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Illustration by Ana Shindell

They say in the journey is where there is joy,

So fall break is a weekend you ought to employ

For some journey-taking. If you've the time

And 20 bucks, then I think you will find

That you don't have to go far to have an adventure:

The simplest trip might sufficiently quench your

Thirst for novelty. This break has a lot of potential,

Because sometimes leaving campus is essential.


At Columbia we have peculiar trouble:

We're a "global school," yet we're caught in a bubble

That, as the semester goes on, becomes more of a wall:

Invisible, sure, but impassible, tall.

Leave the dorm? We recoil at such suggestions.

And leaving the borough? Ha! Out of the question.


New York's at our disposal for our four CU years,

But we miss what it offers when we're up to our ears

In schoolwork. It's hard to enjoy those big city lights

If we don't venture beyond little Morningside Heights.


Which is why, this fall break, I urge you to go,

Get off campus and head somewhere you don't know.

Be it some far-flung resort or a national park,

Or your aunt's house in Queens. Take a chance and embark

On a Metro-North trip, or hop on the Jitney,

Or downtown for a stroll through the Frick or the Whitney.


For three years (nearly four), I've made the most

Of my fall break by venturing across the east coast

By way of the singular Chinatown bus.

And if you've never used one, then really, you must.

Ten bucks will get you to Boston or D.C.

(Sure they're sketchy as hell, but they're practically free).


My first year of college I was hell-bent

On an epic fall break: And so, I went.

Fresh outta Utah, eager to explore

Those big east coast cities I hadn't seen before,

I roped five floormates into a trip to D.C.,

In spite of the fact that we had no money.

Which is how I learned this important moral:

When travelling, go with a group that won't quarrel.

So the next year to Boston I went with just me,

Took the bus into Cambridge; I wanted to see

The bright autumn leaves there, incarnadine:

Making brilliant reds out of yellows and greens.

On the Charles, I took long walks and deep breaths,

A much-needed respite from deadlines and stress.


Junior year was Dartmouth, where I stayed with a friend.

It was freezing and dark, but still a means to an end

Most necessary: To clear some space in my head,

To get a full night in a non-twin XL bed.

Hanover? Not conducive to human existence.

Too cold. But still gave me some much needed distance.


For fall break this year I will be staying

Upstate. But here's something that's been weighing

On my mind. Each year, I find that on break, time flies:.

Two days sans class hardly qualifies

As a real "break;" it's too short—and the facts

Almost suggest CU doesn't want us to relax.


On the one hand, it's up to students to make

The most of our 48-hour fall break,

And dare to go beyond the Quad at Barnard.

But Columbia staff: You could make that less hard.

For instance: Please stop assigning us work

Over the break. It drives me berserk

When during time that's specially sanctioned

As a "break" from school, I'm totally anxious

About p-sets to finish and papers to write—

My "long weekend" turned into one long Sunday night.


And to my professor whose midterm is the day after break,

(You know who you are): Go jump in a lake.

And to my prof who's determined a Monday deadline,

In the future, um, don't. A week late would be fine.


I think fall break could use a rebranding, revamping,

So it becomes a time where, instead of clamping

Down on assignments we ought not be assigned,

Fall break left us renewed—not merely resigned.

It'll be a joint effort: Our profs must ask less,

But we need to allow ourselves much-needed rest.

For two days, let self-care be what you prioritize—

Ditch the books, hit snooze, read, spend time outside.


In closing: Leave campus. You can only survive

With your sanity if you sometimes leave the hive.

And profs: Let us go. Don't tether us here

By instilling us with deadline-induced fear.

And Chinatown buses: Please just don't break down.

For one weekend each fall, I want outta this town.

Emma Miller is a Columbia College senior majoring in English and concentrating in economics. She is a residential adviser in Furnald and enjoys studying crises both Shakespearean and financial. Rhyme and Reason runs alternate Wednesdays.

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