Sometimes our schedules don’t come together exactly how we envision them. While we aren’t exactly thrilled to have four classes back-to-back, it can be equally as frustrating to have lengthy gaps with nothing to do. You may or may not have enough time to go home, but even if you do, is it really worth the effort? Unless you live in a dorm, leaving campus and coming back sounds like a nightmare of walking and struggling for parking spots upon your return.
So, here you find yourself in a tough spot – stuck on campus. How do you fill up the void in your schedule and make the best use of your free time? Assuming you aren’t crash studying or doing homework for your next class (in which case, shame on you), here are some ideas to recharge and prepare your brain to take on the rest of your day.
Take a good old fashioned snooze
You probably can’t remember the last time you had a full 8 hours of sleep on a school night. Staying up entirely too late to cram one more detail about underwater basket weaving (or whatever your major is) into your brain is a fairly regular occurrence, so napping is a favorite pastime of college students.
When you’re tired, your brain isn’t functioning at its full potential, and you may find yourself not being able to focus during class. Since you have a decent sized break between classes, you have a golden opportunity to rest up without running the risk of doing it during lecture. I’ll promise you something – you’ll look a lot cooler napping somewhere on campus rather than at your desk.
If you’re looking for a good place for some peace and quiet for your mid-day siesta, Freya Cartwright has broken down the best (and worst) places to nap on campus.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, naps will increase your alertness as soon as you wake up, and will keep you alert until later in the day. See what’s been done there? You’re having to stay up late anyways, so taking a nap will not only help you focus for your next class, but it’ll also help you later that night when studying! That’s definitely a life hack if I’ve ever heard one!
Get your game on!
Some lectures are bori- *cough, cough* I mean… not quite as invigorating as they USUALLY can be. Simple as that. I’m not going to call you a terrible student for agreeing with me, as we all know that sometimes instructors get together and decide to give boring lectures on the same day. Right, anyone? Those kind of days require something fun or stimulating to do in order to break up the monotony.
But where could you possibly find fun on campus, you ask? Look no further than MTSU’s Game Room, located in the Student Union! It features six pool tables, 2 ping pong tables, an air hockey tables, and 2 video game stations. Open all day for students (for free!), this is the perfect place to hang out with your friends and take your mind off of class for a moment. The Game Room hosts tournaments on a very frequent basis, so perhaps your class breaks are the perfect time to prepare for the next competition!
Needing to physically remove stress from your body? Head over to the Campus Recreation Center, where you can run, lift, or swim your cares away! A study conducted at North Carolina State University showed a direct correlation between increasing time spent exercising and GPA increases. When you work out, not only are you getting your body in shape, but you’re also training your brain! Working out presents the perfect opportunity to clear your mind and refocus in the middle of your day.
Scavenge for food and caffeine
I’m sure you had nothing but good intentions when you registered for that 8:00 AM. You figured that it would allow you more free time in the afternoons, but now that you’ve left that class, I can predict your next stop fairly easily. You’re going to the Student Union, the Library, the KUC, or a P.O.D.
Why those places, exactly? You’re looking for one thing and one thing only. Coffee. There’s a chance you’re in search of a snack, but caffeine is the backbone of modern-day college campuses. Whether it be from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or your favorite P.O.D., the key to making it through the rest of your day comes in the form of a liquid.
Of course, if you have a midday break, you can’t just skip lunch. Your first order of business should be checking the University Master Calendar for events intended for students. If you do a little research into what’s going on, there may be a free lunch waiting for you. Check out this Free Food Guide to get your journey to a free meal started.
If you’re willing to spend money on lunch, our campus has some terrific options to fuel your body for the rest of your day. Freya Cartwright once again comes through, sharing her Secrets to Campus Dining, found here.
Catch up on your favorite shows
Probably the most popular option among students, logging into Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Video is a great way to relax between classes. Your life is likely too hectic to watch TV after class, with studying, homework, and extracurriculars, so you can use this time to escape and get lost in the worlds of your favorite (fictional) characters.
Studies have shown that watching movies and TV shows can get your creative juices flowing and reduce stress, which is exactly what you need for the rest of the day. You can get a similar, stronger boost from reading books, but we are between classes, right? Our eyes need a break from looking at words! Just make sure you aren’t prioritizing the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company over your studies at Middle Tennessee State University.
Most of these tips can be applied at any time of the day, but capitalizing on free time on campus can truly make a difference in your life as a student. Find a routine that works for you, or don’t. Either way, try to stay stress-free and enthusiastic for whatever’s next on your agenda.