Finals: once more, with (more) feeling(s)!

It’s final paper time, and almost reading week. Time for a fun little break for me, and for you, should you choose to read this. As some of you may know, many of the Peer Eds are huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans. In celebration of this love and as encouragement for the end of the semester, I present to you a gif pep talk from me via Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang.

**TRIGGER WARNING: if you have photosensitive epilepsy or are bothered by gifs in general, some gifs contained within may have a frame rate high enough to be problematic, so please do not click ‘more.’**

Also, SPOILER ALERT. They are mild, but will make you sad if you haven’t finished and care about spoilers.

Are you ready? This is how excited I am:

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Ways I calm racing thoughts

I find that this time of year, I can often oscillate between feeling calm appreciation of the beautiful aspects of spring, from nice weather to fun with friends, to feeling sudden, consuming anxiety about some part of my life. In those moments, my mind feels like it’s going so fast that I am overwhelmed by trying to stop my thoughts from popping up, making it harder to relax or do anything. Here’s a list of some tips that worked for me to return to a more balanced state — your results may vary, but see if any of these help you out, too:

  • Write it all out. Whether on a Word document, a scrap of paper, or a journal, putting cycling thoughts on paper helps me break the rapid chain and catch a few mental (and physical!) breaths.
  • Go outside. I’m partial to walks in Riverside park in the afternoon, whether with a friend or alone. There are lots of cute animals and blooming flowers this time of year, so getting some perspective by sitting or walking in nature (even just Lehman Lawn) helps me remember that these are thoughts that will pass.
  • Do something really enjoyable, with full attention. When I have racing thoughts, I try to pick a fun activity that works with my frantic state of mind rather than trying to fight it — for me, that’s often dancing all out for three of my favorite songs. Getting rid of some excess energy or distracting myself with a quick break helps get me to a mental state where I can either relax more calmly or return to what I was trying to do before the thoughts came up.

These tips may not fit with your style, and that’s totally fine. Feel free to stop by the office if you want to check out our resources, enjoy our comfortable space, or chat with someone who is there to listen about whatever is on your mind!

Blooms at Barnard: A Scavenger Hunt

I don’t know if you (and/or your allergies) have noticed, but a lot of things have been blooming on campus this week. A big part of being well is being in touch with your surroundings, and, for me at least, nerding out about all living things. So I’ve put together this little scavenger hunt, from easiest to hardest, of some of the usual suspects around campus.



As promised , easiest first. This confection of a tree is like cotton candy for your eyes. Our’s at Barnard is basically an unofficial mascot. Still haven’t found it? Hint: take out a library book.

Our magnolia is a Magnolia × soulangeana, or a saucer magnolia. It’s a hybrid from France, and the first tree bloomed in 1826. This article explains the history of Barnard’s magnolia.



These babies seem to have been recently planted at Barnard, and already they’re opening up super wide and stretching. Whoever planted these, mad props, cause I love this kind of tulip. It almost looks like a poppy.

Tulips have long been prized for their exceptional beauty. There was a time in Holland, known as tulip frenzy, when tulips were so valuable, they were used as a kind of currency. If you want to learn more about that, I recommend Michael Pollen’s Botany of Desire.



Look at that daffodil diversity shot! Kind of ironic, cause usually huge bunches of the same species of daffodil are planted all together. These flowers are named after Narcissus, that guy at Ovid wrote about in metamorphoses who was so freaking hot, when he caught a glimpse of himself in a brook, he couldn’t tear himself away. Poor guy, he starved to death and ultimately drowned in his own image. The gods took pity on him (probably cause he was so shmexy) and turned him into one of these pretty flowers!

Bradford Pear Tree (Semen Tree)


Here’s another one you might see around. I’m not sure if we have one on campus, but they’re definitely in Morningside Heights. Bradford pear trees make these darling little white flowers that seems to have whiskers poking out of them.

You may be asking yourself why I called it a semen tree. Well, according to some olfactory sensibilities, that’s what these trees reek of. Go figure.

Mountain Laurel


Now this one is a bonus–I’m not sure we have any of these. This is my guess of what some of those small flowering bushes are. If you find one, go spend a second with it because seriously, it’s gorgeous, what with those little delicate star-shaped flowers. But don’t get too close–every part of the plant is poisonous (if ingested, you can touch it).

Ok, now all you have to do is get outside and start hunting!



This, my folks, is going to be a classic Well Woman Period Post! (thus: TRIGGER WARNING if periods are a sore subject for any reason)

I have noticed that me and many of my friends have gotten synched up this month, so periods are on the brain. First, get in the mood with some tunes. Ok, let’s begin.

Firstly, do periods really get synched up? Let’s do a little WW mythbusting and find out. I think this article does the best job of explaining the debate. Basically, a famous study from the 70’s purported to prove it was real, but there has been backlash ever since. Scientific treatment of sexual and reproductive issues is always fraught, so I think there are some underlying tensions here. Remember that time when scientists said they couldn’t find the G-Spot? Many times things that are common, experiential knowledge for women meet with disdain and skepticism in the lab. On the other hand, women are human too and we all have plenty of misconceptions and superstitions that science will never affirm.

Ok, now that we’ve got that science over with, how about some art? Check out these babies–is that glitter I detect? And what about this one:


Pretty cool, huh?

And since I’m a poet, here’s a mentrual poem by Lucille Clifton:

poem in praise of menstruation

if there is a river
more beautiful than this
bright as the blood
red edge of the moon          if

there is a river
more faithful than this
returning each month
to the same delta          if there

is a river
braver than this
coming and coming in a surge
of passion, of pain          if there is

a river
more ancient than this
daughter of eve
mother of cain and of abel          if there is in

the universe such a river          if
there is some where water
more powerful than this wild
pray that it flows also
through animals
beautiful and faithful and ancient
and female and brave


Now, let me point out that as much as I dig this poem, I really wish she didn’t say the word female. It really dates this poem as a kind of 70’s transoblivious artifact. You know, not only “females” get periods! Genderqueer and transmasculine people get them too. Here‘s an article about period control from a gender-nonconforming perspective. And if you want to read a huge diversity of perspectives, check out this Genderfork thread. Furthermore, not all women get periods!

Over and out!

PSA: Water is awesome

I am bringing you this short and friendly reminder to drink water! With the sudden delightful warmth today, I found myself totally overdressed and overheating. Unfortunately, that also meant I ended up dehydrating — I got a mild headache and was generally feeling bad until I realized the missing ingredient was water. I am writing this with a cup of tea in the wonderful Well-Woman office (open 1-4 PM M-F, 7-9 PM T, W, Thurs & Sunday). Enjoy the beautiful weather happening again tomorrow and stay hydrated!

Room Selection 2013

Today was the first day of room selection, for groups of all rising seniors. While Barnard offers some great housing options, the selection process can be incredibly stressful, and doesn’t always turn out the way we hope it will. So on that note, to those who haven’t selected yet, good luck! To those who have, I hope you’re happy with what you got! To everyone, take some time during the process to relax and think about how best to be well in the upcoming academic year, whatever your living situation.