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                      Ashley Jiao / Staff Illustrator

                      Valentine's Day might be a romantic night for some, but it can also be a time of year that might make you feel a little blue. You might even be tempted to shout, "Overrated!" upon seeing all the balloons and roses they're selling at Duane Reade.

                      But before you roll over and surrender to the wave of loneliness, take this article as a reminder that you can always turn the day around and hang out with your pals. There is also a special kind of comfort in turning to yourself and nurturing the alone time that doesn't necessarily have to be lonely. If you're tempted to roll your eyes whenever someone talks about self-love, remember that there is wisdom in what they're saying.

                      So this February, get in touch with the inner you by treating yourself to the experience of learning to cherish quality time and find some time to visit these spots around campus to take your mind off of the throes of life.

                      Postcrypt Coffeehouse

                      The music scene in New York City is one of the best in the world, yet it can often feel a bit out of reach from our vantage point in Morningside Heights. Wouldn’t it be nice to just attend a concert without having to travel all the way downtown? One of the best hidden gems on Columbia’s campus provides that experience without a $5.50 transportation fee. Nestled underground below our very own St. Paul’s Chapel is Postcrypt Coffeehouse, an all-acoustic music venue that has been shining the spotlight on student performers and local artists alike since 1964. Pop by the cozy den every Friday and Saturday night for an evening of art, and let your blues be washed away by the ones of a jazz trio. Shows begin at 8:30 p.m. and have free admission, along with $1 pastries and a variety of hot drinks. This Valentine’s Day is poetry night, and the Saturday event will feature musicians Dylan DelGiudice (8:30 p.m.), Eric Juberg (9:30 p.m.), and Jenny Goggin (10:30 p.m.). Learn more at their website, and keep up with their Instagram @postcryptcoffeehouse.

                      Lamp Posts Overlooking College Walk and Butler

                      Sometimes we get so caught up with running to classes and hunkering down at Columbia’s many libraries that we forget the extraordinary architecture we’re surrounded by. Take a moment, pause, look around, and one can find not just beauty, but also solace in the ordinary. One of the best vantage points on our campus is on the steps of Low—specifically at the lamp posts located on either side of the steps which overlooks the weaves of people going about their day. Despite its notorious reputation and the memories that Butler might evoke, the building itself is a sight to behold, especially when the setting sun makes the south end of Columbia a picture perfect scene. Be sure to dress comfortably for the cold, but with spring coming around the corner, try catching one of the warmer days and perch yourself against the lamp posts — grab a hot drink, people-watch, and take some well-deserved “me” time.

                      Max Caffe

                      A date doesn’t have to be elaborate and shouldn’t break the bank. There is beauty in simplicity and in treating yourself to a good piece of pastry and coffee at a cozy and comfortable cafe, especially if you’re someone who scoffs at the idea of making time to wind down, read a book, and listen to a podcast outside of your dorm. Max Caffe is the perfect spot just a little out of the main boundaries of Columbia, but not so far that it would be a pain to get to. Take a walk to 122nd and Amsterdam and allow yourself to be enveloped by the tranquility of being amongst strangers taking a break at a coffee shop. Not convinced? Take a look at their strawberry pancakes and avocado toast on their Yelp.

                      The Arthur Ross Greenhouse

                      If you’re searching for a breath of fresh air and your jam-packed schedule doesn’t allow a trip out of the MoHi bubble, consider taking yourself to Barnard’s greenhouse as a quick escape from the rush of the week day. Established in 1998, the Arthur Ross Greenhouse sits delicately on the 5th floor of Milbank Hall as the research bay and flowering oasis of Barnard. Wander around in the quiet central room and let yourself be submerged in the calming embrace of nature. Its opening hours are Wednesdays 1p.m. to 3 p.m. and acts as a perfect mid-day, mid-week getaway if you ever need some alone time. Check out some photos of this city oasis from their Instagram @barnardgreenhouse.

                      Staff writer Jane Mok can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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