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As soon as it's October, I hear "mid-semester" everywhere, and it always sneaks up on me. I feel like I only just adjusted to my classes and schedule. I finally figured out which bus to catch in the mornings, and when I can meet up with friends for lunch. I don't want to think that it's halfway done already! 

But mid-semester really is approaching, and so are all the midterm assignments. October gets busy with homework, essays, quizzes, and exam review sessions. I have a pretty full couple of weeks ahead, especially since I fell behind this weekend. I went home to spend time with my family, and it was awesome — we visited relatives, brought our dogs down to the beach,  fried a turkey for fake Thanksgiving dinner! — but I definitely have some catching up to do. Now, my incomplete weekend to-do list ("Finish design project, you MUST do this!") fills me with dread. In my fourth year of college, I still have no idea how to be productive when I go home for the weekend. Any suggestions?

I know from prior procrastination that the best thing I can do is dive in. This week I'm going to try to re-focus, take each assignment one at a time, and start checking everything off. Meanwhile, another challenge looms: all the apples sitting on my countertop. Every fall, I pick way too many apples and every fall, I'm looking for new recipes to use them up. Apple pie, baked apples, apple crisp? I have no idea what I'm going to cook with all of them, but figuring it out should be a fun study break while I'm catching up this week.

Baked Apples
(adapted from Simply Recipes)

4 medium apples, cored
1/4 cup sugar mixed with 2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the four apples, cored, in a baking dish. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture into the cored center of each apple, and drizzle the melted butter over the apples. Pour the boiling water into the bottom of the baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes, until the apples are soft.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Commonwealth Honors College or University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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