Taking Time to Relax at Smith College: A Challenge for Smithies

There is a certain intensity that comes with being a student at Smith College. Heavy workloads, constant deadlines and to-do lists, plus endless meetings for extracurricular activities can all take a toll on the average student. There is, however, an extra layer of intensity added by the passionate and ambitious student body. While it is inspiring to be surrounded by such dedicated students, noted for their intellectual rigor and achievements, there can be a downside.

When everyone else is constantly racing on overload to do the most—to get the best grades, to apply to the best internship, to take on as many leadership positions as possible—slowing down and relaxing takes a backseat. Even the society we live in fosters the need to always be on the move, plugged in, working more, striving more, constantly on. What’s a Smithie to do?

From completing school assignments to the dependence on technology, the simple act of being alone with your thoughts is almost a radical proposition. Though it can often seem as if there is always something to do, finding brief moments to simply sit and recharge from a hectic day is essential for the well-being of any Smithie. Simply enjoying the walk from the Quad to Seelye Hall, stopping by the Botanical Gardens, or observing the changing leaves can allow your mind to slow down by concentrating on the present moment. Being in nature, exploring downtown Northampton, curling up with a good book, or just jotting down your thoughts are all ways to relax and decompress.

Smithies: I challenge you to turn off your technological appliances for at least one hour a day and simply focus on what is around you: your thoughts, your breathing, where you are, what you see. Try a relaxing activity that takes your mind off your workload, be it going to a zumba class or having dinner in town with friends. Taking time to recharge provides perspective on how you are best using your energy. Making sure to have fun, to socialize and exercise, to relax and laugh, and to get off Facebook every now and then will make you feel both happier and healthy. At the end of the day, treating yourself with kindness and patience is the most important thing you can do. Best of luck, Smithies—keep calm and carry on!

Author: Nora Turriago, ‘16

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