Anyone can tell you that being a college student is stressful. Especially during this strange and terrifying year of social isolation, remote work, and the pandemic, it’s important to release that stress in a healthy way. And what’s the best way to do that? A primal scream, of course!

But how can a person release a scream for maximum catharsis without disturbing their roommates, receiving a noise complaint, or (in the worst case scenario) provoking a 911 call? Fear not, my repressed friends! I’ve compiled a list of my favorite places on campus to release a primal scream, ranked by the following criteria:

  • Isolation: It’s not fun to scream when you’re weighed down by the pressure of social norms. A good spot should be fairly accessible to you, while not frequented by a possibly judgemental passersby. That’s also why I strongly recommend visiting these spots at night.
  • Echo: The power you feel after screaming is exponentially magnified by how loud and clean the echo of your voice is. However, no echo isn’t a dealbreaker — the idea of your agony being quietly absorbed into the environment is just as philosophically satisfying.
  • Ambience: How well does the spot convey a mood? How much of your surroundings can you survey from your vantage point? Basically, how are the vibes? 
  • Overall catharsis: This is supposed to be an average of the preceding scores, but I’m not a STEM major, so instead it’s just my opinion.

1. Great Meadow Vista Point

Photo of the Great Meadow Vista Point. There are illustrated birds, along with a person screaming "I FEEL ALIVE."

Located just beyond the music hall, this prime screaming spot has an incredible view of the bay and an S-tier echo. Plus, the only people who are usually out here past 5 p.m. are stoners and cyclists, who probably won’t investigate the noise. This is my personal favorite spot.

  • Isolation: 3/5
  • Echo: 3/5
  • Ambience: 5/5 
  • Overall catharsis: 4/5  

2. Pogonip Creek

A photo of Pogonip Creek, with an illustrated figure yelling "awooooo"

What’s better than letting your animal nature loose in the middle of a primeval forest? You’ll probably be alone in the stillness of nature, about an hour’s walk from campus. Bonus points if you stand knee-deep in freezing water while yelling and/or go at dusk. WARNING: May attract mountain lions/coyotes/concerned cyclists.

  • Isolation: 5/5
  • Echo: 1/5
  • Ambience: 5/5
  • Overall catharsis: 3.5/5 

3. Oakes Meadow

A photo of Oakes Meadow. It's sunny. There are speech bubbles reading "Oakes!"

A close friend swears by this classic spot just below Oakes, the best college at UCSC, for stress-release screaming during midterms season. It’s a bit too close to civilization for me, but the guy’s got a lot of experience in the sport, so I trust his recommendation.  

  • Isolation: 2/5
  • Echo: 1/5
  • Ambience: 3/5
  • Overall catharsis: 2/5

4. Kresge Bridge

An illustrated figure lays across the Kresge Bridge

Another screaming spot right in the middle of campus. While the Kresge renewal is underway, it’s a great way to confuse and frighten construction workers, if that’s something you’ve always wanted to do.

  • Isolation: 2/5
  • Echo: 1/5
  • Ambience: 4/5
  • Overall catharsis: 3/5

5. Empire Underpass

The Porter Underpass, with graffitied walls. The photo is decorated with illustrated footsteps leading into the tunnel.

Listen, just hear me out. Yes, there will be lots of cars passing overhead whose passengers may hear you scream, but think about this: they’ll only experience your outpouring of emotion for a second and then move on with their lives at 50 miles per hour, only retaining a confused ghost of your memory. How evanescent is that?

  • Isolation: 4/5
  • Echo: 5/5
  • Ambience: 5/5
  • Overall catharsis: 10000/10

6. Inside Empire Cave

Entrance to Porter Caves. in the dark, there are drawn eyes that look upwards.

People have been making noise (partying, recording psychedelic music, etc.) inside the caves for years. Why not follow the tradition yourself? Think about it — releasing a primal scream in  total darkness, completely removed from society. Wow! Unfortunately, your intrepid guide has been unable to go inside the cave to assess its ambience and scream test it because she is too scared to climb down the ladder by herself.

  • Isolation: 5/5
  • Echo: 5/5
  • Ambience: assumed 5/5
  • Overall catharsis: assumed infinity/10

Well, there you go: six great spots around our very own UCSC campus to visit to release some stress as we round off another year of remote learning. Feel free to try these out with a friend or partner, or by yourself on a lonely night when your backlog of work or your general ennui overpowers you. Good luck to everyone!