Author: Katie Martin


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Study breaks: I need one every 45 minutes or so, especially if I don’t have anything pressing to do. Then again, if I’m really working at something or studying hard for an exam, then I’m in my room with 2 or 3 double-shot espressos lined up and no breaks for the night (ah!). For all other run-of-the-mill work, you can find me in the library on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights, doing 50% work and 50%... study break.

Here’s my list of favorite break activities:

1. Goof around and distract everyone around me for 10-20 minutes, or just enough where my friends will still come to the library with me.

2. Watch YouTube videos in French with English subtitles. I’m trying to get used to hearing and understanding French since I’m going to Morocco this winter. It’s not working, but the videos are good and odd. 

3. Grab a healthy snack from ABP (Au Bon Pain).

4. Feel sad because I just paid six dollars for two grapes. (ABP is probably the most expensive eatery on campus.)

5. Look through class search and figure out what classes I’m taking next semester. A piano lesson? French? History of Chinese Medicine?

Seriously, though, History of Chinese Medicine? That's so ridiculously specific and seemingly irrelevant to anything that I'll ever need to know in life that I just have to take it. Here’s the class description for it if you need to know more:

In light of the contemporary currency of certain Chinese practices in the field of alternative medicine, this course will explore the phenomenon of Chinese traditional medicine in both its historical and contemporary settings. The first unit, Medicine in Ancient China, will explore the earliest medical ideas of the Chinese and will demonstrate how the state's political unification gave rise to a correlative cosmology that not only included Heaven and Earth, but also human beings as integral elements of an organic cosmos. The second unit will explore the influences and contributions of Taoism (Daoism) and Buddhism to Chinese medicine and will explore what it meant to be both physicians and patients in late imperial China. The third unit will focus on medicine in contemporary China and will feature the experiences of Elisabeth Hsu, a student of Chinese medical anthropology who, as a part of her doctoral research, enrolled as a student in Yunnan Traditional Chinese Medical College between September 1988 and December 1989. We will conclude the course with a brief examination of the influence of Chinese medicine on the contemporary world. 

6. Go to LaFun and buy a quarter dog at midnight. I get these a lot because I’m on a budget and I’ve never Googled what’s in a 25 cent hotdog.

7.   At one point, I looked up and then listened to Bach’s most famous masterpieces. I think I just want to be able to recognize classical pieces at fancy restaurants, the dentist's office, etc., and smugly tell everyone around me that I know what’s playing. That'd be the good life.

8. Reddit.

9. Shop for a new scarf - preferably a wool scarf considering the upcoming winter is going to be a bad one. Ugh, just thinking about it makes me want to wrap myself in wool and install a fireplace in my 8x10 sq. ft. dorm room. On the bright side, I’m doing the fair trade thing that benefits women and their communities – either buying from Global Girlfriend or Krochet Kids.

10. Write numbered lists like this one, for example.

Alright so that it's - that's the truth. I may be in the library for five hours, but I'm not hating my life because I find ways to stay off-task and be entertained. I find that if I don't give myself a break every once in awhile then studying or working becomes a terrible thing. Then, I tend to put it off or avoid it altogether. Everyone's different, though, so if you're the type to just power through, then go you, get after it. As for me, I'll continue to use my study breaks effectively - or, for as long as it still works for me.