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Sachi Thomsen / Staff Illustrator

Welcome to the mid-semester slump: It’s been over two months at Columbia and the novelty of college life has begun to wear off. Midterms are winding down, Homecoming and Halloweekend have come and gone, and you’re no longer preoccupied with navigating the once-new campus. You’ve figured out your favorite dining hall, established your favorite corner in Ref Room, and no longer log into SSOL every morning to try and remember which classroom you should be heading to. With the newness fading and the hype dying down, here are some simple ways to spice up the remainder of your semester!

Make a new friend!Change up your unofficial designated seat in the classroom and sit down next to someone new in that 200-person lecture. Who knows—you might end up meeting your new best friend! (Or at least someone to ask for notes from next time you sleep through your alarm and miss class.)

Alternatively, if that slightly-off-center, close-enough-to-hear-the-professor-but-far-enough-to-pull-out-your-phone-surreptitiously-if-needed desk is too good to give up, hit up your NSOP pal! You know, that one friend you made on the first day and haven’t spoken to since September but still awkwardly smile at when you cross paths on the way to Hamilton. Though you’ve established some friends, a few potential pals have slipped through the cracks. Now’s a good time to revisit those loosely made connections and actually go talk to those people!

Actually show up

The club fair. You eagerly gave out your name, UNI, and class year to every club that caught even the slightest bit of your attention. You signed up for sustainability clubs despite the accumulating pile of plastic water bottles in your room and gave your UNI to the multicultural dance club, ignoring the key fact that you haven’t been blessed with the gift of coordination. You’ve spent the last two months ignoring hiking invites from the outdoors club and crafting session emails from the knitting group. If things feel like they’re slowing down and you have a moment to spare, maybe it’s time to give one of those meetings a try!

Likewise, refer to your Facebook events. We all love clicking “Interested” and never actually showing up, but attending in person will definitely break you out of your slump.

Literally spice things up

Joe’s usually has cinnamon by the self-serve station. Add a dash to your coffee to spice up your taste buds during your morning lecture.

And if you want festive snacks, GO TO TRADER JOE’S. Go. To. Trader. Joe’s. This is not sponsored but I am telling you right now that TJ’s is your man for all your spiced, seasonal snacking needs. Chai-spiced bagels, pumpkin spice Joe-Joe’s (the indisputably superior adaptation of an Oreo), pumpkin-flavored dog biscuits … need I say more? How could you possibly be bored when you have such stupendous snacks awaiting you on the corner of 93rd and Columbus?

Scene change

Instead of heading to John Jay for your morning omelette, take a look on the other side! Of Broadway, that is. Diana gets slept on—Spectrum is here to tell you that their breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, and ambience are unbeatable. The 20 minutes before your first lecture in that light-filled dining room accompanied by a toasty breakfast wrap is definitely the perfect way to break you out of your boredom.

In true Columbia fashion, another way to switch it up would be to find a new study spot. Our favorites include empty classrooms in Philosophy Hall, the East Asian Library, and Brownie’s Cafe.

Finally, a quick way to change up the scenery is by walking through Riverside Park. Even if you’ve frequented the tranquil paths before, it’s worth checking out again—the foliage is unbeleafable right now. Also, it’s hard to stay in a slump when there are adorable puppies in a picture-perfect fall landscape involved.

If you’re feeling a little down, remember to be kind to yourself. It might seem frivolous and a little shallow, but these minor changes can truly make all the difference. It’s easy to get the impression that everyone else is living a super-exciting, dynamic life, but remember that you just got here. You have seven more semesters to figure out how you best want to spend your time on (or off) campus. Part of change is dealing with adjustment periods of overwhelming busyness and sudden slumps.

It’s fall! In NYC! So go out there, enjoy the colorful leaves on campus right now, and get yourself that (pumpkin spiced) bread.

Barnard Columbia Fall
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