Hot drinks, sunsets and historic buildings: Here’s how to romanticize your life on campus this fall

Because the end of summer doesn’t mean we have to stop thinking of ourselves as the main character.

by Macy Harder

The air is getting crisp, our shorts have been traded for jeans and each day brings more things to accomplish within the decreasing hours of sunlight — summer has come and gone, and fall is upon us.

There’s something about the summer months that brings out our desire to have a picturesque life. We escape from our jobs, internships and other responsibilities by taking trips to the farmer’s market, reading classics on the beach and preparing charcuterie boards for picnics. TikTok told us that we have to start “romanticizing” our lives, — and this summer, that’s exactly what we did.

But the turn of the season doesn’t mean we have to stop seeking out opportunities to feel like the “main character.” There are plenty of ways to romanticize life on campus during the fall, turning your idealized version of autumn into a reality.

Walk along the river and admire the fall colors

Carving out 30 minutes for a walk is a great way to reduce the stress you might be feeling as classes ramp up. Better yet, it’s an opportunity to admire the beautiful fall foliage that Minnesota has to offer. One of the prettiest, most relaxing walks on campus is along East River Parkway, situated just behind the superblock dorms. Overlooking the Mississippi River and surrounded by trees, this path is the perfect place to take a study break, put on your fall playlist and check out the brightly-colored leaves.

A hot beverage, an old building and a good book

The sunny cottagecore days are things of the past, and the season of dark academia is upon us. Few things scream “dark academia” quite like literature and old architecture, both of which are in abundance here on campus. Built in 1907, Folwell Hall’s English Renaissance-inspired architecture is hard to beat. The building’s interior is decorated with marble floors, grand staircases and ornate woodwork, creating the perfect environment to grab a book and momentarily escape the realities of this century. Top it off with your favorite fall drink, and you’ve got quite the aesthetically-pleasing afternoon.

Relax in The Knoll

If your ideal fall day would be spent nestled under a canopy of trees, the grassy area outside Peik Hall, known as The Knoll, is where you want to be. This spot is perfect for setting up a hammock, enjoying the autumn breeze and listening to Fleet Foxes (because nothing encapsulates this season like folk music). Or, maybe you want to bring a blanket and set up a picnic. No matter how you pass the time, hanging out in The Knoll lets you appreciate the beauty of fall to its full extent.

Explore the campus museums

Wandering through a museum is a great option for a fall date, adventure with friends or even a solo outing. Even though the Weisman is still temporarily closed, there are a few other museums on campus that are definitely worth exploring; The Bell Museum in Saint Paul offers various natural history exhibits, as well as a planetarium, and the Goldstein Museum of Design contains an assortment of multidisciplinary objects from pottery to designer clothing. Throw on your favorite fall outfit and check out the artifacts, artwork and everything in- between.

Take the Washington Avenue Bridge at sunset

There is something truly magical about being on the Washington Avenue Bridge when the sun starts going down. The rosy, post-golden hour glow illuminates the city skyline and reflects off the Mississippi River. Biking or taking a scooter across the bridge around this time is nothing short of surreal — put on your favorite song, feel the wind against your face and have your “main character in a coming of age movie” moment.