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The Gauntlet

Here comes the sun, er, snow

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If the walk up to the front of the class doesn't kill you, the exchange of superficial smiles and the transfer of pulp to your prof will. The exchange lasts only a brief second before you turn and head to the back of the room and your work. Your facial expression reveals all to your peers and every gesture represents your score, for better or worse.

It's that time again--mid-term season is in full swing. For most of you, this week is the denouement of an exciting ride of writing exams and preparing for term papers. Ah, Reading Days: the sanctity of two extra days off in the middle of November to recoup your senses in order to refocus, clean up your room, do laundry and start to work on that obese final project or assignment. Too bad fall's best known mini-holiday is still a week away.

Designed as a way to prevent students from committing suicide over insane course loads and pressure from sadistic professors across campus, reading week spawned a baby brother in reading days. And while the break promotes a little release, it can't come soon enough.

In order to facilitate the coming break, there are a few things you can do on your own or with a group of friends to relieve the stress without requiring "wellness" days from school.

1. Go for a run. What could be more refreshing than jogging around the city in the splendor of autumn, soggy leaves, fresh mountain air and, of course, the snow storm that blindsides you on an innocent Sunday afternoon?

2. Have a pint at the Den after class. Sure, they may have fooled us all into believing they were closing forever in an effort to boost sagging sales, but the deep scent of smoke and uh... other stuff, is sure to relax you. Not to mention the variety of fine liquid sedatives available on tap.

3. Take in a campus concert. With some recent exceptional artists and more coming everyday you'd think that one campus politician was living up to his campaign promises. Hey, someone's gotta do it.

4. Build an effigy of your least favorite professor out of paper maché. This classic art form is a slow and painstaking process, yet it helps to calm your nerves and soothe your brain. Your hard work will pay off and you can smash it with a two
by four, piñata style, to really let it all out.

5. Start a campus Fight Club. Take back your campus in a renegade fashion and have fun doing it. This club will not only allow you to release your pent up aggression, but will enlighten you to a part of the world you've never seen before. Your stress will be gone and your cares even farther away.

So there you have it: five easy ways to bust the stress and relieve the pressure before reading days. If you've managed to do at least two of these before next Thursday, then you're set to unwind and it'll feel like a week instead of two measly days.

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