It’s time to plan your fall break, y’all! Okay, maybe that didn’t sound as exciting as I wanted it to. You see, fall is my favorite season. It’s a weird mix of nostalgia and hopefulness, coziness and wanderlust, warmth and chill – and exquisite blend. I get it, the weather is not very inviting for hanging out around the pools for most parts, and it’s hardly enough time for extended trips or even for a journey back home for some of us.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something special and memorable during the fall break. That is why today, I will share with you my personal top-10 activities for this magical time of the year.
Put on that jersey and get outdoorsy
Hike, bike, go camping – this is the best season for it. The air is cooler, and there are fewer tourists around. Less pestering insects. The colors are splendid, and the campfire is exceptionally inviting in the evening – not only for roasting s’mores but simply for warmth. If it’s too cold or wet for that where you study, think of renting a cabin for a couple of days. The costs split around a company of friends make it a very budget-friendly endeavor.
Capture fall mood in a photoshoot
Say what you will, but fall is the most photogenic season of them all. The foliage, the sky, the sunlight, the clouds – everything has an artistic, watercolor quality to it. The light is not as harsh and unforgiving as in the summer, yet not as cold and somber as in the winter. The fallen leaves on the ground act as mother nature’s softbox diffusor and warm filter, making your skin tone even and glowing. It’s a perfect time perfect for flattering portraits. Grab an oversized knitted scarf and a funky hat to complete your iconic autumnal look.
Knit and pearls for boys and girls
Let’s not forget that break’s primary function is to give you some time to unwind and let go. Dr. Kristin Neff from the University of Texas at Austin explains: “When we rest, we think we’re supposed to use that time productively with problem solving. That may be good for survival [but] … not very good for happiness.” In other words, you need to space the periods of intense intellectual activity with something more relaxed if you want to stay sane and happy.
Crafts are perfect for that! They are somewhat repetitive, which means they calm anxiety and prompt a flow state. Plus, a finished project gives you a satisfying feeling of accomplishment – with a tangible result. I have always found knitting to be the most meditative of all crafts. Knit and peal, knit and pearl – it’s almost a mantra!
Pumpkin everything is coming
This is inevitable anyway, so we might as well embrace it and have fun with that. Support a local farmer by visiting a pumpkin patch, host a pumpkin carving party, bake a pumpkin pie or cook a pumpkin soup. The recipes for those delightful seasonal treats are surprisingly easy and often take like 15 minutes to make (okay, maybe 30).
By the way, are you a sweet-pumpkin person or a savory-pumpkin person? I have always thought that pumpkin is at its best in savory dishes like soup and savory pies. Yet my best friend thinks that savory pumpkin is an atrocity and its place is exclusively in sugary muffins and desserts. Which side are you on?
Get ahead Hermione-style
Okay, this might not be the actual fun, but that’s definitely investing your time wisely. Fall break is a great time to get ahead on your writing assignments or catch up on the long-term projects due at the end of the semester. Sort through your deadline calendar and see if you are on track to accomplishing what you have planned. It’s better to take care of any potential academic deficiencies now than frantically search paper writers for hire right before Christmas. If you want your future self to have an easier time at the end of the year, spend this fall break as Hermione Granger would.
Marie Kondo your room
Fall cleaning might not be as popular as spring cleaning, but Harvest marks the end of the year in many cultures. It is an appropriate time to take stock, reflect on the year behind you, and put your possessions in order. Get rid of the stacks of paper on your desk and arrange things in your closet to prepare for the dropping temperatures ahead. Play your favorite music and experiment paring things up for new outfits in front of the mirror. Maybe some hopeless items can get another chance in your wardrobe. If not – sort them out and donate to charity.
Go on a fall-break cultural trip
If your budget allows it, a trip is a perfect way to spend this long weekend, free your mind from the routine, and return to studies refreshed and alert. You don’t have to travel far. Chicago, Lake Tahoe, Key West, Nashville, Portland – there are perfect fall-break destinations in every state. If you live on a rural or suburban campus, explore the nearest big city. Cultural life resumes in the autumn with all the music festivals, theater season openings, and new exhibitions in art galleries – take this chance to enjoy local cultural life.
Host a fall-themed party
If this is your freshman year, fall break is a great opportunity to socialize and make new friends. Themed parties rock! If you don’t want to wait for Halloween, you can organize your own fall party. Costumed Murder Mystery, Oktoberfest, Harvest, Backyard Campfire, Friendsgiving, Wreath-Making, Apple-Pie Bake Off – there is a wealth of ideas for any weather and company size.
Get serious about your Halloween costume
Are you one of those people who are always too lazy to prepare a great Halloween costume? Yet feel a twinge of envy every time someone else dons an elaborate outfit with make-up, hairstyle, and accessories to match? Maybe it is finally time to be that stunning done-up person? Invest your fall break into brainstorming, researching, sewing, and crafting. Make the upcoming spooky night your Cinderella moment.
There’s no time like me-time
If the first half-semester was tense, just relax. Don’t rush anywhere, don’t try to cram a month-worth of activities into a couple of days. Just do something that brings you joy. Go window-shopping or thrifting. Spend a spa day at home with bath salts, scented candles, and favorite playlists. Curl up with a book you love or watch a movie from your guilty-pleasure list. According to Robin Nabi, a professor of communication at the University of California, enjoying something that doesn’t require intense intellectual work can improve our ability to deal with stress and engage positively with other people. So don’t feel bad about binge-wanting “Love Island” – it does contribute to your mental health. Really.
Whichever option you choose – do it wholeheartedly. Go and create some memories. Everything that happens in the fall stays in the fall – forever, preserved in an amber glow of slanting sunbeams.