We are now over a month into the school year, a time when classes are definitely in busy mode, midterms season is looming, and students are going into overdrive trying to balance everything. While I talk (and blog) a lot about building community at Tufts and enjoying the academic challenge at this university, I sometimes forget to acknowledge how busy and stressful life as a college student—and as a prospective college student applying to schools—can be. So I wanted to step back and talk about one of the most important things I’ve learned during my time at Tufts: it is absolutely essential to take breaks.
While it can be a struggle deciding just how much time to spend taking a break or doing a fun activity since you also want to finish schoolwork, sometimes it’s best to just enjoy the opportunity to relax. For me, that opportunity presented itself last weekend, when two of my suitemates and I decided to go apple picking. We made a whole morning of the activity by first picking (way too many) apples, then eating apple cider donuts and getting lunch outside in a beautiful sunny courtyard. At the beginning of the day, I found myself worrying about how I could possibly finish all my work when we got back to Tufts, but that thought vanished as soon as the fun began. After spending a few wonderful and relaxing hours in the fresh air, I felt much more ready and energized to get started on work once I was back at school.
A few other activities I have enjoyed during breaks include: hiking in the fells, which are beautiful hiking trails nearby in Medford; baking with my suitemates, with recipes ranging from snickerdoodles to apple crisp to scones; watching Netflix and having movie nights (the latest featured the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which is obviously a classic); and getting meals outside with friends. These activities are simple, some taking only 30 minutes to an hour, giving me just the right amount of time to enjoy good company while refreshing my motivation. There’s nothing quite like a well-placed break to bring you small, but powerful moments of joy throughout the (sometimes hectic and otherwise busy) week.
While this blog doesn’t talk much about specific life at Tufts, I felt it necessary to pause and encourage everyone to take a step back—be proud of how much you’re doing amidst not only a pandemic, but also the start of the school year. What I will say specifically about Tufts is this: yes, we have rigorous academic programs, but more importantly, we have faculty, staff, and students who really care about each other. Professors want you to learn, not to get burnt out too quickly or to be preoccupied with school all the time. Your fellow students want to support you and watch you succeed, while making warm memories and having fun along the way. I say this to everyone as much as myself: let’s make a point of taking breaks this semester, both to re-energize ourselves for learning and to give ourselves the space to make lovely memories with lovely people.