Guys, it’s almost Spring Break. I cannot tell you how ready I am for it to come since grad school can be stressful. It’s a lot of readings, group projects, sometimes even service learning. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all worth it. But it is so, so important to balance school with fun. As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” So for this post, I’m going to list some of the things I do to blow off some steam when my brain feels like it can’t process any more applied linguistics.
Hitting the Gym
To quote Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” I spend about an hour walking to and from school on the days that I have class, but on the days that I don’t, I find myself getting restless. So I joined the YMCA in my neighborhood.
For me, I have to live close to the gym or I won’t go. It’s good to know yourself in that regard, right? If I lived closer to campus, I would join the gym at school. It’s quite convenient for GSE students since it is literally across the street. Quite a few of my friends are members there and they like it. Word to the wise – gym membership is not included in your tuition, so you have to pay extra to join.
Exploring Philly’s Food Scene
Philly has a pretty solid food scene. I’ve been having fun trying out different restaurants across the city with my husband and my friends. Some of my favorite include Zahav, Sidecar (their cheesy grits are to DIE for), The Cambridge, TRIA, Dock Street Brewery, Ramen Bar, and White Dog Cafe. I could keep going, but we’d be old and grey but the time I finished my list.
Some of my non-GSE friends invited me to a book club that meets once a month. A lot of people are kind of in awe that I can stand to read more on top of what I have to read for class, but I find it really therapeutic. I have to read something before I fall asleep, and it’s nice to have something to read that is not related to school. So far we have read The Martian, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and up next is Americanah. Although I linked to Amazon for all those books, I have been checking them out from the Free Library of Philadelphia. I have found that novels that I like to read for fun are easier to get from the Free Library rather than Van Pelt on campus. Fun fact: if you live, work, pay taxes, or go to school in Philly, you can get a free library card. So hit that up!
Cookbook Book Club
As I mentioned earlier, I like to eat. So a few of my GSE friends and I have started a Cookbook Book Club. It’s awesome. Once a month, we pick a cookbook and all cook different recipes out of it. So far, we have only had two meetings, but they have been a great success! Not only is it a great way to try out new food, but we also get to blow off steam through cooking/baking and have some fun that is not centered around school.
I don’t know where I’d be without moving streaming sites. They are so great for when I feel like vegging out on the sofa with my dog. The other side to that is that you can get sucked into series at the worst times. Last semester, I spent a day binging on Jessica Jones instead of reading for class. Not my wisest move, but oh well. I tend to flip back and forth between Netflix and Amazon. They seem to complement each other nicely since there are shows you can find on one and not the other.
PROTIP: did you know that if you are a student, you can get a discount on your Amazon Prime membership?
Weekend Trips to Visit Friends
Confession time: I actually started my Spring Break a little early. I’m in New York visiting a friend of mine right now. Before you start to judge, I’m done with classes so it’s totally cool that I left.
One of the many awesome things about Philly is that it is so centrally located to many other cities on the east coast. Here’s how long it takes to get to each of these cities from West Philly:
- Baltimore: About an hour and forty-five minutes
- New York: About two hours
- D.C.: About two and a half hours
Now, I’m off to enjoy the City that Never Sleeps!