A new habit I got into this semester was something I decided on within the first week of school or so. I made the goal of stepping off campus for a few hours every Sunday morning and finding a nice coffee shop where I could drink a latte and write. This has been possibly the greatest decision I’ve made so far at Rice for a few reasons.
Reason #1: So Houston exists.
Houston doesn’t just exist as a place for Rice to be, but it really exists, and it’s vibrant and unique and has its own cool places and frustrations (looking at you, 59 exit ramps). Now that I have a car in Houston, I’ve been able to explore the local area and get a sense of what the different parts of town are like. And while my search has by no means been extensive, I’m much more knowledgeable on the place I live, which is a pretty cool place.
Coffee Recommendation: Siphon. They will let you have your own siphon of coffee where you’re sitting, which is just a really neat. Plus, the place manages to be cozy and industrial and prepared for you to work there all at the same time.
Reason #2: Hobbies are important.
One of the biggest problems if you’re trying to pursue writing as a serious hobby when you’re in college – no matter where you go – is that when you get busy, you suddenly find that you haven’t done it in forever – and maybe that’s why you’re more stressed out and feel more emotional and are finding it hard to focus. Having a dedicated time on Sunday has really help me get into the mindset of focusing on the same single project for multiple hours at a time in a routine. Whatever hobby you have, whether it’s poetry or photography or whatever it may be, make yourself time to pursue it. I find myself happier, more focused, and in all honesty more able to prioritize writing in my day.
Recommendation: Black Hole. I had been looking for a café that felt very much like where the writing community went for a while, and as soon as I walked in, I realized I’d found it. There are books and newspapers everywhere, and I was not the only person going through a manuscript with a red pen. Plus, they make their own syrups; their Hazelnut Latte is the best I’ve ever had.
Reason #3: Everyone needs their own wellness space.
The dialogue about mental health on college campuses has been only growing since I arrived on campus last fall. While Rice has incredible support networks and communities and resources for students to take advantage of, taking a break from it all has really given me a chance to take that mental break space. It’s nice to allow myself to take a break every Sunday morning, and to hold myself to maintaining that option. Plus, whenever I return to Rice at about 1pm on Sunday afternoon, I am all the readier to jump into my commitments and school work, just for having allowed myself to spend some time recommitting myself to what’s important that we sometimes forget.
Recommendation: Agora. It’s a bit of a strange sort of vibe at first, but I go back to Agora because it really does feel like a refuge. When you walk in, you step through an archway of trees and into a calm, old-timey building that feels just like a hideaway.
Because of these things, I encourage all students – high school or Rice students or wherever you’re at – to do something as simple as exploring coffee shops! It’s an easy habit to build, and it’s absolutely rewarding.