‘That was one of my dad’s primary goals of skydiving,’ Connor added.

As he jumped more and more times, he became focused on his technique and what he could do with a wing suit because it offered so much more than regular sky diving.

‘It’s almost like flying flat, it’s an entirely different level of sky diving,’ he explained.

Sky divers usually jump from heights as high as 14,000 feet and sometimes even higher

Even after having sky dived over 300 times, Connor still sees the experience as more than jumping from above.

‘The coolest part about sky diving, and everyone says it, is that it’s so in the moment that everything else is shut out, gone,’ he said.

Sky diving is often called a personal experience, and for Connor it has become a form of peace of mind. He compares it to the therapeutic benefits of yoga, as it allows him to block everything out and be able to think completely alone.

‘It’s hard to put into words what sky diving feels like,’ he said.

Though Connor doesn’t know how to describe the feeling of sky diving, he does know, ‘I’d rather die doing something I love than live cautiously in fear of death.’


University of Oregon