Ask Emma: I want to run away before finals

Replicate woodsy environment in your home with photos, candles, tree colors; plan post-finals trip to look forward to



Sometimes the mountains keep calling your name, despite any responsibilities you may have.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen news editor

Dear Emma,

Sometimes I feel the inexplicable urge to run into the woods and never come back. Is that normal? Nothing is going horribly wrong in my life right now, but there is something alluring about nature and not being part of society anymore. 

How do I keep my urges at bay long enough to finish my finals? Any advice for where to go once I’m officially free?


Tree Hugger

Dear Tree Hugger,

This is one of the more interesting problems I have come across. 

I know running into the woods can be tempting when we are going through periods of stress, but it sounds like you feel this way all the time. I’m not going to comment on if this is “normal” or not because that’s largely subjective — but I can almost guarantee you are not the only person who wants to escape.

When it comes to staying in place long enough to get through your finals, I have a couple ideas for you. First, try recreating the things you love about the woods in your home or study space. Having a friendly and familiar environment might help you want to stay for a while.

For example, find a picture of a woodsy place you love and set it as your laptop or phone background. Alternatively, you could find photos or postcards from trips you’ve taken and hang them around your desk or room. This way you’ll have reminders nearby anytime you feel that urge to dip into the forest. 

Another option would be to get a woodsy candle or diffuser. This may not be your cup of tea, but if one of the things you miss is the scent of nature, it’s worth a try. 

Even having the color of the woods near you could be soothing. I wear a lot of dark green and have mugs and stickers with trees on them because they make me feel very peaceful. That’s another option for recreating your favorite forest environment. 

Next, it might be helpful to plan a trip (even just a day trip) for after finals. I have found it is easier to make it past an obstacle when I have something positive to look forward to. You can also take study breaks and use them to plan details of your trip. 

Also, don’t completely deny yourself access to the woods because you’re waiting to finish finals. There are plenty of places close by that could give you that sense of peace without taking up too much time. Consider making a visit to Kamiak Butte or Moscow Mountain if you have a few free hours. 

I have a lot of ideas for where you could go when you’re done with finals, but ultimately it comes down to what you’re looking for. What are your favorite activities to do in nature? Hiking? Snowshoeing or cross country skiing? Forest bathing? It could also be something as simple as having a picnic away from a bunch of people. Consider what you’re longing for and tailor your trip to that activity. 

I do recommend checking weather forecasts because a lot of trips will be impacted by snow. Always be prepared with extra food, water, warm clothing and emergency gear — that way, you will not have to worry as you flee to the woods. 

I hope this helps!