If you have at least a week break from your college classes, head to the mountains to clear your head and re-center your thoughts before heading back to your studies. One of the best, most beautiful mountain towns you'll find is Banff in Alberta, Canada. Surprisingly, there are plenty of cheap places to stay near Banff for a college student looking to save money. Check out these hostels:
Banff International Hostel - This hostel is in a great location, as you can walk the main strip of Banff from your room. There are lots of good restaurants nearby (if you like Fondue, check out The Grizzly House - they offer gluten-free fondue options too!). To stay at the Banff International Hostal, it will run you about $32/night. You can expect to share a room with 5-6 other people, and you will also have to share a bathroom. Amenities include: Free Wifi, linens and blankets included, laundry available on-site, cable TV in two common rooms, fully equipped kitchen available for guest use. For the location, you can't beat the price. While you're in Banff, make sure to check out the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. See if you can find the endangered snails that live in the hot springs at this Historic Site. Keep in mind that while you're on the road, you might not have cell signal or GPS. A great resource for getting around Banff are the Banff South Maps and Banff North Maps. The maps are indispensable for finding your way around the National Park.
HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre - This hostel is located in Lake Louise village, about 30 minutes from Banff. The cost is approximately $30/night to stay in a shared room. The amenities include a kitchen, fireplace, outdoor firepit, laundry room, ski/luggage/bicycle storage, ski and wax room, tv room, etc. You get a lot for your money here, and they also have an on-site restaurant. If you are staying during the winter, world class skiing is nearby. If you go in the summer or fall, I recommend doing the hike to the Plain of the Six Glaciers tea house. If you would like to extend the hike, you can include the Lake Agnes Tea House. Keep in mind that temperatures can drop below freezing in the mountains. If there is a chance of snow or ice, I would highly recommend bringing either Kahtoola Microspikes or Yaktrax Cleats, especially if taking the Beehive trail to the Lake Agnes Tea House. It can be very slippery.
If you can't make it to Banff, find some nearby mountains to explore. You will be recharged and ready to take on your classes and exams when you get back to school.