Anika Banerjee ’24 (She/Her)
How can you have the perfect fall? For me, at least, North Carolina fall has so far been lacking some of the classic aspects that are typically associated with autumn. First, the weather has been sweltering, rainy, or randomly really cold, and there have only been a few days with sun and a chilly breeze. Second, the trees are only beginning to change colors! And last, the food on campus is not exactly catered to fit the vibe of the season. However, none of these factors have to curb your ability to bring fall to you! Utilizing the four F’s of fall, you can capture the essence of autumn while being crafty and resourceful.
Flora and Fauna
Carving a pumpkin is great fun…at home. At college, you receive the rude awakening that reminds you how gross pumpkin guts actually are. When Halloween is over, disposing of them is not easy. You can instead combine the fun of pumpkin carving with plants to create a “pumpkin flower pot.” As opposed to buying carving tools that will only be put to use once a year, you can use a kitchen knife to cut a good sized hole in the top of the pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds, and there is your pot! Then, you simply fill it with soil, and plant your seeds, flowers, or succulent. Additionally, packing the inner pumpkin with soil removes the odor of rotting pumpkin that would come from a typical carved pumpkin. The beauty of this is that as the pumpkin decomposes, it will fertilize the soil and help nourish your plant. Then, you will no longer have to scoop a rotten pumpkin into the garbage. You can have it as room decor, and once you are ready, you can plant it outside in the community garden!
For this step, you can really embrace the beauty of the nature around campus. As you walk to class or venture into the wooded areas by campus, collect some dried leaves, flower petals, wood chips, and pinecones. You can choose the gorgeous red and yellow leaves around campus to capture the fall colors too. Choose your favorite essential oil scents, mix with water, and spray your gatherings. Then, you must remove the water from the items, whilst locking in the smell. For the leaves, you can place them in between heavy books. For the wood chips and pinecones, you can bake them in an oven; if you do not have access to one, you can simply dry them with a hairdryer. Drop all of your dried materials into a bowl, toss with a little more essential oil, and let the scent seep into your room.
Friend Foliage F-otos
Fall’s name is pretty self explanatory, so let’s take advantage of that! As the leaves fall, nature paints a perfect backdrop for photos with your friends. It’ll be a great chance to make happy memories with your favorite people or document your perfect fall outfit (a touch of plaid with neutral tones, or draw on reds, oranges, browns, and yellow shades). Lake Campus or little corners of main campus that have dense tree populations are great spots to gather with your friends and snap a couple pictures. Now, if you really want to spice up your room with these pictures, follow that same tip above and compress leaves in between books. Then, print your pictures, and attach the crisped leaves to the edges of your picture to make fun fall frames.
Food (and Farmer’s Markets!)
Last but most certainly not least: food. Fall is all about the flavors—pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, nutmeg, maple…YUM! One of the best parts about fall is how farmer’s markets gather all of the freshest produce and use fall flavors to make some delectable treats. Some classics to make or buy include apple cider, pumpkin bread, pecan pie, and more! Stop by the farmer’s market on Main Street, LKN Farmer’s Market, or The Bradford Market on Saturday mornings to indulge in some fall treats and have fun walking with your friends in the fall weather. Additionally, you can use the innards from the pumpkin pot to make roasted pumpkin seeds in either an oven or an air fryer, or use the pulp to make pumpkin butter or pie.
There are endless ways to make fall come to you. This can apply to your home or to your dorm room; wherever you might be experiencing fall, there are always activities you can do. Using your creative mind will even foster a better mindset for work and other school-related endeavors. With these tips, I hope you too can have a fun, fantastic, and fruitful fall!