Imperial MBA is intense. You swap your daily ‘Friends’ fix for accounting primer videos, analyse the cohort’s social network within Managing and Developing People course to then present it with the team as a part of the assessment, start and finish your day with Corporate Finance readings, reflect on your career to craft it into something new with your career consultant, attend great events with inspirational speakers, and maybe even run an Entrepreneurship or VC club.  And before you know it – the two cores are over and it’s a Christmas break! Which does not necessarily mean Christmas time off. When the exams are just few weeks away, putting yourself together and being at your best at the exams is the number one priority. If you ask me, even that by now you would have been ‘back to school’ for almost three months, the thought of taking exams is very unnerving, and pre-exam stress can be quite intense.

While people would normally tell you to quit climbing the walls and relax, my advice is to do exactly opposite: get your gym gear on and head to Ethos to climb the walls! The Climbing Wall is a great way to clear your mind by keeping your hands busy, throw your stress off the cliff and become strong and lean to battle through the exams. And the great news is – I have now checked it out for you and here are some notes below.

Climbing Wall Imperial - Climbing

How it really is:

  • Very exciting! While climbing the wall you work on three key things: your strength, your mind and your technique (in the words of Ethos’ instructor Michal Kuziorowicz who’s been doing it for 13 years now and spends his time out rock climbing!). Contrary to my (wrong) perception, climbing is not just about strong arms – when climbing, you use the entire body, you push with the legs and hold the balance using your core – full body workout guaranteed. And as there isn’t anything you can think of while climbing except the climbing itself – your mind gets its well-deserved rest!
  • Challenging and rewarding. If you think that you are afraid of heights (or have any other related or unrelated fears) – definitely do go climb the wall. When you climb up you face the wall (unless you look down), when you ‘walk down’ you face the wall again, so you don’t really deal with the height. As you do it over and over, your confidence goes up and your fears disappear. Welcome the new you!
  • Diverse. There are different types of walls with various levels of difficulty – so you are guaranteed to have a new experience every time you climb up.
  • Like nothing else you tried before. Struggling after a ‘leg day’ at the gym is so yesterday! How about not being able to hold a cup of tea for a couple of days after your first climbing experience? Exactly – that’s something new! (Just make sure you allow some time to give your hands a rest and don’t do it just before a written exam! 🙂 )

Climbing Wall - Gtting ready

Getting started:

  • Anyone can do it – come to Climbing Wall open class on Tuesdays to test yourself and get excited. Get started by completing a 3 hour beginner course so that you could keep coming on your own.
  • Come and climb the wall with the climbing partner (don’t worry if you don’t have one just yet – the instructors will match you with someone from an open class – which is a great way to meet people outside of your class!) any time within the opening hours and enjoy the thrill!
  • One step at a time. Once I did three climbs on relatively ‘easy’ walls, I thoughts I was really ready for a challenge. And I did try a more complex wall indeed. Except that my fingers and hands did not agree with me. So take it easy – enjoy. The first class will definitely leave you wanting for more. Then come in a few days for half an hour more. Then make it three times a week. Taking into account that each climb feels like a new one it might keep you coming back on and on!

So when someone tells you next time to stop climbing the walls when you are stressed, tell them about thinking outside of the box – and get them to join you at doing exactly opposite – climb the wall together!

(I would like to thank Ethos team – Manager Dan Stopher and Climbing Instructor Michal Kuziorowicz for my seamless and inspirational Climbing Wall experience!)