The many benefits of an outdoor study break

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November 7, 2016

11:17 PM

This past Sunday, a few friends and I headed to the Matoaka Boathouse to enjoy the latest in a series of unseasonably warm days on the lake. The sun was bright, the breeze gentle and the water bracing (very cold), but one important resource was unavailable: the boats. Citing the start of the winter season, the boathouse closed up shop this semester one day earlier than they anticipated, and my outing changed from a nautical survey of the shoreline to a catnap on the dock.

As I lay there, dozing in the sweltering post-Halloween heat, I thought about what certain people at the College of William and Mary should be doing, and about how exactly I could frame my thoughts in such a way that would make those people realize that in this instance, just as in all others, I am absolutely, irreproachably, 100 percent correct.

The College is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful universities in the country, but the most popular spots on campus tend to be those that get students farthest away from natural light.

But far be it from me to take issue the men and women who work so hard to give students the privilege of boating on the lake, my advice is actually for you, the reader, and I can express it in just two words: go outside. The College is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful universities in the country, but the most popular spots on campus tend to be those that get students farthest away from natural light. The sad truth is that on a picturesque Saturday morning, you are far more likely to spend time with friends at the library than at Lake Matoaka, the ten miles of trails around it or the Wildflower Refuge (which supports not just three but four different kinds of Trillium).

Asking students why exactly they are inside on these golden days will likely prompt them to puff out their chest, inhale deeply, and explain that they are, quite literally, the most stressed and hardest working person in the entire world, and that, as such, they have certain responsibilities that they have to fulfill; responsibilities that include but are not limited to locking themselves in a cold, dark room for four hours to begin their International Political Economy project that is due in just five short weeks. And they are partly right: working hard is the reason we are here, but there are also studies from countless universities around the country that tell us that relaxation and exercise improve brain function when compared to study alone.

So take a walk, throw a football, or find out what an eddy line is and then kayak through it. I, the faceless writer who is in no way responsible for whatever damage may come of my suggestion, promise you that the homework will still be there when you come back.

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  • Jonathan Castellucci