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How to Romanticize Your Life in the Fall (College Student Edition)

When Sept. 1 rolls around, do you ever experience an unidentifiable sense of sadness as you try to devour every last taste of the season that once was? Or do you feel an indistinctive pressure to “make the most” of your fall season before the deathly temperature of winter rolls around?

Once you finally acknowledge summer’s departure, ’til next year, you assure yourself, “It’s okay that the temperature is dropping, it’s okay that the green, luscious leaves will now turn bare for six months.”

It’s almost inevitable to be even the slightest bit dispirited when fall arrives because of the underlying consciousness that your fast-paced life is picking back up again, leaving you no other choice but to kiss those carefree, salty, and sunny days full of Birkenstocks and soft-serve ice cream goodbye. Especially now, we are all back to college after either a few months or a year and a half, depending on your COVID-19 experience. Drastic sensations overwhelm you as all of your responsibilities hit at once. It can be difficult to find the motivation to even remember how to romanticize your life in the fall. Here is my guide to enjoying the new season, guilt-free.

go on a hike in the peak of FOLIAGE

Exercise is healthy and medically proven to boost your happiness hormones. According to Mayo Clinic, “physical activity may help bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.” Personally, I have never been a big hiker and used to dread when my parents made me go. Just something about a continuous walk and not knowing exactly how much longer until you were back where you started would make me want to stay home. However, I discovered this summer that being away from people, projects, and stress and instead, indulging yourself in nature can cure any summertime sadness you have. To enhance your experience, plug a podcast in or listen to acoustic, raw songs that scream fall. I suggest The Lumineers. Make a playlist that draws you back to fall vibes every time. Maybe your excuse for not wanting to hike would be that you don’t have access to a car in your college town, so definitely look into alternative transit options!

Start Gilmore girls

Okay, I’ll admit, I’ve never even started Gilmore Girls myself, BUT I’ve heard nothing but great reviews of how it’s the most warming, cozy, feel-good show you could ever put on your TV. I love when shows are able to capsulate a specific type of aesthetic that makes me only want to watch it at the time of year that matches that aesthetic. Let’s make Gilmore Girls our fall show together! To enhance this experience, grab a cup of hot chocolate that you can make in your dorm’s Keurig (or even from the dining hall), and dim the lights in your room or wait for a gloomy day to really capture the vibe.

Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham in gilmore girls
Saeed Adyani/Netflix
Take a day trip to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch

We live in the farm town of Amherst. There’s no excuse for this one. To me, nothing will transition you into the fall groove more than harvest season. I grew up a mile from a huge orchard that really blossomed in business the past eight years. As the location is in the Hudson Valley, everyone from New York City flees upstate to enjoy the live music, wine tasting, hayrides, and facepaint activities that farms offer. Pick your stash of apples and make apple pie in your residence hall’s kitchen (if measures allow) or carve your picked pumpkin as jack-o-lantern dorm decor. To enhance this experience, go with your friends, get a PSL with pumpkin cream cold foam at Starbucks on your way, and wear your comfiest red flannel.

Go all out for your Halloween costume this year

My biggest regret of last year is not dressing up. I thought, “I have no friends to go out with, I’m too old to trick or treat, I wasn’t really invited anywhere,” etc. This year, I’m not going to let those internalized thoughts take over my holiday, and either should you. I understand that in college, it’s hard to find a solidified group of friends, especially within the first semester. Give that process some time. Say “hi” to a friendly face, or Snapchat that girl you haven’t talked to in a year and ask to get lunch. Trust me, I was in that position. To enhance this experience, look up group costumes on Pinterest, or if you’re riding solo, take a trip to a craft store and get all your needs to deck yourself out all day and who knows, maybe you’ll meet some new friends in the process.

go to spirit Halloween or a haunted house

Once again, there is no excuse for this one because there is a Spirit Halloween store right in Hadley, Massachusetts (located on 335 Russell St, according to Google Maps). These pop-up shops symbolize the holiday for me. Honestly, depending on how easily you get scared, these stores can act as a haunted house already. If you have a vehicle, try searching for a haunted house to spend the night. My favorite in New York is Headless Horseman Hayrides in Ulster County; something about the intricate details that make every room feel like you’re in a movie set of an eerie horror film will snap the summer right out of you. Go with your friends on a Friday night and take in the fall. To enhance this experience, watch Nightmare Before Christmas or Hocus Pocus afterward with a bag of kettle corn that you purchased at the haunted house.

Well, this is my master list of how to get out of your fall funk. Remember to take a deep breath, surround yourself with people that help make fall a little more enjoyable. Hopefully, you can find a new perspective or hobby from this. Happy fall!

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Rachael Dionisio

U Mass Amherst '24

Rachael is a freshman Communication/Marketing major at UMass Amherst. She aspires to work in the media after graduation and loves working out, chai lattes and shopping.
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