Plan your spring acivities now

By Sarah Contreras

Winter is ending, and it is time to celebrate.

With the fading of winter usually comes a feeling of restlessness.

The cold, snow and icy rain keep most people cooped up for a few months–why go outside when it is so nice and dry inside? Now, at the end of February, fierce weather is starting to reign and the sun is making an occasional appearance. “Hurrah!” says the NIU student body. “Time to stretch our legs!”

If you’re looking for a way to shake off the winter blahs and gear up for spring, this column is for you.

Start a book club

The typical homework load for a student doesn’t leave a lot of room for recreational reading. But if you’ve had your eye on a certain book or two, why not rally other readers and start a book discussion club?

Post notices around your dorm, or send out a Facebook invite–a book club is a fun way to meet new, like-minded people or even reconnect with friends you don’t always get to hang with. Set a reasonable reading goal so as not to add stress to your school week. Figure out a time to meet, keep your meetings timely and voilà! You’ve got a nice way to destress.

Tip: Have your book club meet somewhere other than your home or dorm room. A coffee shop or diner is a nice place to discuss literature, and it will get you out of your house once a week.

Take a trip

Pile your friends into a car and head north or south, east or west.

Chicago and Madison are close enough for a day trip, while Starved Rock State Park and the Wisconsin Dells are prime for an overnight camping/hotel stay. These trips don’t have to break the bank: car rentals for trips under 100 miles a day are available for $9 through Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and the Internet is full of information on how to enjoy cities on the cheap. Camping is available across the state and campsites are usually under $20. Skiing and snowboarding are also close by. All a fun trip takes is a little research and some mindful budgeting.

Start a new hobby

Does this even need explaining?

Take up jogging or yoga, learn to French braid or play an instrument. Learn to knit, whistle or brush up on your foreign language skills. Start a new book or television series. Rearrange your bedroom or teach yourself how to waltz. Watch YouTube makeup tutorials, scrapbook your college memories, read a book about native Illinois birds. The possibilities are endless, and your new hobby will prove to be both relaxing and healthy for your brain. Also, you should maybe learn to cook.

Get a makeover

So you don’t have time to go anywhere or read a new book. What do you do? Treat yo self!

You can add a little change to your everyday by switching up your style. Buy an adventurous new outfit, get an out-there manicure or cut your hair. Trade your usual glasses for contacts, or even just a new kind of frame. Switch your backpack for a messenger bag or dare yourself to wear a new tie every day. Your change doesn’t need to be drastic, like a dramatic haircut. It just needs to be enough to make everyday feel new.