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Take a 24-Hour Road Trip and Give Your Brain a Break

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

It’s the perfect way to combat toxic productivity culture

As busy college students, we often feel like there’s never enough time in the day. I rarely check off all the items on my daily to-do list because there’s always something more that I could be doing, like catching up on schoolwork and sleep, tidying my messy room, or applying to jobs. To make matters worse, social media has inspired a trend of toxic productivity that makes us feel like we need to spend all our free time furthering our schoolwork or career. I spend so much of my time doing homework that I neglect some of the things that bring me the most joy: the books I want to read lay untouched on my shelves, meals that I’ve seen on TikTok go unmade and places I want to explore go untraveled.

Instead of falling for the toxic productivity mindset, I want to propose an alternative that might seem counterintuitive at first: a 24-hour road trip with your bestie. Make a plan a couple weeks in advance to take a day to do some of the fun things you’ve been putting off, with some homework sprinkled in. On the surface, it might sound like you’re blowing off your responsibilities, but it’s actually the opposite—the promise of something to look forward to and a change of scenery will keep you on top of your work and your mental health.

If you’re a city girl, book a trip to Milwaukee or Chicago and explore local restaurants, coffee shops and bars to get a flavor of the city. If nature is more your jam, drive up north and find a state park with hiking trails and picnic spots once it gets a bit warmer. You don’t have to go far to have a good time; all you need is the perfect playlist and a sense of adventure.

My biggest takeaway from these mini road trips is that a day is a lot longer than you think. During my most recent trip to Milwaukee, my friend and I squeezed three delicious restaurants, two eclectic bars, one adorable coffee shop and countless delightful conversations into our 24-hour getaway. We romanticized our college lives by turning studying into a fun activity rather than an exhausting chore, bookending our study session with tasty meals.

If we keep telling ourselves that we don’t have time, we won’t have time to do the things we love. It’s time to change our collective mindset that every moment during our four years of college needs to be spent getting ahead. Sometimes what we need most is to savor every precious moment of the present. I promise, future you will thank yourself for giving your brain a break and creating memories to last a lifetime.

Abby Synnes

Wisconsin '23

Abby is a senior at UW-Madison studying English and communication sciences and disorders. She is an enthusiast of good books, Taylor Swift, and vanilla lattes.