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MIT student blogger Connie H. '15

Fifty Shades of Break by Connie H. '15

or things to do other than pressing F5

It’s that time of the year where everything winds down and you might have little control over how things turn out.

It’s rough.

More and more towards the end of high school, my friends and I would religiously check the results of a semester, year, or life’s worth of effort. It boiled down to a desperate attempt to see an online grade, a college decision, or how many likes our Facebook profile pictures were getting. At the end of it all, we were usually left with a mixed bag of news (it turns out I am incredibly unphotogenic).

photo credits to Ryan Lau

Blurred for your own safety. (Just kidding, my boyfriend doesn’t know how to use my camera.)

And although I had a lot of fun sitting with some of my closest friends around town at odd hours, it was hard for anyone to come out of that situation with purely good feelings.

I don’t regret the fretting — but if I had the chance to take all the time I spent fidgeting, being anxious, overloading servers and stress eating Doritos, I would’ve done something else with it. And at this point in your year (assuming that you’re a high school senior and you never again want to figure out how to condense your life into 100 words or less), I’m assuming you’re exhausted. I was.

So I suggest two courses of action in no particular order:

1)   Find a project that you are really passionate about and think about how you’ll start it during winter break. Plan on seeing it through next semester and hopefully into the summer. Find an area in the community you really care about, try to build an operating system, cure cancer, practice slam poetry, etc. But find something you really love, even if it’s something you’ve never tried before. It’s an amazing time to get a head start on something that you might be able to continue into the next year.
2)   Expose yourself to new ideas, places and things.

I don’t know how well I can help you with number one, but I have a place to start for number two.


Here are 50 Shades of Break. This is a collection of the favorite study breaks of our very own bloggers — some funny, some thoughtful, some beautiful and some a little crazy.

I encourage you to try them all. To laugh, learn, and maybe discover a new interest or two.

1) Question the state of humanity at
2) Embrace your inner hipster by listening to music your friends have never heard of at
3) Read some entertaining but mostly obnoxious pieces at
4) Spend all your money on tasteful handmade things at
5) Admire gorgeous design at

6) Play Winterbells
7) Relax with a night of Zombocom
8) Watch Dozens of Five Second Films
9) Earn some Achievements on codeacademy
10) Learn a new language (of the programming variety) by doing Euler Problems

11) Writing (currently: spamming the MIT admissions site)
12) Singing loudly to, Disney music (currently: the Prince of Egypt soundtrack. more specifically, this song, this song, and this song)
13) Going for a long walk with a close friend who doesn’t share the same stressor (I used to underestimate the importance of that last part.)
14) Playing Ultimate Frisbee, or badminton.
15) Watching these kittens (which used to mean tuning into a live stream, but now means rewatching old parts of the feed, since they were all adopted.)

16) Going on pinterest and finding noms that I want to bake for people
17) Find ways to divert all the sugar into cups (
18) Making all the dots as small as possible and finding a cute animal in the process (
19) Stepping away from my laptop to walk around and take photos. Sharing them with other people online is definitely the best part though (:
20) Do something randomly nice for someone you haven’t hung out with in a long time.

Emad (who suggested the brilliant title for this post)
21) Going through Epicurious and just finding something to cook one day / weekend
22) Dr. McNinja (my spirit animal, in certain ways; he’s a doctor who’s also a ninja, )
23) 5 second films! So many of these films would probably cause my extended, rather traditional family to judge me hardcore. This recent, good one probably wouldn’t, though!
24) Catching up with people over Chipotle, Trident, or some other combination of good food
25) And since I’m struggling to come up with just five things, readingwritingrhymingarmchairphilosophizingNetflix.

26) Telling people that I have shark teeth, nodding in response to their disbelief, showing them my shark teeth, and watching their reaction. (The best ones come from kids. lol)
27) Pondering about life. Asking myself why I do the things I do. Taking walks across the bridge at night while periodically squinting my eyes at the river (because when you do that and there’s lots of colored lights in Boston, it looks magical.) AND Writing poetry about it all. Possibly gushy, but very to-the-core. If there’s any methodology to my being happy, it’s this.
28) Baking things for people! (past experience includes glass-sprinkled brownies due to thermal shock), Flailing/jumping & fanning alarms every time I forget I had something on the stove. I also like restaurants. a lot. *sheepish grin*
29) Being sore from running after a long time of not running.
30) Talking to strangers at the Cambridge Galleria. (I’ve only done this once, with a friend. It was awesome! I asked all kinds of people what superpower they’d want to have. Responses included everything from ending poverty, to having all of the candy that exists in the world and not sharing with anyone.)

Elizabeth (shared more than her top 5 and ruined everything just kidding we love her)
32) and and
34) Always.
35) Science
a. Hilarious sports gifs, mainly supplied by Buzzfeed
b. Farting around with people who very strangely put up with me. Occasionally this involves a social outing. More often than not, it just involves Nerf Guns or me doing very obnoxious things like blasting Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy” repeatedly because it’s my finals jam (sorry I’m not sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and I am a bad friend.
c. Reading, but rarely fiction because I am soulless.
d. Playing music, but mostly listening to and watching musicians who are much better than me.
e. I really like making people laugh. Like, I REALLY like making people laugh. I really like watching people laugh. It makes me laugh, which is also something I enjoy a lot. I have a problem. This is why I have no dignity. Welp.
f. Sometimes I like cooking, but I like eating better.
g. Momming out and reminding people to make good life decisions.
h. Putting off writing lab reports by e-mailing nifty people.
i. Making listz
j. Listening to Liszt
k. Help me
l. I can’t
m. Stop

36) Go for a run along the river (Until 5 weeks ago when I ran too much and got a stress fracture in my foot :/ )
37) Cuddle with a cat
38) Listen to music and find new music (Yay spotify!)
39) Find people on hall/in the dorm who are doing something exciting (climbing, building, watching movies, eating free food, finding free food, getting things posted on reuse first, baking, doing science, having spontaneous dance parties, having neon chalk wars, singing, cuddling cats, etc.)
40) Bake/cook something awesome for hall

Chris Peterson
41) Rock Climbing
42) Cards Against Humanity
43) Wandering around IKEA
45) Improvisational Cookery

46) This American Life and The Moth podcasts
48) Climbing on furniture and pretending the floor is lava
49) Bananagrams

And finally,

50) Do these with your friends. And document it, preferably with embarrassing cell phone pictures and a facebook status.

Let us know how some of these adventures turn out for you. :)