First semester sucked. But not in the way one would think. Whenever I spoke to friends or family I would gush about how amazing CMC is and how I couldn’t be happier anywhere else. This was all true–yet I was also exhausted and constantly working to keep up. However when I reflect on first semester, now I can see why it was so hard. Trying to make the transition from high school to college was challenging enough–doing it with grace was simply beyond my reach.

It is safe to say that I got through first semester by the skin of my teeth, accomplishing next to nothing with poise. As echoed before in previous Forum articles, I also failed miserably in some aspects. But the worst part about this was that I had no idea how to handle my missteps.

Thankfully, it all turned out okay. I returned to campus this semester with a plan: finding a stress release. When faced with trials or tumults before I came to college, I had an outlet–rock climbing. A passion since I was little, whether it be indoors or outdoors, rock climbing has always functioned as a cathartic and enjoyable activity for me. After a long day at school, I could always turn to climbing as a way to blow off steam and just lose myself.

When I climb, I don’t have to think. Grabbing holds and pulling myself up a wall in swift, fluid motions, I let my mind take the backseat to my body. Time flies by as I immerse myself in an activity I truly love. Endorphins rush into my brain as I work harder, driving myself towards finishing harder routes at the gym. Afterwards, I am that kind of pleasantly exhausted where all my energy is gone, but I am left with a sense of satisfaction. This is the pure joy that comes from doing an activity I love–it always brightens my day and puts me in a positive mood.

However, when I came to CMC, I stopped climbing due to my disorganization last semester. When I was trying to figure out how to have a better semester in the spring, I realized that climbing was what was missing from my life. I made myself promise that I would climb at least twice a week, and have worked hard to keep up this routine all semester.

Once I got into a routine this semester, I noticed that I began to feel like a different person. Not only did I feel happier, but also less anxious and stressed. Now, a large part of this can be attributed to the fact that most of the transition to CMC was complete. Yet, I do feel that climbing acted as a form of therapy for me. All negative energy, anxiety, and worry dissipated just by spending a few hours at the climbing gym. I was able to keep my emotions under control and put myself in a better place just by finding something that I can channel my energy into that results in positive changes for my life overall.

At CMC, we constantly put ourselves through immense stress, whether it is academic, personal, or social. CMC is an intense and tough environment, whether it is obvious or not. Our label as “happiest college in America” can sometimes be a double–edged sword. Since we are the “happiest college in America” we can often feel like an outsider if we do not have a grin from ear to ear 24/7. This can be tough, especially if one does not have an outlet for all the pent-up energy CMC can generate.

It is imperative for us CMCers to find certain activities or hobbies that we thoroughly enjoy. Maybe you aren’t extremely stressed, but all the same, finding a release can take some pressure off the daily hoops we have to jump through as college students. If you already know what makes you tick or brings you happiness, try to make it a habit. If you haven’t found exactly what your “therapy” is–go out and search for it. Once you do find it, practice it often and you’ll begin to see all its benefits.


  1. Great article, and couldn’t agree more! For those interested, there’s a climbing gym class, and it’s a great way to go climbing and meet people who will give you rides to the gym if you don’t need a car.

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