Heights and I have never gotten along.
I have vivid memories of spending ten minutes gripping the railings of the high dive at Oberlin College as I tried to convince my 10-year-old self to take the plunge, and I spent more hours of my childhood crying as my parents tried to convince me to ride roller coasters at Cedar Point than I’d like to admit.
So last week at work when my boss asked if I wanted to participate in the ROTC’s annual rappelling event to get video for the Ohio University Alumni Association Facebook page, I quickly declined but promised solid footage from the safety of the ground below.
Yet, 24 hours later, I somehow managed to find myself dangling from a 5-story brick building after Hailee had to catch a flight and didn’t have time to wait in line to get the once-in-a-lifetime video.
After Hailee once again suggested—this time more urgently—that I face my fear of heights, I found myself repressing thoughts of, “What’s the worst that could happen?” as I reached for a pen and a waiver form.
But this fleeting burst of confidence was not, in fact, what my last words would have been had my visions of plummeting to my death come true. Instead, my quivering cries of “Oh, God, this is crazy!” echoed from the rooftops as I entered into a fit of hyperventilating hysteria.
In the heat of the moment, I was more focused on my seemingly imminent doom than I was on taking in the sights of Ohio University from 50 feet above the sidewalk, so I am more than grateful that my GoPro was able to serve as a reliable second set of eyes as my own stared blankly ahead.
In the middle of the semester, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the routine monotony of papers and exams and forget about the infinite opportunities available on campus that are designed to provide a much-needed study break and serve as a reminder that college is meant to be fun.
Standing atop Lindley Hall, I wanted nothing more than to be comfortably observing from the streets below. But someday I will be among the alumni strolling down the brick roads of memory lane (or Court Street) when I return to Ohio University, and I will want nothing more than to relive these random moments of spontaneity that defined my undergraduate experience.
As I returned to the safety and comfort of the ground below, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically at how the terror I had expressed just minutes before had already turned into a “Holy crap, I cannot believe I just did that!” memory—one that I know will be at the top of my list when I delve into my repertoire of “Back in my day…” stories as I entertain my future children.