The Final Stretch: Surviving the End of the Semester

As the first semester hurtles towards the end with Thanksgiving Break offering a small respite before finals, it’s important to make sure you don’t burn yourself out before the holidays. With the cold seeping in and that restlessness that comes with the end being so close, it’s easy to fall into a slump and not want to leave bed at all. The constant Christmas music I’m hearing on the daily definitely doesn’t help me find the motivation to get through these final weeks (I’m a firm believer that Christmas music has no business being played until after Thanksgiving at least, thank you very much). 

Me during my 8am classes this past week:

To break up the routine a bit, here are some places to check out while you prepare (or put off preparing) for pre-Thanksgiving tests and finals. Note: These are all places I’ve been to in my own procrastination journeys.

Jenni Bick DC

If you’re a stationary fan like me, this cute store on Connecticut Avenue is absolutely wonderful. I could’ve spent at least an hour looking through the different leather journals and sampling pens. The store is pretty small but that doesn’t translate to its variety of products! Maybe you’ll even find a potential Christmas gift for somebody (or yourself)! They even sell my absolute favorite highlighters that I have yet to see in other stores - Zebra Mildliner Highlighters. The leather journals do tend to be on the pricier side, but there are plenty of cheaper options for the poor collegiette. 

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe

When I walked into this store for the first time, I swear I felt tears prickling in my eyes. This bookstore has a cozy atmosphere and a HUGE variety of books any bibliophile would admire. The past few times I’ve been in here, it was a bit hard to get around since there was a bit of a crowd, but with a few apologies and maneuvering, I was able to find a few poetry books I’ve been meaning to buy for a while - Rupi Kaur’s milk & honey, the sun and her flowers, and Sarah Kay’s No Matter the Wreckage, if you want to check them out. I have yet to visit the cafe, but judging by the always full tables, I’m assuming the coffee and treats are pretty good! 

Me internally upon entering Kramerbooks:

Second Story Books

As soon as you enter this small store crammed with books, you’re immediately hit with the comforting smell of old books. It makes sense considering this is a used book store, but don’t let the books’ ages deter you. There are some incredibly interesting finds if you have a keen eye for these things. I don’t have much patience though, so I was content simply walking through the shelves and seeing rare books on obscure topics. Maybe you’ll even find some resources for that research paper you have coming up? The store’s exterior also has several boxes full of books that are priced anywhere from $1-5 if you’re looking for a last minute present for some twice-removed cousin you’ll see over Thanksgiving Break. 

Bourbon Coffee

Of course, I had to include a coffee shop as a safe haven and escape from campus. I came here once to work on a paper due the following day, and the Dark Chocolate Mocha I ordered helped me work my way through charts looking at Chile’s demographics during the 70s. The seating is pretty comfy, and there is free Wi-Fi (albeit a password is needed). I’ve been looking for my next opportunity to go drink some coffee and listen to the cashiers chat with customers. You can also buy coffee beans from the store, so there’s a gift opportunity for the coffee lovers in your life. It was a bit further from campus than I would’ve liked, but the trek over served as a nice break.

Kafe Leopold (+ Konditorei)

Even though this Austrian kafe is a bit on the pricier side, the great style, atmosphere, and delicious desserts and coffee more than make up for it. Of course, Kafe Leopold also offers brunch, lunch, and dinner options, but my sweet tooth automatically gravitates toward the dessert menu. It’s a great place to go either by yourself to relax or with friends to chat while eating a slice of sachertorte and drinking a coffee topped with homemade cream and chocolate shavings.



Ok, so this place is actually a workplace to get actual studying done. I walked in by chance since it looked like an interesting place, and the receptionist was quick to greet me and explain the whole system while giving me a tour. I was totally on board with this concept of a public workplace with quiet rooms, free Wi-Fi, free snacks and beverages, until I realized paid membership is necessary. I did a free trial visit since I was already there and didn’t want to go back into the cold. I was super productive and finished a lot more work than I thought I would, sitting among strangers in silence (I forgot my headphones, unfortunately). Maybe it was the hardworking vibes everyone was giving off, but I left feeling satisfied with everything I finished while there. If you’re like me and don’t want to pay for memberships to places, I highly recommend you come here just once for the free trial on a day you’re swamped with work. Who knows, maybe you’ll even end up choosing a membership plan? Either way, make sure to take advantage of the free snacks and beverages during your stay!

Now go out there and power through the final stretch!