Get outside!

by I.A. Isherwood

We are at the end of the semester. You can positively feel the tension as students rush to finish their finals. I remember, not overly fondly, the feeling that came with the race to the finish line.

For underclassmen, there is a scramble to 1) get things done 2) get things done well before departing for a summer internship or paying job. For seniors, there is the same motivation, except complicated by the emotions of leaving one phase of existence and moving off to another. The last few weeks of the year are hardly an envious time.

A few weeks ago, I gave some unsolicited advice to my WWI class about making the time for walking, preferably outside. We are fortunate to be surrounded by a battlefield that is stunningly beautiful and we are reasonably close to the AT and a number of state parks that have more rigorous hiking. The point is that it is healthy to get moving outside. Preferably with trees and nature and stuff.

So I gave my advice and there was a little head bobbing, a little shrugging, and then some talk about how they simply didn’t have the time to go for walk.

“You don’t have 90 minutes for a walk?”

“No” (collective)

Knowing some of their schedules, I don’t think most were exaggerating. Between class, homework, clubs, jobs, internships/fellowships, fitness center time, social media friend time, actual friend time, email, meals, worrying about future/fretting, etc., it is easy to see how their days go by frustratingly quickly and are exasperatedly full. It isn’t all ‘work’, but even something like social media both 1) sounds like work and 2) feels like work when you do it.

Anyway, the point of this anecdote is that I think it is really important to make time for non-academic/non-college activities to clear one’s head and give perspective to the work that you are actually supposed to be doing. Taking some time away from your desk actually makes you a better worker and improves your concentration. Changing your location and moving around a bit helps to manage stress and adds perspective. These are all good things.