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storm the wall
March 4, 2020
4 mins read

3 ways you can benefit from Storming the Wall this year

With a few weeks left to go in the school year, it’s normal to feel burnt out or not as motivated as the first-term you. But know that you’ve got what it takes to finish strong—and exercise can help!

Updated Mar 13, 2020:

Editor's Note:  In light of the increasing concerns around coronavirus (COVID-19), UBC Recreation has made the difficult decision to cancel Storm the Wall. For more details, please visit UBC Recreation's info page.


Getting up and moving with friends can help you intercept the nagging advances of lethargy, send it packing (byeee~), and retrieve the motivation to finish your year strong.

A terrific way to get some well-deserved exercise with your friends is to participate in Storm the Wall this year—taking place March 21 to 24!

Storm the Wall is one of UBC’s most iconic traditions.

As someone who did it last year and aims to re-tackle it this year, I can assure you that you’ll have a rewarding, fun-filled experience. Participants get to swim, sprint, bike, run, and for the final challenge, scale (with varying degrees of elegance) the title 12-foot wall.

Psyched? Awesome! Grab some friends and register your team by March 13

Not sure if storming a wall is your thing? Here are just 3 of the many benefits that you can gain from “embracing the storm”:

1. Spending time with friends

Last year, I did Storm the Wall with a group of friends, mostly the ones I made back in high school. Being the meek guy who was and still am, to a degree, afraid of heights, I wouldn’t have been able to get over the 12-foot wall without their physical (and emotional) support.

Joining Storm the Wall last year helped me reconnect with friends I hadn’t seen much of because of our wildly different schedules. I learned that getting together—and in particular pulling one another up and over a towering wall—can reignite friendships, showing their ability to brave time (and space).

Shawn and friends

This year, I’ll be tackling the wall again—this time around with some new friends I’ve made over the past year in my program (Biochem & Forensic Science). It feels like an understatement to say we’ve gone through a lot, because it’s really been a gritty Hero’s Journey; compared to all the Leviathan-like storms we’ve weathered together, courtesy of our Standard Timetable, this 12-foot hurdle seems way easier to surmount.

Take it from me: Join Storm the Wall with your friends—it can give you the thrill of an adventure and actually boost your and your friends’ mental health!

2. Getting the exercise your body and mind are craving

After I got over the wall last year, I felt like re-enacting Jack Dawson’s primal hollering of the line, “I’m the king of the world!” (Thankfully, I didn’t.) It was an experience that made me feel fantastically motivated—the sense of conquering a beastly barricade that showed me how much richer my potential was than I’d thought. Academic slump, what slump?

See, exercising is one way to add some oomph to your circulation and keep your mind sharp. Stress levels also decrease with exercise, which means that physical activity can lift your mood!

Because it can sometimes feel difficult to set aside time to work out on your own, registering for a large-scale event like Storm the Wall with your friends can compel you to:

  • Get your blood pumping
  • Hold one another accountable to stay active
  • Take a break from the sedentary lifestyle!

3. Reflecting on and taking pride in how far you’ve come

At this stage of the year, it can feel as though you’ve reached the Plateau of Perpetual Lethargy. A good way to search for the exit from this Slumpville is to keep on pushing forward and to trust that you’ll reach where you hope to be.

I’ve learned that one of the best ways to get the motivation to push forward is to look back. Counterintuitive, I know (Orpheus can attest to this). But by revisiting your experiences, past triumphs, hopes—and the reason that you’re here at UBC—you’ll hopefully feel inspired by your growth and achievements to keep moving ahead. 

This is where Storm the Wall can come in!

Wherever you may be in your year, think about all the personal walls you’ve faced and overcome. Consider the storms that you’ve weathered. Each of them, like the tornado destined to bring Dorothy to the Land of Oz, has swept you away to different places—each offering its own opportunities for growth and resilience. 

No matter where you may find yourself, doing Storm the Wall is a great reminder of how far you’ve already come and of the connections you’ve made along the way. The company and support of newfound friends can show you that you don’t have to confront your walls alone—be they physical or figurative ones. Although you may no longer be in a certain Kansas, you have a support system that can transcend time and space.

And when you hoist yourself over that 12-foot wall, turn, and make your descent, I promise that you'll feel a blooming sense of pride—and that you’ll find the motivation to power through the end of term!

student climbing over the wall

If Storm the Wall isn’t exactly your thing

Consider heading to the event with some of your friends to cheer on other students! This way, you’ll get to enjoy a vicarious adrenaline rush (as though you yourself were exercising, amirite?). Plus, you’ll get to see the school spirit that flourishes on campus and feel a gentle nudge reminding you that, “Hey, you’re part of something—and it’s pretty huge!”

If you’re looking to exercise without having to get over a high wall, here are some (literally) lower-barrier ways to get active and shake up your routine:

Get up and moving with friends—through Storm the Wall or something else. It’ll boost your mood and help you finish your year off strong!