Fear | Colby College Undergraduate Application Essay

I’m hanging on a half inch thick loop of nylon webbing over a 100 foot cliff, double checking my anchor set up for a climb I’m about to try with a friend. My hands are a little numb and my breath hangs in the air in front of me. Looking out from the cliff, I realize it’s not a particularly scenic area. I can see an apartment complex in the distance, and I hear the muffled but constant roar of the daily commuters on the I-75 bridge, and this climb isn’t even good; there’s loose rock and dirt (choss) everywhere and there are few good holds.

That’s when it hits me: “What the hell am I doing here?”

I think I love rock climbing and I spend a lot of my time and money on it, but as I hang off that cliff, gazing down onto the treetops below, it hits me that the ridiculously thin piece of nylon attached to my harness isn’t just holding me to the tree. It’s the only thing holding me on to my family, my friends, my school, my dreams, and the rest of my life.

One little cut in that webbing and it’s all over.

I can’t help but wonder, is this crappy climb worth it?

Through all of my outdoor/adventure pursuits, I seem to encounter this dilemma. The scenarios are often different, whether I’ve just rolled over in my kayak and I’m headed down…

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