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Beatrice Shlansky / Columbia Daily Spectator

With finals quickly approaching, most of us are already stressing about the amount of studying and exams we have coming up. However, as human beings, we’re bound to need a break during finals season, even if just for an hour or two each day. To help you think of some easy, fun, and relaxing things to do to get away from the stressful atmosphere that is ever-present on campus during finals seasons, here are eight study break ideas.

Visit Sakura Park

Sakura Park, located on 122nd Street and Riverside, is only a quick 11-minute walk away from campus and is the perfect place for a quick study break during finals season. Even though its Cherry Blossom Festival is technically over, this park has over 2,000 cherry blossom trees and is still an absolutely beautiful place to visit. So, on a nice warm day during reading week, definitely head over to Sakura Park with some friends for a relaxing afternoon. Bring a picnic, and, if you really must, take some readings.

Get a meal with friends

As we approach the end of the year, there is no shortage of students who are tired of dining hall food. With all the hard work you’ll be putting in to study for your exams, this is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a meal out. There are many places to eat around campus at different price points, including Thai Market, Jin Ramen, or Symposium, for you and your friends to take advantage of and enjoy some delicious non-dining hall food.

Visit the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a great place to visit. With countless exhibits, there are so many things to view that you could probably spend all day there if you wanted to. However, as a student with finals looming over your head, you may feel like you don’t have the time to do something like this. Luckily for you, the Met has free WiFi! Head over to the Met with some work, visit a few exhibits, and then sit down in the presence of priceless art pieces while you study for upcoming finals.

Go to the movies

Everyone loves going to the movies because it’s a chill and relaxing thing to do. In addition, as a Columbia/Barnard student, you can get discounted tickets, making it relatively cheap. Therefore, a trip to the movies with your friends is the perfect way to unwind at the end of a long day of hardcore studying. You can get some popcorn, some Red Vines, and a fountain drink, and watch one of the great movies out right now. If you can’t figure out what movie to see, here are some suggestions: “Avengers: Endgame,” “Shazam!,” “Captain Marvel,” and “Dumbo”!

Go see a Broadway show

While this activity may seem a little too expensive for most college students, some great options for discounted tickets actually exist. Since most shows have lotteries and general rush tickets now, you can easily get good seats for under $45. So, sign up for some of the lotteries ahead of time, and, if you’re lucky enough to win, take a friend to go see one of the fantastic shows and musicals on Broadway right now. To learn more about specific prices and how the lotteries and general rush tickets work for each show, click here.

Visit the New York Public Library

Taking hours off from studying can understandably feel like too much time during finals week. One way to get around this is by going to the New York Public Library. If you don’t have time to go to the movies or visit a park, you can work at the New York Public Library versus at Butler or Milstein. You’ll be getting a much-needed break from the campus finals atmosphere, as well as a change of scenery.

New York City Ballet $30 for 30

For those who like going to the ballet, it is a great and easy option for a finals study break. You can head down to Lincoln Center the day of and get a $30 ticket to see the New York City Ballet perform one of its spring season programs. You can click here to learn more about NYCB’s $30 for 30 program. Also, if you have enough time, you could even grab some food before or after the performance at places nearby, such as Whole Foods and Magnolia Bakery.


While definitely a little further away from campus, Smorgasburg is still a great place to visit, especially when the weather is nice outside. It is a food festival held Fridays at the World Trade Center from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays in Williamsburg from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays in Prospect Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are delicious food options, from fancy ice cream to lobster rolls and even sushi burgers that I’m sure you’ll be dying to try once you see them.

Spectrum staff writer Tian Griffin can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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