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Hit the Pause Button: Slowing Down at Boston College

Amid the busyness of college life, when I’m juggling everything from class readings to group projects, club meetings, and job commitments, I find it challenging to hit the pause button. If you’re like me, you long to calm the storm for a few moments and soak in everyday’s ordinary moments. Often, dedicating time to slow down and take a step back from the chaos of school is rejuvenating and carries you through the following weeks. Now that we’re in the middle of the semester and assignments are starting to pile up, managing stress is even more important. Here are some inexpensive and convenient ways to escape from college mayhem and “hit the pause button” when you need it most!

Move Those Muscles!

Midterm season means Boston College students are spending lots of time seated within the alcoves of O’Neill, Bapst, or wherever their study session takes them. But, getting active is the perfect way to revive yourself during a long day of studying. Stand up from your chair and head to the Plex to participate in a group fitness class. If you need an energy burst, I recommend the body combat or spin classes. You can also stretch at a yoga class, and if you’re an early bird, the sunrise yoga sessions are a great way to say good morning to a sunlit Gasson. As outside temperatures warm in the coming months, you can get active outside by walking around the Res while you catch up with a friend, take a phone call, or learn something new from a podcast. The 1.5 mile loop is the perfect length for my type of run, and if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can venture into the nearby residential streets of Newton.

Go on a Coffee Date

These are a BC classic. Taking 20 minutes to converse with a peer might be the perfect therapeutic stimulus to break up your week. Text that friend who you repeatedly see in passing to pick up Dunkin together and walk to campus. Ask that cute lab partner to grab dinner after class. Stop by a professor’s office hours and chat about something different from your course material. It’s human nature to long for connection, and any individual should be flattered by your invitation to get to know them better. No matter who you go with, a coffee date will give you a much-needed break from the stress of college life. 

Find a Moment of Gratitude

Silence is uncomfortable. But as college students who aren’t used to the quiet, any taste of stillness should be savored with appreciation. So, find time to create dedicated moments of silent reflection. It can be as simple as five minutes in the morning or before bed to stretch, journal, or listen to a guided meditation. Campus Ministry programs like “Examen” and “Pause and Pray” invite students from all backgrounds to unite in casual discourse examining the highs and lows of their weeks, often with a particular thematic frame. If you’re looking for something to do on your own, the memorial labyrinth nestled next to Bapst Library provides a guided route to walk in remembrance and reflection, honoring the 22 Eagles who lost their lives on Sept. 11. If you want to spend your whole weekend engaging in discernment, BC also offers a number of retreats to find peace away from campus. Check out 48hours, Halftime, or Kairos, and spend a weekend away from the craziness of everyday life. 

Engage With a New Organization

BC has over 300 student organizations, 31 Division I sports teams, and plenty of special programming occurring on campus each week. Shake up your routine by cheering on a sports team whose games you have yet to frequent, attending a dance show or a cappella concert, or listening in at a club’s general meeting. Your support will mean a lot to the community, and even if you’re not committed to continual engagement with the organization, you’ll meet energized individuals, engage in conversation, and discover a new piece of BC. 

Study Off Campus

There are a number of coffee shops and cafes within a mile of BC’s campus that are delightful spots to shake up your study routine. I have begun a rhythm of working at coffee shops on Friday afternoons as a challenge to get an assignment or two done while treating myself to a cappuccino or pastry! Venture down to Newton Centre to nibble on a croissant at Tatte Bakery or Tous Les Jours. In nearby Brighton, BC-favorite Fuel America boasts a rustic atmosphere that is cozy on a cloudy day, while Caffè Nero’s crackling fireplace sets the perfect atmosphere for reading. Just down Washington Street is Little Pecan Bistro, a walk-up restaurant that offers brunch classics, trendy dishes, and jazz music. And if you’re looking for a post–Res walk meal, camp out at Cafe Landwer in Cleveland Circle. 

March 16, 2023