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The leaves are beginning to change, the weather is cooling down (slightly), and our libraries are beginning to fill up—it’s midterm season! We’d give you some study tips, but it’s a safe bet that you already have that covered. On the contrary, you might need advice on the exact opposite—how to relax and recharge. Between problem sets and paragraphs, here are some quick ways to take a study break and stay sane in the next few weeks.

Get moving!

If you’ve been sitting in that stiff wooden Butler chair for a few hours, it might be time to get up and move around. Whether it be in the bathroom, elevator, Stacks, or even the middle of Ref Room, some jumping jacks and crunches will get your blood flowing. For the more inconspicuous, we recommend a calm walk around campus. Accompanied by your favorite Spotify playlist or quick phone call back home, a stroll past the Sundial and up Low Steps is the perfect way to stretch your legs and clear your mind.


Conversely, for you sedentary readers, a quick nap might be the more appealing option. If you find yourself drifting off mid-”Odyssey,” it might be a sign that you need some rest. A 20-minute snooze followed by a handful of chocolate-covered espresso beans (sold at Peet’s in Milstein!) could help counter that study session slump.

Smartphone zone

Though having your phone out can be a huge distraction when you’re trying to memorize verb conjugations, it can also offer refuge when the time comes to take a break. A quick scroll through Reddit or Instagram is a nice relief from the textbook. If social media isn’t your drug of choice, swiping on Candy Crush or Doge2048 (my personal favorite) can keep your brain running as you prepare to take on your next assignment.


When you’re getting off track, grab a snack! For those of you studying in Milstein, we recommend a smoothie run to Diana—refreshing and convenient. ButCaf is always a classic choice for those 10 p.m. hot chocolate breaks or 1 a.m. ramen refuels. And in those moments of great desperation, shots are your best friend. Espresso shots, that is!


If you can spare the time for a longer break, a Netflix show could be the way to go. However, we recommend a brief YouTube video or a shorter episode (“Friends,” “The Office”). There’s less risk of a binge session or marathon to overrule your study time.

& Chill

When stress starts to infringe on your ability to focus, it’s time to take a breath. Deep breathing activities (found on YouTube or different meditation apps) help keep nerves in check. Midterms can be anxiety-inducing and overwhelming; remember that you can utilize journaling or meditation to keep you feeling centered.

If none of these study break ideas appeal to you, there is one final, foolproof option! Next time you take a break, we highly recommend reading through the latest articles on Spectrum...

Barnard Columbia Recharge Midterms
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