As the shiny gloss of a new semester at college wears off and you enter the grind of homework and midterms and finals, it’s easy to get stuck. At Boston University, it’s called the “BU Bubble,” but I’m sure it has to exist at other colleges, too.
You start to go to the same places and do the same things every day, and in the process, you forget to leave campus. This problem becomes even more severe as finals season bears down upon us, crushing us under the weight of our expensive textbooks.
Here’s some advice on how to pop the bubble and remind yourself that, outside the confines of your campus, there are human beings who exist outside the age range of 18-22—even during the hustle and bustle of finals week. You’re going to take a break anyway, so make sure you’re not wasting your precious little free time. If you get out of the bubble, you can return to studying with a fresh brain.
Take advantage of the season
If, like me, you go to school in a place where temperatures start to dip below survivable around this time, don’t despair. If you’re exhausted from studying, step outside – a crisp blast of cold air will be the perfect wake-me-up.
I’m mostly kidding. But seriously, finals week happens to coincide with one of the best times of the year. If you’re in America, your city or town is likely to be decked out for Christmas, with holiday activities galore. Here in Boston, the mayor just cut the ribbon on a winter wonderland intended to spruce up the formerly barren City Hall Plaza. Boston Winter has opened to great reviews from Boston Magazine and features a skating path as well as “chalets” that house wares from online shops and local businesses.
The cold will still be there when you get back from winter break, but the holiday cheer will not. For your next study break, grab a hot cocoa and enjoy it while you can.
Do something you’ve always meant to do
I don’t know if other schools have this, but Boston University gives students a few classless days before finals in order to study. If you have one of these study periods, don’t take the name too literally. Nobody can spend 24 hours studying, so take a newly free morning or afternoon to do something you forgot to do during the other parts of the semester.
If you’re preparing for a marathon study session, or if you want to recover from one, find something low-key and soothing to do. Go see a movie. Stroll through a museum. For my study period, I plan to hit some bookstores and take enough walks to make myself forget all the work I’m failing to do in the process.
Study somewhere beautiful
Getting off campus during finals week doesn’t mean ditching your studies. Finding somewhere new and beautiful to study, far away from your drab campus library, can be refreshing and invigorating and the change of scenery you need in order to cram more information into your tired brain.
For Boston students, may I suggest the Boston Public Library? It’s where I spend my Saturday mornings, and the wide open spaces in the new and old parts of the building make for easy communal studying. Plus, it’s the best place to be for intensive paper writing—every reference you would ever need is sitting in the stacks around you.
If studying by yourself in foreign territory doesn’t sound appealing, drag some friends along to a café or coffee shop you’ve always talked about going to but never have and crack the books there.
As I finish writing this, I’m about to enter the finals rabbit hole myself. However, I’m going to make sure to reset every once and a while. I won’t let my dorm room become a sad study cave, and you shouldn’t either!