Author: Jacky Falkenberg

Between classes, prelims, and extra-curricular activities, there’s barely any room to breath. The reality is that the life of a college student is truly exhausting; the good news is we are all going through it. It’s important to take a little time out of your life, even if it’s only an hour a day, to destress from your busy schedule and do something that truly makes you happy. However, finding time to relax doesn’t have to feel like procrastination, and it should never, ever feel like a chore. Taking a break should be a way to revitalize and clear your mind so you can tackle your next project with a much better attitude. After all, your most important asset is yourself -and if you can’t treat yourself well, how can you expect to accomplish anything to the best of your abilities?

Luckily, Ithaca is one of the best places to unwind. From its cute cafes to its acres of beautiful foliage, every corner of this town seems to emulate that relaxing “Bon Iver” feeling. If you’re new to Ithaca or simply want to try a new way to clear your mind, here are some of my favorite ideas:


1. Go For a Hike Around the Gorges

As the saying goes, “Ithaca is Gorges!” With its much esteemed waterscapes, Ithaca has more than enough to offer in terms of scenery. What better way to destress than enjoy the outdoors and feel the fresh spray of water from the falls. My favorite destination is the Taughannock Falls, but every gorge is just as beautiful as the next when it comes to Ithaca.

2. Drink some Kava from the Kava Bar

Having opened for business in Ithaca last May, the Mystic Water Kava Bar in the commons is fairly new, but it holds the key to relaxation. Kava is a tea made from a root grown in the South Pacific Ocean that possesses true healing powers. One cup is said to relieve anxiety, relax the body, and decrease stress. For me, the effects of the tea were felt almost immediately after consumption. They even feature a flavored Kava shot in addition to their plain option. If that isn’t enough to sell you on the idea, the location itself is very peaceful and offers yoga and drumming classes.

3. Get a Massage On Campus

One of the most underrated facts about Cornell is that you can bursar massage services through Gannett. That’s right, all you need is $60, 60 minutes, and an appointment, and you can receive your very own massage therapy right on campus. While it may not be the most financially feasible way to destress every day, it makes for a great post-prelim treat.

4. Explore the Plantations

If you’re looking for something to do on your own, exploring the plantations is a great option. The gardens are open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset, and admission is completely free. I highly recommend bringing a camera or a good book to enjoy when you find a particularly beautiful spot around the grounds. The park even offers a variety of tours, exhibits, and educational programs to check out.

5. Visit the Animals at Cornell’s Teaching Barn

Located past the parking lot behind Morrison Hall, the Teaching and Research barns house arguably your biggest advocates in stress-relief. From pigs to chickens to cows, the animals at the barn are always willing to put a smile on your face with their antics. Head up to the barn when class isn’t in session, and you’ll feel the weight of school lift off your shoulders the moment you step in the cozy building.