As a student in university, I have plenty of exams I have to take. Mid-terms and finals, they’re really a never ending cycle until the sweet release of summer break. So, sometimes the exams overlap a bit with adventures. Most people cringe in fear at the thought of going backpacking and returning the day before an exam. I have done it, twice.
The first time was in December. I am a first year, so this was my first set of university finals, ever. I had about five days off between two exams, and some people were heading to New Hampshire to climb Mount Washington. My exam was the night after we would return. But, hey, it was Mount Washington, the tallest mountain in the Appalachian Mountain Range, so I wanted to go.
The climb was spectacular. Extremely difficult (I was definitely struggling with some of those freshmen year weight issues), but I did it none the less. The wind was crazy, with gusts up to 60 km/h, but I pushed through and reached that summit.
So, after that little adventure, I rushed back to take a final for Classics. Some how or another, I got an A- on it. I really think not stressing about the exam by getting away for a little actually cleared my head and prepared me better for it. However, that was just a theory, so I would obviously have to do something ridiculously similar again to prove it.
And that opportunity came my way just a month and a half later.
Over reading week, I went and attempted the Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains. I say attempted because between getting really sick, and the couple extra feet of snow we had to blaze through than was expected, we had to turn back before summiting any of the mountains. But, that did not deter us, as we went to the Adirondack Mountains. Here we did some ice climbing, a couple quick hikes up some shorter mountains, and one summit up Mount Algonquin. Mount Algonquin is over 5,000 ft high, and the second tallest mountain in the Adirondack Mountain range. That summit was fine, until we reached tree line. Then, the 70 m/hr gusts were insane. A lot of groups had to turn back, but as risk taking college kids with ice axes, we made our way to the top. We couldn’t even see anything from the summit, but it was still amazing reaching the top.
After this long week, we drove back to Ontario. I had not showered in about a week, and had way to much laundry to even think about. So, I showered, got some real food, finished my laundry, and passed out by 8:30 pm. I had a midterm the next morning (shockingly enough, for this semester’s classics course). The midterm was at 10:30 am, and I woke up at 6:30 am to start studying for it. The four hour cram was scary, and the midterm was an interesting time. Yet, somehow, I pulled off a B+.
I am no super student. The only classics exam I have not taken immediately after climbing a mountain I got a B- on. Now, with these experiences, I really do believe getting into nature is a therapeutic thing people should do. It relaxes and rejuvenates. It pushes you beyond your limits, yet leaves you with so much satisfaction that you know you can do anything in the world.
So get out there, climb a mountain, and live life one day at a time.