Its that time of year again where assignments are piling up, coffee intake is increasing by the day, and time seems to be slipping away. Because of back to back midterms and numerous essays coming up, my stress levels are at an all-time high. If you cannot relate, you must not be a university student.
The other day I noticed how negative and gloomy the atmosphere gets around this time of year—and it isn’t the weather because that has been amazing so far. Everyone around me seems to be saying the same thing, “I have to stay up all night to study for this exam…. I’m so stressed out…. can’t wait for this semester to end and it just began!”
Now, to me something about this mood we get into just doesn’t seem right—nor is it healthy. I noticed how down I was getting and decided just to stop working for a couple of hours and just take a much-needed break. Not a fake break where, although I’m not studying, I’m still stressing about my assignments at the back of my mind.
In a city like Toronto, where day to day life is so busy, and the city is constantly alive, it gets overwhelming to always be at the centre of it. However, our beautiful campus has many quiet areas where one can find solitude. Solitude was something I desperately needed over the past few days. I decided to let myself wander and explore campus.
Walking is like therapy for me. A good walk can change my mood, helps me take some calming breaths, and just take in the beauty around me. In our hurry to get to class or another study session or to get to work on time, we often forget to take in our surroundings and genuinely appreciate them. Our campus is stunning, especially during October, but we usually take it for granted.
For that one hour, I let myself do whatever it was I felt at the moment. I started by walking through the Queens Park and admired the beauty of the changing leaves, then made my way to the quiet Victoria College area. I usually don’t explore this part of campus, so it was nice to discover its charming scenery. For that hour, I just walked without direction, and then sat on a bench for as long as possible just taking in my surroundings, which I had failed to observe in my years at University.
All this while, I just listened to some calming music and was able to shut off my thoughts entirely. I didn’t respond to any texts or calls, and honestly, it was great. I was able to return home afterward and in a much better mood with a sudden boost of energy. I think it is so important to take breaks like this one for your well-being. I definitely plan on taking advantage of our beautiful campus more often and go on one more of these unprompted nature walks!